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Bob Newhart is an American stand-up comedian and actor. He is best known for his deadpan delivery and a slight stammer. Newhart became the world's first solo "straight man" on the strength of his audio releases.
He was born on September 5, 1929 in Oak Park, Illinois and attended St. Ignatius College Prep and Loyola University of Chicago.
He graduated in business management in 1952. Newhart was introduced by Buddy Hackett to Virginia "Ginnie" Quinn who later became his wife on January 12, 1963.
In 1958, Bob Newhart became an advertising copywriter for Fred A. Niles. It was at the company that he and a coworker would entertain each other in long telephone calls. They later recorded their conversations and then sent to a radio station as audition tapes.
The auditions led to his break-through recording contract with the radio station. After his selection, Newhart continued the recordings, developing the shtick which served him well for decades. At the radio station, a disc jockey, Dan Sorkin, introduced Newhart to the head of talent at Warner Bros. Records.
Warner Bros. Records signed Bob Newhart, based solely on his recordings. Newhart later on expanded his material into a stand-up routine and began to perform at nightclubs. His routine, however, was simply to portray one end of a phone call.
He would play the straightest of comedic straight men and imply what he was hearing on the other end of the phone. He immediately caught attention for his deadpan delivery and a slight stammer. He incorporated these elements into the persona around which he built a successful career.
Bob Newhart's success in stand-up led to his own NBC variety show called "The Bob Newhart Show". It lasted only a single season but garnered an Emmy Award nomination and a Peabody Award to Newhart. The mid-1960s saw him appearing on The Dean Martin Show 24 times, and The Ed Sullivan Show eight times.
In 1963, he appeared in an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Bob also hosted The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson and Saturday Night Live twice, in 1980 and again in 1995. Later on, he appeared in Desperate Housewives as Morty, Susan's step-dad.
Newhart"s 1960 comedy album, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, went straight to number one on the charts. The album beat Elvis Presley and received the 1961 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
His subsequent comedy albums included Behind the Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, The Button-Down Mind on TV, Bob Newhart Faces Bob Newhart, The Windmills Are Weakening, This Is It, Best of Bob Newhart, Very Funny Bob Newhart, and the list goes on.
Today, several of Bob"s routines involve hearing one half of a conversation as he speaks to someone over the phone. His other famous routines include "The Driving Instructor," "Introducing Tobacco To Civilization", "The Mrs. Grace L. Ferguson Airline (and Storm Door Company)", and "Abe Lincoln's Press Secretary". On his TV shows, although Newhart gets his share of funny lines, often he works in the Jack Benny tradition of being the "straight man".
The Peabody Board cited Bob Newhart as a person whose gentle satire and irreverent wit waft a breath of fresh while bracing air through the stale and stuffy electronic corridors.
He proved once again that laughter is the best medicine in a troubled and apprehensive world. In an interview, Newhart told that his favorite standup routine is "Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue". He is also good friends with comedian Don Rickles. With Rickles, he appeared on The Tonight Show on January 24, 2005.
Bob Newhart has recently announced his 2009 Tour. He"s sure to be coming in the theaters near you. So don"t miss out on his events and let your hearts laugh aloud!
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