Ginnie Newhart, wife of comedian Bob Newhart, dies at 82

Ginnie Newhart, wife of comedian Bob Newhart, dies at 82

The Newharts were married for 60 years.

Author Maureen Lee Lenker

Ginnie Newhart, wife of comedian Bob Newhart for 60 years, has died. She was 82.

Publicist Jerry Digney confirmed the news that Ginnie Newhart died at home on April 23 following a long illness.

In addition to her longtime marriage to Newhart, Ginny is credited with conceiving of the iconic ending to sitcom Newhart, which is still consistently ranked as one of the best series’ finales of all time. The CBS sitcom ends with Newhart’s Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon waking up as The Bob Newhart Show‘s Bob Hartley next to Suzanne Pleshette, who had played his character’s wife on the previous CBS sitcom. This suggested that the events of Newhart were perhaps entirely a dream.

Bob Newhart and wife Ginnie during “Elf” New York City Premiere at Loews Astor Plaza in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

Bob and Ginnie Newhart

| Credit: Theo Wargo/WireImage

Born Virginia Lillian Quinn on Dec. 9, 1940 in New York, Ginnie Newhart was the daughter of a well-known actor herself.

Her father Bill Quinn also had an impressive film and television resume, including as Mary Richards’ father on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the father of “Bones” McCoy in 1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, and in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds among his over 200 credits.

Ginnie and Bob were set up by fellow comedian, Buddy Hackett (The Music Man). According to Digney, Newhart recalled, “Buddy said, ‘I’ve got a girl for you’. She’s going with another guy, but I don’t think he’s right for her, so I’m going to fix you up on a blind date. You’ll meet her and you’ll date and you’ll get married. Then you’ll have kids and you’ll call one of the kids Buddy.’ Which we did.”

The two played pool at Hackett’s house on their first date, according to Ginnie while she was appearing on PBS’ American Masters. They married on Jan. 12, 1963, and they celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary this past January.

In addition to her constant support of Newhart’s career from his comedy shows in the ’60s through to her innovative idea for his Newhart series finale, she was one half of a beloved Hollywood couple. She frequently appeared in the background of his shows, including as a dancer on The Bob Newhart Show. The two also played together on celebrity game show Tattletales and Newhart appeared as herself on game show Super Password.

It was Ginnie who began the lifelong connection between her husband and Don Rickles. Ginnie and Rickles’ wife Barbara initiated the friendship, which became a longstanding relationship that included years spent together on family vacations and in Las Vegas, where both comedians would perform stand-up.

Newhart credited the longevity of their marriage to laughter, telling Parade in 2022, “The marriages of comedians, no matter how stormy, seem to last a long time, and I attribute it to laughter. No matter how intense the argument you’re having, you can find a line, and then you both look at each other and start laughing. It’s over, you know? I think that sense of humor is very important to the longevity of a marriage.”

Ginnie is survived by Bob, their four children, Rob, Tim, Jennifer, and Courtney, and ten grandchildren.

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