Ginnie Newhart Had an Idea for Ending Husband's Series

Bob Newhart's wife suggested the celebrated dream finale
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 24, 2023 7:25 PM CDT
When TV Series Was Ending, Ginnie Newhart Had a Thought
Actor-comedian Bob Newhart and his wife, Ginnie, attend the Golden Globe Awards in 1985 in Beverly Hills.   (AP Photo/Lennox McLendon, File)

Ginnie Newhart, who was married to comedy legend Bob Newhart for six decades and inspired the classic ending of his Newhart series, has died. She was 82 and died Sunday in Los Angeles after a long illness, the AP reports. The couple recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. The Newharts met on a blind date set up by actor-comedian Buddy Hackett, according to details provided by a publicist. In addition to her husband, 93, Ginnie Newhart is survived by their four children and 10 grandchildren.

Ginnie Newhart is credited with providing the idea for the 1990 highly praised finale to Newhart, in which her husband played a Vermont innkeeper. In 2020, Bob Newhart told Yahoo Entertainment how the ending came about. At a Christmas party, he said he was thinking about quitting the show. "Ginny knew I was unhappy with CBS," he said. "She told me, 'You know what the final show should be?'" His wife suggested that he wake up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette—his TV wife in his previous series, the Bob Newhart Show—"and you describe this dream you had about owning an inn in Vermont."

Newhart loved the idea, and Pleshette, who was at the party, signed on. He ended up staying with the series for another two years. When the final episode neared, he was ready. "I gave the idea to the writers, and they filled out the rest," he said. At filming, the studio audience broke into cheers and applause. The ending has "held up to other shows as the standard," Newhart told Entertainment Weekly in 2010. "To me, it was the ultimate wink-wink, nudge-nudge kind of thing," he said. "The audience was in on the joke." (More obituary stories.)

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