'Newhart' handyman Tom Poston dies at 85

May 1, 2007 at 8:36 PM
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LOS ANGELES, May 1 (UPI) -- Tom Poston, the Emmy-winning actor best known as handyman George Utley on "Newhart," has died in his home in Los Angeles at the age of 85.

Poston, who died Monday of an undisclosed illness, played the sidekick role to several stars, including Steve Allen, Robin Williams and Bob Newhart, Entertainment Tonight said Tuesday.

"The death ... of Tom Poston, a versatile and veteran performer and a kind-hearted individual, comes as a great shock," Newhart said in a statement. "He will be sorely missed and was an important part of the 'Newhart' family. Tom was always the 'go-to guy' on 'Newhart' in addition to being a good and longtime friend."

Poston made his Broadway debut in 1947 in "Cyrano de Bergerac," starring Jose Ferrer. He appeared in other dramas, but discovered comedy was his forte.

He worked almost exclusively in television throughout his career, only occasionally taking on a role in film. Recently, Poston had recurring roles on TV shows such as "Committed" and "That '70s Show."

Poston was married to actress Suzanne Pleshette, who played Newhart's wife on "The Bob Newhart Show." She and three children from previous marriages survive him.

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