George Robert Newhart, known professionally as Bob Newhart, is an American stand-up comedian and actor. Noted for his deadpan and slightly stammering delivery, Newhart came to prominence in the 1960s when his album of comedic monologues The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart was a worldwide bestseller and reached #1 on the Billboard pop music charts—it remains the 20th best-selling comedy album in history. The follow-up album, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Again! was also a massive success, and both albums held the Billboard #1 and #2 spots simultaneously, a feat unequaled until the 1991 release of Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II by hard rock band Guns N' Roses.
Newhart later went into acting, starring in two long-running and prize-winning situation comedies, first as psychologist Dr. Robert "Bob" Hartley on the 1970s sitcom The Bob Newhart Show and then as innkeeper Dick Loudon on the 1980s sitcom Newhart. He also had a third short-lived sitcom in the nineties titled Bob. Newhart also appeared in film roles such as Major Major in Catch-22, and Papa Elf in Elf. He provided the voice of Bernard in the Walt Disney animated films The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under. One of his most recent roles is the library head Judson in The Librarian.
After the war he got a job as an accountant for United States Gypsum. He later claimed that his motto, "That's close enough," and his habit of adjusting petty cash imbalances with his own money shows he didn't have the temperament to be an accountant. He also claimed to have been a clerk in the unemployment office who made $55 a week but who quit upon learning weekly unemployment benefits were $45 a week and he "only had to come in to the office one day a week to collect it."
Newhart's success in stand-up led to his own NBC variety show in 1961, The Bob Newhart Show. The show lasted only a single season but earned Newhart an Emmy Award nomination and a Peabody Award.
In the mid-1960s, Newhart appeared on The Dean Martin Show 24 times, and The Ed Sullivan Show eight times. He appeared in a 1963 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Judy Garland Show. Newhart guest-hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 87 times, and hosted Saturday Night Live twice, 15 years apart (1980 and 1995).
In addition to stand-up comedy, Newhart became a dedicated character actor, including a guest role on an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. That led to other series such as: Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, Captain Nice, 2 episodes of Insight, and It's Garry Shandling's Show. He reprised his role as Dr. Bob Hartley on Murphy Brown and The Simpsons, and as a retired forensic pathologist on NCIS.
Newhart guest-starred on three episodes of ER for which he was nominated for an Emmy award, as well as on Desperate Housewives. He also appeared on Committed.
Primarily a television star, Newhart has been in a number of popular films, beginning with the 1962 war story Hell Is for Heroes starring Steve McQueen. His films have ranged from 1970's Barbra Streisand musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, the 1971 Norman Lear comedy Cold Turkey, the Mike Nichols-directed war satire Catch-22, to the 2003 Will Ferrell holiday comedy Elf.
Newhart played the President of the United States in a 1980 comedy, First Family. He appeared as a beleaguered school principal in 1997's In & Out, starring Kevin Kline.
His most recent film appearance was a cameo appearance as a sadistic CEO at the end of the 2011 film Horrible Bosses.