DAVID BIANCULLI

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Jay Thomas, Master Storyteller, 1948-2017
August 24, 2017  | By David Bianculli
 

Jay Thomas, the comedian and radio host whose TV appearances included familiar regular roles on NBC’s Cheers and CBS’s Murphy Brown, died of cancer Thursday, Aug. 24, at age 69. He appeared in movies and on TV, where his career encompassed everything from ABC’s Mork & Mindy to Showtime’s Ray Donovan. His best and most famous work, though, was reserved for annual appearances opposite David Letterman on the late-night host’s special Christmas shows, for which he returned, every year (except one when he was out for surgery), to tell the same classic story involving some drug usage, a car accident, and Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger. David Letterman called it the funniest story ever told – and in this 2009 clip, as Thomas tells it to Letterman for the 11th time on CBS’s The Late Show, it’s hard to disagree. – David Bianculli

 
 
 
 
 
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