New Orleans native and actor Jay Thomas dies

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NEW YORK, NY - JULY 17: Actor Jay Thomas attends the SiriusXM Celebrity Fantasy Football Draft at Hard Rock Cafe - Times Square on July 17, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Imagesfor SiriusXM)

NEW ORLEANS — Actor Jay Thomas, best known for his roles on Murphy Brown and Cheers, has died.

The New Orleans native and Jesuit High graduate was 69. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he died of cancer.

Thomas was born in Texas but raised in New Orleans.

Here’s what the report had to say:

Thomas played the obnoxious TV talk-show host Jerry Gold (and Candice Bergen’s on-again, off-again boyfriend) on Murphy Brown from 1989-98 — winning a pair of Emmys — after his stint as Rhea Perlman’s husband Eddie LeBec, a player with the Boston Bruins, on Cheers. On the latter, his character winds up appearing in an ice show and gets killed by a Zamboni.

Thomas also starred on his own sitcom, playing an egotistical sportswriter opposite Susan Dey and then Annie Potts on Love and War, a 1992-95 series created by Murphy Brown’s Diane English.

Thomas often played loud, sleazy types: He recently recurred on Showtime’s Ray Donovan as Marty Grossman, the operator of a salacious TMZ-like website.

For years, Thomas appeared on David Letterman’s late-night talk show during Christmas seasonand told a great, never-gets-old story centered on Clayton Moore, star of TV’s The Lone Ranger. He and Letterman also took turns throwing a football, trying to dislodge a meatball from the top of a Christmas tree. 

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