Peter Scolari, Emmy-Winning Screen and Stage Vet, Dies at 66

Scolari’s Broadway appearances include ”Hairspray”, ”Wicked”, and ”Bronx Bombers”.

Peter Scolari
Peter Scolari
(© Tristan Fuge)

Emmy winning stage and screen vet Peter Scolari has died at the age of 66 following a two-year battle with cancer, according to published reports.

Born in New Rochelle, Scolari was a six-time Broadway veteran, making his debut as a replacement Wilbur Turnblad in Hairspray. He would go on to appear in Sly Fox opposite Richard Dreyfuss, Wicked, as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Magic/Bird as Red Auerbach, Bronx Bombers, as Yogi Berra (and opposite wife Tracy Shayne, who played Carmen Berra), and Lucky Guy, which reunited him with his former TV costar, Tom Hanks.

Scolari and Hanks were both relative unknowns when they landed the starring roles in the sitcom Bosom Buddies, where they played two men who disguise themselves as women to get themselves an affordable apartment.

His scores of other television credits across his four-decade career include his Emmy nominated turn as Michael on Newhart and the role of Wayne Szalinski in 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show, as well as appearances in Happy Days, The Love Boat, Murphy Brown, Gargoyles, The Nanny, Ally McBeal, The West Wing, Fosse/Verdon, Evil, and HBO's Girls, where he earned an Emmy for his performance as Tad Horvath. In film, he appeared in Camp Nowhere, That Thing You Do!, and The Polar Express'', both of which reunited him with Hanks.

Scolari's last New York stage appearance during a regular run took place in the fall of 2018, acting opposite Edie Falco and Michael McKean in the New Group production of Sharr White's The True. In addition to Shayne, Scolari is survived by children Nicholas, Joseph, Keaton, and Cali.