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Tom Hanks remembers getting into trouble with Peter Scolari, his ‘Bosom Buddies’ pal

Peter Scolari in a pink, checkered shirt stands next to Tom Hanks in a striped shirt
The late Peter Scolari as Henry Desmond, left, and Tom Hanks as Kip Wilson in the pilot episode of “Bosom Buddies.”
(CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images)

Longtime collaborators Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari charmed audiences with their improvisational comedy skills while starring in the ’80s sitcom “Bosom Buddies.”

But behind the scenes of the buddy comedy, the actors’ tendency to go off script wasn’t always appreciated by the production team, according to Hanks, who fondly remembered “screwing around” with his late co-star while appearing on Tuesday’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

“We had to stay on the set and say every line over and over and over again, so we started ... monkeying around with the script and playing around with props and whatnot, and the directors were up in a booth,” Hanks told Kimmel.

“We’d always hear on the on the studio talkback, ‘Hey, guys? ... Are you going to say that?’ ‘We might!’ ‘But it’s not in the script.’ ‘Yeah, but ... if it works, it works, right?’ ... ‘Can you give us a moment?’ ‘Yeah, sure. Go ahead.’ And then we’d come up with something else. And then they’d come back again and say, ‘Wait, wait, wait. We just figured out the one thing you’re gonna do. Are you gonna do that, too?’ ‘We might!’”

Peter Scolari, who had starring roles in the TV shows ‘Newhart,’ ‘Bosom Buddies’ and ‘Girls,’ died Friday after a two-year cancer battle. He was 66.

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The Oscar winner spent nearly half of his interview with Kimmel reminiscing about his friendship with Scolari, who died last month at age 66 after a two-year battle with cancer.

In addition to acting opposite Hanks in “Bosom Buddies,” Scolari also starred in Hanks’ films “That Thing You Do!” (1996) and “The Polar Express” (2004).

“God bless him. I’ll miss him every day,” Hanks said of his scene partner. “He had the body of a gymnast — and I mean like a professional Cirque du Soleil gymnast. He could do the iron triangle and stuff like that. He was a juggler.

“I don’t know how many people truly do change your lives when you cross paths with them. But he and I met, we picked up the scripts, and we started screwing around, and I actually thought, ‘Oh, this is it. This is how this works. This is like a hand inside a glove.’”

At the end of their conversation, Kimmel ran a clip from a 1982 episode of “Bosom Buddies” in which Hanks and Scolari’s characters embark on a weekend retreat to a secluded cabin in the woods.

Hanks introduced the footage as an example of the “ease and the affection” between him and Scolari, to whom he was “molecularly connected.” After rolling the tape, the “Finch” star fought back tears while paying a final tribute to his dear friend.

“Peter has a lovely family,” Hanks said. “His wife, Grace. He’s got absolutely great kids, and we lost him to the emperor of all maladies, so thanks for letting us show that clip. Thanks, everybody.”


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