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Jay Thomas

by Dawbfan

Jay Thomas was born Jon Thomas Terrell, on July 12, 1948 in Kermit, Texas. He is the son of Katharine and T. Harry Terrell, Sr. He was raised in New Orleans, where he attended Jesuit High School.

Thomas began his career as a disc jockey in the late 1960’s while attending Gulf Coast Junior College in Panama City, Florida, working part-time at several local Panama City stations. He also worked the clubs as a crossdresser. His goal at that time was to be a stand-up comic. He later worked the 7-midnight shift at WBSR in Pensacola, Florida, a station which was a stepping stone for a number of radio personalities who went on to bigger and better things. He hit the big time at WAPE ("The Big Ape") in Jacksonville, Florida and then moved on to Charlotte, North Carolina where he was the morning drive DJ at BIG WAYS-AM and WROQ-FM in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Thomas then worked as a radio DJ in New York City.

In 1984, he made his feature film debut as one of the victims of a flesh-eating monster in "C.H.U.D." and went on to play a crooner in Frank D. Gilroy's "The Gig" in 1985. Thomas had one of his best roles playing the football coach and best friend of the lead character in “Mr. Holland's Opus” in 1995. He also played Hal in the Kevin Costner-film “Dragonfly” in 2002, and appeared as the Easter Bunny in Disney's “The Santa Clause 2” and “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause”.

Thomas is perhaps best known for his recurring roles on tv sitcoms. His first one was in 1979 on “Mork and Mindy”. He joined the cast in the show’s second season, playing Remo DaVinci, who along with his sister, Jeanie, owned a Delicatessen and then an Italian Restaurant. After the show’s third season, he was let go from the cast. He then had a recurring role as the hockey-player-turned-traveling-ice show-skater second husband, Eddie LeBec, of Carla on “Cheers” from 1987-1989, and appeared on “Murphy Brown” as a tabloid talk show host, Jerry Gold, who was also one of Murphy's love interests from1989-1998. Thomas won Emmy Awards in 1990 and 1991 for "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series" for his portrayal of Jerry Gold on Murphy Brown.

Thomas starred in the short-lived 1990 show “Married People”. He played Russell Myers, a writer who worked at home who was married to a high powered lawyer (played by Bess Armstrong). When his wife had a baby, Thomas' character became a househusband. He later starred in the 1992-1995 sitcom “Love & War” (with Susan Dey then Annie Potts) and in the short-lived 1996 Ted Danson-Mary Steenburgen sitcom “Ink”.

In the Summer of 1994, he co-hosted with Lisa Hartman Black in a TV special celebrating the 30th anniversary of Universal Studios called "Universal Studios Summer Blast". He also hosted “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?”, a controversial one-night special on Fox in February 2000 that featured Darva Conger and Rick Rockwell.

Thomas has knocked the holiday meatball off of the Christmas Tree for “The Late Show with David Letterman” almost every year since 1998. (Dave knocked it off in 2004 and 2006.) Each year he also tells his "Lone Ranger Story" which involves him and his friend having to give Clayton Moore a ride home from a radio station promotion at a car dealership while high on marijuana.

In 2008, Thomas was featured on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” as the "expert" available via Skype for the Ask the Expert lifeline. The week he was "expert" he got every single question he was asked right.

He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6161 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.

He and his wife Sally live in Southern California and are parents to two sons, Samuel and Jacob. Jay fathered a son years earlier with another woman and gave the child up for adoption. Jay and his son John Harding have spoken about their reunion on the Dr. Phil show. John Harding is the lead singer of the band JTX.


American Summer 2009 - Martin
A Letter From my Father 2002 - Tom
Material Lies - Frank
Labor Pains 2009 - Garth
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause 2006 - Easter Bunny
American Dad 2005 - Brett Morris
Dope & Faith / Hogwarts (2007) - Brett Morris
Cop Shop 2004 - Det. Moe Diamond
Boston Legal 2004 - Ian Hoberman
Happy Trails (2008) - Ian Hoberman
The Great American Celebrity Spelling Bee 2004
Disney's Teacher's Pet 2004 - Voice of Barry Anger
Joan of Arcadia 2003
Recreation (2004)
Run of the House 2003 - Mr. Bob Melman
The Santa Clause 2 2002 - Easter Bunny
Dragonfly 2002 - Hal
Monday Night Mayhem 2002 - Pete Rozelle
The Education of Max Bickford 2001-2002 - Jerry Zibowski
Intimate Portrait: Park Overall 2000 - Interviewee
Monkey Business 2000 - Tedesco
An American Daughter 2000 - Timber Tucker
Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? 2000 -Host
Brotherhood of Hate 1999 - Reporter
Total Stranger 1999 - Rich Thomas
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 1999 - Joe Sherman
Vulnerable (2002) - Joe Sherman
Last Chance 1999
Get Real 1999 - Jeff Marks
Katie Joplin 1999 -Glen Shotz
Fantasy Island 1998 - Carl
Dirty Laundry 1998 - Joey Greene
Disney's Hercules 1998
The Simple Life 1998 - Joel Campbell
My Date with the President's Daughter 1998 - Charles Fletcher
A Smile Like Yours 1997 - Steve Harris
Desert's Edge 1997 - Hewitt
Explosion! 1997 - Host
Killing Mr. Griffin 1997 - John Griffin
Ink 1996 - Jack Stein
The Bachelor's Baby 1996
Family Film Awards 1996 - Presenter
Indecision '96: The Republican National Convention 1996 - Himself
Earth Day at Walt Disney World 1996
Encino Woman 1996 -Marvin Beckler
A Husband, a Wife, and a Lover 1996 - Eric McKeever
Mr. Holland's Opus 1996 - Bill Meister
Extremely Weird 1995 - Host
Bless This House 1995 - Ted
The 9th Annual American Comedy Awards 1995
Celebrity First Loves 1995
Universal Studios Summer Blast 1994 - Host
Circus of the Stars Gives Kids the World 1993 - Ringmaster
Hard Rock Cafe New Year's Eve Special 1992 - Host
The 61st Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade 1992
Back to School '92 1992
The 44th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 1992 - Presenter
Straight Talk 1992 - Zim Zimmerman
All New Circus of the Stars & Side Show 1991
The Creative Arts Emmy Awards 1991 - Host
Little Vegas 1990
Married People 1990 - Russell
AFI Presents "TV or Not TV?" 1990
Where's Rodney? 1990 - Lou Barnes, Phil Buddner
Anything For Laughs 1990
Miracle Landing 1990 - Ed Meyer
Justin Case 1988
Legal Eagles 1986 - Waiter in Restaurant
The Gig 1985 - Rick Valentine
C.H.U.D. 1984 - Cop in Diner
Master of the Game 1984 - Levy
Cheers 1987-1989 - Eddie Lebec
Ed - Lawyer
Cybil - Himself
Love & War - Jack Stein
Mork and Mindy (1979-1981) - Remo DaVinci
Murphy Brown (1989-1998) - Jerry Gold
Working - Mr. Peyser
The Adventures of Ragtime - Lester