PROFILE
Name:
Peter Scolari
Birth Date:
September 12, 1954
Birth Place:
New Rochelle, New York, USA
Nationality:
American
BIOGRAPHY
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Newhart

Background:

A founding member of the Colonnades Theatre Lab in New York, New York native Peter Scolari began his professional acting career in a number of off-Broadway productions. He first became a TV star in the early '80s when he co-starred with Tom Hanks on the ABC sitcom "Bosom Buddies" (1980-1982).

However, Peter’s most critically-acclaimed TV work to date was on the CBS sitcom "Newhart," in which he played Michael Harris, the hyperactive, manipulative producer of Dick's (played by comedian Bob Newhart) TV show. His performance in the show earned him Emmy nominations three times (1989; 1987 and 1988), all for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He also won a Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series.

Following the success of "Newhart," Scolari starred as Warren Mosbey, the highly intelligent yet socially inept owner of a successful software company, on the CBS comedy "Dweebs" (1995), and as the lovable scientist Wayne Szalinski on the syndicated Disney series based on the hit feature film of the same name, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show" (1997-2000).

On the big screen, the 5' 6½" compact, blond comedy player, who was in an Anti-Drug TV commercial where he played "The Rapping Dad," has appeared in the films "The Rosebud Beach Hotel" (1984), "Mr. Bill's Real Life Adventures" (1986), "That Thing You Do" (1996) and "The Polar Express" (2004).


Accomplished Juggler

Childhood and Family:

In New Rochelle, New York, Peter Scolari was born on September 12, 1954. Initially dreaming of becoming a professional baseball player, Scolari began acting at Edgemont High School in Scarsdale, New York, in the high school production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” He then studied literature at Occidental College, in Eagle Rock, California. He also attended City College of New York.

After divorcing a New York attorney, Scolari was married to his second wife, Debra Steagal, from 1986 to 1996. In 1996, while performing in a production of "Grease," he met actress Cathy Trien and they were married on October 12, 1998. They later announced their separation in March of 2006.

From those marriages, Scolari has three sons, Nicholas Scolari (born in 1988; mother, Debra Steagal), Joseph Scolari (born in 1992; mother, Debra Steagal), and Keaton Scott Scolari (born on August 20, 1999; mother, Cathy Trien).

An accomplished juggler who is also skilled in circus arts, Scolari has juggled recreationally for years and attended numerous conventions of the International Jugglers' Association. He also performed as a juggler on the television show “Circus of the Stars.”


Bosom Buddies

Career:

Originally planning of becoming a professional baseball player but unable to play after a serious elbow injury, Peter Scolari began acting in a high school production of the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

The aspiring actor began his professional acting career in a number of off-Broadway plays and was one of the founders of the Colonnades Theatre Lab in New York in the late '70s, with whom he appeared in such productions as “Moliere in Spite of Himself,” “Reflections” and “A Flea in Her Ear.”

Scolari moved to Hollywood in the early '80s and landed a recurring role on the ABC sitcom "Goodtime Girls." Not long after, the newcomer was paired with Tom Hanks to star in the ABC sitcom "Bosom Buddies." In the show that ran from 1980 to 1982, Scolari played aspiring writer Henry Desmond/Hildegarde 'Hilde' Desmond, who, alongside his pal Kip Wilson (played by Hanks), disguise themselves as women in order to live in a women-only hotel.

Scolari subsequently appeared in the CBS made-for-television movie "Missing Children: A Mother's Story" (1982; with Kate Capshaw, Soleil Moon Frye, and Mare Winningham). The following year, he starred in the short-lived ABC family sitcom "Baby Makes Five" (1983), portraying Eddie Riddle, a family man with children and a wife who is expecting their 5th.

After appearing in Harry Hurwitz's comedy feature film "The Rosebud Beach Hotel" (1984), Scolari began playing Michael Harris, the hyperactive, manipulative producer of Dick's (played by comedian Bob Newhart) TV show, on the CBS sitcom "Newhart." He stayed with the show until its finale in May 1990. His performance in the show earned Emmy nominations three times (1989; 1987 and 1988), all for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He also won a Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series.

The '90s saw Scolari star in the short-lived CBS comedy series "Family Album" (1993), alongside David L. Lander, Wendie Malick, and Michael McKean, and provide the voice of Preston Vogel (1995-1996) on the syndicated cartoon series "Gargoyles." He also joined the ensemble cast of the CBS comedy "Dweebs" (1995).

In 1996, Scolari was reunited with Tom Hanks in Hanks' directorial debut, "That Thing You Do," in which he played a small role as Troy Chesterfield, host of the "Hollywood Television Showcase." He also appeared in the CBS special "The Magic of Harry Anderson" (1996). Additionally, he returned to the stage in "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off" and "Grease."

Returning to the small screen, Scolari starred in the syndicated Disney series based on the hit feature film of the same name, "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show" (1997-2000), playing the lovable but befuddled scientist Wayne Szalinski. H was also cast as Astronaut Pete Conrad in the HBO twelve-part mini series "From the Earth to the Moon" (1998), which was produced by Tom Hanks and Ron Howard.

In 2004, Scolari appeared in Larry Gelbart's play “Sly Fox” at the Barrymore Theatre and voiced the Lonely Boy in Robert Zemeckis' Academy Award-nominated feature film based on the children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, "The Polar Express."

Moviegoers recently saw Scolari in the documentary film narrated by Tom Hanks, "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D" (2005), David Langlitz's drama film about the relationship between a Pulitzer Prize-winning author (played by Rutger Hauer) and his protégé (played by Dagmara Dominczyk), "Mentor" (2006), and David Horgan's drama feature starring Donnie Moorhouse, "Cathedral Pines" (2006).

In 2007, Scolari appeared in writer/director Marc Klein's movie starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alec Baldwin, and Maggie Grace, "Suburban Girl," and in Caroline Zelder's fact-based action/family movie starring William Baldwin and Henry Winkler, "A Plumm Summer."

Scolari will soon complete his upcoming film project, "Letting Go," a romantic drama written and directed by Jake Torem.


Awards:

  • Viewers for Quality Television: Q Award - Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series, "Newhart," 1987

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