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Bob Newhart honored for 50 years in show biz

June 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Bob Newhart is celebrating half a century in show business. And Tuesday night, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is paying tribute to Newhart's 50-year career."I'm surprised it lasted this long, you know? I may have a future in this business. I don't know," said Newhart.

Friends Don Rickles and Tim Conway were just two of the faces at the event to help the Television Academy honor Newhart's 50th anniversary in entertainment.

In the 1970s "The Bob Newhart Show" was a Saturday night staple.

"I stumbled upon a formula, starting with 'The Bob Newhart Show' in '72 and that's: Find the most talented people you can find and the best writers and then take all the credit yourself," said Newhart.

"Whenever I can talk about Bob Newhart, I'll go anywhere. I think of him as the Fred Astaire of comedy. He makes it look so easy," said actress Marcia Wallace.

And he did it again, for eight seasons, playing a Vermont innkeeper on "Newhart."

"He's a little wackier in person than you might think," said actress Julia Duffy. "He's got a pretty wild sense of humor."

"And there are very few that you can compare Bob to -- Jack Benny comes to mind and then I'm done," said actor Peter Scolari.

"When we're together, we have a great camaraderie and a great friendship and I respect him and think the world of him," said comedian Don Rickles.

Jokes aside, Newhart knows he's privileged to have spent so many years in our living rooms.

"People just come up and say, 'Thank you, thank you for all the laughter,'" said Newhart. "And my response is, 'Well, thank you for laughing.'"

Newhart plans to keep making people laugh. The 80-year-old comedy icon will spend the rest of this year touring the U.S. and Canada.