Jay Thomas' unique brand of humor made him a top-rated radio DJ and Emmy-winning television actor in the 1980s and 1990s.
His radio career has included years at prominent radio stations WKTU in New York City — where he was replaced by Howard Stern — and KPWR in Los Angeles, where he helped the young station grow into one of the most popular in the city.
As an actor, he appeared as a guest star on several of the most popular series of the early 1990s.
From 1987 to 1989 he played waitress Carla's hockey-playing husband, Eddie Lebec, on "Cheers." After nine episodes, the Lebec character was killed off in a zamboni accident.
Thomas won Emmy awards in 1990 and 1991 for outstanding guest actor in a comedy series for that role.
Later, he played the character Jerry Gold on "Murphy Brown." As one of Murphy's love interests, Gold became a suspect in the out-of-wedlock pregnancy that famously drew the ire of then-Vice President Dan Quayle.
As he hoped for bigger roles in those years he once described his career as "guest star to the world."
He did eventually hold two starring roles in the early 1990s, first as Russell Meyers on ABC's "Married People" and then as Jack Stein on CBS' "Love and War."
More recently, Thomas has hosted a radio show on SIRIUS/XM radio, and appeared on the television series "Cold Case" and "Boston Legal."
Many of his acting roles have cast him as a New Yorker, but Thomas is actually from the South. He was born in Kermit, Texas, in 1948 and raised in Louisiana.
He first dreamed of becoming a standup comedian. He performed standup in New Orleans when he was 16.
Later, he went to college at Jacksonville University in Florida. He worked at radio stations in Charlotte, N.C.; Pensacola, Fla.; and Jacksonville before landing gigs in New York.
His first major television role came in 1978 on the series "Mork and Mindy" where he acted alongside Robin Williams. He was 30 years old when he landed that part.
He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife Sally and their three children.