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Why Jay Thomas Was Killed Off in Cheers

Jay Thomas was an actor and radio personality who was perhaps best known to the public for a recurring role on the hit television sitcom Cheers. This role became fairly popular, and Jay was eventually in talks to become a series regular. However, backstage drama behind the scenes eventually prevented this from becoming a reality. Not only that, but his character went on to be written off unceremoniously, turned into a villain and killed off in a humorous way. However, Jay was not the only one causing drama behind the scenes of the popular sitcom. As well, his career survived this setback, with him going on to take other notable roles, including one in the series Murphy Brown. Join Facts Verse as we attempt to uncover why Jay Thomas was killed off in Cheers.

Jay Thomas was born Jon Thomas Terrell on July 12 of 1948. He was born in the town of Kermit, Texas. As a child, his family moved to New Orleans, where Jay was raised. He performed as a quarterback in his high school’s football team, and went on to play football during his college career, as well. Jay initially rose to prominence as a radio personality in the 1970s. He could be heard on radio stations in New York starting in 1976, a gig that went on to last him until 1979. From there, he decided to use some of the media attention that he had garnered as a DJ to get some notable acting roles. He could be seen in the television show Mork & Mindy alongside blossoming comedian Robin Williams. However it was his roles in the later shows Cheers and Murphy Brown that went on to catch the television actor the most attention.

In the show Cheers, which premiered in 1987, Jay played Eddie LeBec. This character was the boyfriend of Rhea Perlman’s character, as well as a goalie for the Boston Bruins that was having some trouble with his career. It became a recurring role for Jay, winning him plenty of notoriety. However, it was eventually cut short due to some unfortunate drama behind the scenes.

Soon after his role in Cheers came to an end, Jay could be seen guest-starring in the hit television show Murphy Brown. This role arguably gained him his most critical success, including a couple of Emmy Awards. He portrayed the character of Jerry Gold, who was somewhat of an antagonistic love interest for the title character. Jay’s career simmered down a little bit after this period. However, he could still be seen in some minor feature film roles. The biggest role he had on film was arguably in 1995’s Mr. Holland’s Opus, where he played a coach at a high school. He could also be seen in the two latter films of Walt Disney Pictures’ The Santa Clause trilogy in the 2000s.

In 1998, Jay began a tradition of making annual appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman. These appearances, which always came around the holiday season, featured Jay sharing the much-beloved story of how he met the actor Clayton Moore. Of course, Moore is famous for portraying The Lone Ranger. On top of this storytelling tradition, David Letterman and Jay also played the “Late Show Quarterback Challenge”. This game saw Jay take part in a football challenge, calling back to his prior success at the sport in both high school and college.

Jay’s tale of meeting the Long Ranger himself stems from his days as a radio personality in the 70s. He was broadcasting from a promotional event at a car dealership that just so happened to book Clayton Moore to dress up in costume as his famous character. By the time the broadcast was over, Jay Thomas and Clayton Moore were two of the last remaining people around, prompting Jay to offer Clayton a ride home in his car. Clayton accepted, and the rest is history.

While driving the famed television actor home, another drive accidentally backed into Jay’s car and then sped-off. Forgetting Moore quietly sitting in the back seat, Jay took off after the driver and eventually caught up to him. Upon confrontation, things got understandably heated. However, when Clayton Moore stepped out of the back seat, the offending party quickly surrendered out of respect for the legendary icon.

Jay Thomas went on to make a return to The Late Show with David Letterman every year until 2013. That year, the actor could not make his scheduled appearance as a result of throat surgery and was replaced with John McEnroe. Soon later, in 2017, Jay Thomas passed away.

In 2005, Jay returned to one of his original passions, that being radio. He was hired to host his own satellite radio program, The Jay Thomas Show, that played five days a week. While he found an admirable level of success in television and films, it’s arguable that radio was his true calling, and he came back without missing a beat. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! As well, subscribe to Facts Verse to be among the first to be notified when new content is on it’s way!

Jay Thomas passed away in 2017, at the age of 69. The actor and radio personality had quite the career. However, the peak of his career was arguably his stint as a recurring character on the beloved television sitcom Cheers. Sadly, this role came to an end much too early as a result of some backstage drama between Thomas and his co-stars.

Cheers struck a chord with the television audience as a result of it’s stars’ apparent camaraderie. However, this camaraderie wasn’t always mirrored by the stars when the cameras weren’t rolling. What occurred with Jay Thomas was just one of many notorious incidents behind the scenes of the beloved sitcom. However, it was arguably the incident with the most dire results.

The character that Jay Thomas was cast to play was Eddie LeBec. This character was the boyfriend of one of the series’ regulars, Rhea Perlman’s Carla Tortelli. Their rocky relationship became a popular aspect of the series, leading to Jay having an increased presence as their character arcs were expanded. The producers of the show were gearing up to have Jay come on as a regular. However, something happened that inevitably put these plans to an end. You see, Jay Thomas was still continuing his radio career while performing his gig on Cheers. As one might imagine, radio and television oftentimes call for different personalities. With that said, Jay sometimes behaved in a way on his radio show that didn’t fit well with his Cheers co-workers. When those two worlds mixed, it became a problem that one co-worker felt the need to put an end to.

One night on his radio show, a caller asked Jay what it was like to work on Cheers. Jay had some especially negative words to say, specifically about one of his co-stars. He made a joke about how horrible it was to have to pretend to be romantically involved with Rhea Perlman. While this might seem like typical radio banter, it didn’t come across that way to Rhea Perlman. Sadly, Rhea happened to be listening to Jay’s program that night, and she was not very happy upon hearing Jay’s jokes. She went to the executives and demanded that Jay be fired and his character killed off.

Although the show had big plans for Jay, Rhea’s wishes were more important. The writers followed the star’s request, having Jay’s character Eddie killed off by a rogue Zamboni. In order to keep from alienating the audience, the producers were sure to turn Eddie into a villain before his death. As it turns out, Eddie had been living a secret double life as a polygamist the entire time! The drama between Jay and Rhea may be the only drama that resulted in a public firing, but there may have been ulterior motives behind Shelley Long leaving, as well. According to reports, Long never got along well with Kelsey Grammar and Ted Danson. Given how much she had to interact with them in her role, she understandably wasn’t always comfortable on set. Many speculate that this is the reason she ended up leaving the successful show.

One of Jay’s last gigs was a recurring role on the successful Showtime program Ray Donovan. The actor gave it his all until the end, and will be missed by fans and co-workers alike… with the possible exception of Rhea Perlman!

Jay Thomas may have been best known for his roles on Cheers and Murphy Brown, but those were far from his only credits. Comment down below to share your another favorite role from his long career, or if you used to listen to him on the radio! As always, like the video to show your support and subscribe and hit the notification bell to be notified when more content is on the way!

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