One of my pandemic pleasures has been watching Evil, a supernatural series created by Robert King and Michelle King (The Good Wife, The Good Fight ) that premiered a few months before COVID-19 landed in the USA. Season One aired on CBS; I started watching on Paramount+ this summer, where the series had moved for season two (both seasons are available to stream). Evil features an ensemble cast including Peter Scolari, and I remember turning to the husband and commenting: “Gosh, I am so glad that Scolari still gets work”. Of course, the talented actor had never stopped working since I first spotted the talented versatile actor on Bosom Buddies (1980–1982) with Tom Hanks. The future stars played two men who disguise themselves as women so they can live in a dirt-cheap female-only hotel.
Bosom Buddies barely lasted two seasons, but Scolari bounced back with a funny supporting role as a yuppy television producer on Newhart (1984 – 1990), receiving three Emmy Award nominations for his work. He won an Emmy for his recurring role as Lena Dunham‘s gay father on Girls (2012 – 2017) in 2016. His finely-wrought performance was a series highlight. Even watching Girls, I announced: “Gosh, I am so glad that Scolari still gets work”.
Scolari played lead roles on several unsuccessful series before working for three seasons playing inventor Wayne Szalinski, in the television adaptation of the Disney film Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), a role originated in the film by Rick Moranis. He portrayed Gotham City’s corrupt police commissioner, Gillian B. Loeb, in Fox’s superhero drama Gotham (2014-2019).
Scolari appeared on Broadway in Wicked as the Wizard, plus in Sly Fox, Hairspray, and Lucky Guy, which reunited him with his Bosom Buddies costar Hanks, and Nora Ephron‘s final work.
Scolari also appeared in a dozen Off-Broadway plays and musicals. In 1996, Scolari starred in a television version of the stage musical Stop The World – I Want To Get Off on A&E.
In a 2014 with Oprah Winfrey, Scolari spoke openly about his struggles with substance abuse and bipolar disorder.
His final project is a recurring role on Lisey’s Story, a limited series based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Stephen King, starring Julianne Moore. It is streaming on Apple TV+.
Evil will return for a third season next year, but sadly with out Scolari as a tough Catholic bishop. He was taken by cancer today, Friday, October 22, taken at 66 years old after a two year battle with cancer.