ShareThis Page
Movies/TV

Bill Daily, sidekick on hit '60s and '70s sitcoms, dies at 91

| Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, 2:03 p.m.
FILE - In a Sept. 5, 2007 file photo, Bill Daily arrives for TV Land's 35th anniversary tribute to 'The Bob Newhart Show,' Wednesday, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Bill Daily, the comic sidekick to leading men on the sitcoms “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Bob Newhart Show,” has died. Family spokesman Steve Moyer said Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 that Daily died Tuesday of natural causes in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was 91. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
FILE - In a Sept. 5, 2007 file photo, Bill Daily arrives for TV Land's 35th anniversary tribute to 'The Bob Newhart Show,' Wednesday, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Bill Daily, the comic sidekick to leading men on the sitcoms “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Bob Newhart Show,” has died. Family spokesman Steve Moyer said Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 that Daily died Tuesday of natural causes in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was 91. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

LOS ANGELES — Bill Daily, the comic sidekick to leading men on the sitcoms “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Bob Newhart Show,” has died, a family spokesman said Saturday.

Daily died of natural causes in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Tuesday, at his home where he had been living with his son, spokesman Steve Moyer told The Associated Press.

Daily was not a household name but he was a household face, familiar to many millions of baby-boomer viewers in the 1960s and ’70s from two of the era’s biggest shows.

He played Major Roger Healy in all five seasons of “I Dream of Jeannie” from 1965 to 1970. Healy was the astronaut partner to Larry Hagman’s Major Anthony Nelson as both men tried to contain the antics of Jeannie, the blond bombshell who lived in a bottle played by Barbara Eden.

Eden said on Twitter Friday night that Daily was “Our favorite zany astronaut.”

“Billy was wonderful to work with,” Eden said. “He was a funny, sweet man that kept us all on our toes. I’m so thankful to have known and worked with that rascal.”

Just two years later he landed a very similar role and had an even longer run on “The Bob Newhart Show,” playing aviator Howard Borden behind Newhart’s psychologist Dr. Bob Hartley for 140 episodes between 1972 and 1978.

Newhart, now 89, tweeted Friday night that he and Daily had been friends since both were trying to get into standup comedy in the 1950s, and Daily was a clutch comedian that could make anything work on the sitcom.

“He was our bullpen guy — you could always go to him,” Newhart said. “He was one of the most positive people I’ve ever known. I will miss him dearly.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me