Bob Newhart: Why’d it take so long for him to win an Emmy?

Classic funnyman Bob Newhart.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

One of the highlights of Sunday’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony was the win for Bob Newhart, who picked up his first Emmy.

His first? One might wonder how it’s possible that Newhart, 84, had never won an Emmy before, given that he’s one of the most recognizable and distinctive comedy stars in TV history, especially for the 1970s sitcom “The Bob Newhart Show.” (His win finally came for a guest spot on CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory.”)

“I just felt the kind of stuff I do doesn’t win awards,” Newhart told reporters backstage.



Certainly that stuff he did was popular enough. “The Bob Newhart Show” -- which transferred Newhart’s exquisite timing into a role as a put-upon Chicago psychologist leading group therapy sessions -- was in the top 20 for its first three seasons.

But Newhart was never nominated for his work on that show, which ran on CBS from 1972 to 1978.

True, he had some pretty tough competition. During those years, Tony Randall and Jack Klugman separately won lead-actor awards for their work on “The Odd Couple,” and Alan Alda carted home the prize for “MASH.”

Newhart was nominated three times for his work on “Newhart,” the 1980s sitcom about a rural-inn proprietor. But he lost to Robert Guillaume of “Benson” and twice to Michael J. Fox on “Family Ties.”

He was first nominated for a writing Emmy back in 1961, for his variety series “The Bob Newhart Show.” But he lost that year to Carl Reiner for “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

What do you think of Newhart’s Emmy win?


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