Jay Thomas Did It All


(By Buzz Knight) The passing of Jay Thomas leaves an incredible void for those of us who knew him and for an audience that loved him as an entertainer. Actually, Jay defined the concept of multi-talented. Actor, comedian, radio host, and a career that spanned decades of memorable moments. I am proud to have observed his illustrious career and even more proud to call him a friend.

There are so many entertaining moments that defined him that it would be impossible to do them all justice. His radio career was simply legendary. It was impactful as only Jay could define it. He made such a mark on Charlotte from his time at Big Ways that I was convinced that he could have run for office there and won to this day. He ultimately did what few radio people ever did…he grew his brand from radio to TV and movies.

His TV career would cast him on some of the biggest sitcoms of all time in memorable roles such as Remo Davinci on Mork and Mindy, Eddie Lebec on Cheers, Jack Stein on Love and War, Jerry Gold on Murphy Brown (which would win him a Prime Time Emmy Award for two years) and recently Ray Donovan. He would appear in multiple movie roles, but his greatest role would be of William Meister in the outstanding movie Mr. Holland’s Opus.

Who could forget his infamous appearances on David Letterman Christmas time with his football toss at the Christmas tree along with his story about the Lone Ranger? The Lone Ranger story is a complete riot! That story showcased one of the many things that Jay was so great at…storytelling. When Jay Thomas told ANY story, everyone leaned in.

I admire Jay for so many elements of his career but I most admire how he fought the horror of cancer. He fought it valiantly and with dignity. Even in the midst of the battle he keep practicing the craft he loved by doing his show on Sirius XM.

RIP Jay. I can’t believe you are gone but your legacy lives on.


  1. He really was unique in radio in that he brought a life well lived to the microphone.
    Really he is on the level of a Bennington, Stern, Rome or Francesca but even though he was on their level of being a RADIO broadcaster, he was unique because he wasn’t working off just his quick wit and imagination. He had personal experiences and observations that were so wide ranging and common to all that didn’t spend most of their time in a radio studio. That’s what made him so precious to his listeners. Sure those other guys are quick witted, funny, but Jay was a character and a top notch broadcaster.
    His passing is so sad on so many levels but he is one of the last of the true radio guys. As Sirius moves away from radio broadcasts to celebrities and people who are considered celebrities doing radio, it makes me so sad for the next generation. Even Stern has turned into a guy just doing TV on radio. It’s sad.
    I really wish there was a way to get all of Jay’s old shows, they are really timeless. I hope somewhere in the world of podcasts, radio guys survive.
    Get Rid of Em! RIP


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