Jay Thomas was born in Kermit, Texas, to Katherine (Guzzino), a tap-dancing South Louisiana belle of Italian descent, and T. Harry Terrell, Sr., an oil man. Reared in New Orleans, he was always active in sports and performing. He won his first award as emcee of the Jesuit High School talent show. He boxed, wrestled, played football, and ran track. At 16 he started as a stand-up on Bourbon St. He attended Gulf Coast College, University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University, Central Piedmont College, and Jacksonville University, graduating with an AA, BS, and MA. He became a sports announcer and DJ in college. He also found time to put in three years of small college football as a QB. When NYC beckoned Jay continued his eclectic career as a top rated morning DJ, comic at the Improve in NYC, and began an active off Broadway acting career, that saw him mix drama and comedy. His first TV role was in “Mork and Mindy”. Then on to LA radio as the #1 jock at Power 106, The Ensemble Theater Group, and recurring on “Cheers” as Carla’s ice hockey playing husband. He won two Emmy awards for portraying Jerry Gold on”Murphy Brown”. He starred in his own TV shows “Married People” with Beth Armstrong and “Love and War” with Susan Dey and later Annie Potts. He appeared as a leading guest star in dozens of sitcoms, cop shows, and MOW’s opposite Judith Light, John Tuturro, and Christine Lahti. On the big screen he was featured in “Mr. Holland’s Opus”, “A Smile Like Yours”, and “Santa Claus” 2 and 3. Returning to the stage he starred in plays written and directed by Wendy Wasserstein and Woody Allen. Recently he has hosted shows at Carolines in NYC and the Bellagio in Vegas. He guest starred in an episode of “Hung” on HBO. He won the best actor for and was a co-writer of best comedy at the LA iTV Fest for “Talker”. And the Jay Thomas talk show airs daily on SiriusXM.
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