Suzanne Pleshette, the husky-voiced star best known for her role as Bob Newhart’s sardonic wife on television's long-running “The Bob Newhart Show,” has died at age 70.Pleshette was a fixture of my childhood. I remember her as a beautiful young woman in the first episode of The Wild, Wild West and her appearances in It Takes a Thief, The Name of the Game, Ironside, and in the 1971 James Garner film Support Your Local Gunfighter. But I remember her especially from The Bob Newhart Show of the 1970s, on which she played psychologist Robert Hartley’s husky-voiced and loving, but often sarcastic wife. In an era when women were learning, hesitantly, to be “liberated” and men were still trying to figure out how to react, the relationship between Hartley and his wife seemed an equitable solution--supportive, fun, and mutually agreeable.
Pleshette, whose career included roles in such films as Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and in Broadway plays including “The Miracle Worker,” died of respiratory failure Saturday evening at her Los Angeles home, said her attorney Robert Finkelstein ...
Her passing leaves an outsized hole in the world.
UPDATE: From Emmy Award-winning writer, director, and producer Ken Levine’s blog:
Maybe the most thankless role in sitcoms is the star’s wife. Usually they’re relegated to the voice of reason, the wet blanket. Not Suzanne. She was Bob’s partner, his equal. Bob and Emily didn’t have to fight to be funny. They didn’t have to be opposites. They were grown-ups. Their comedy sprung from how real and relatable they were. You always bought them as a couple--even if the “Bob Newharts” of the world don’t usually get the “Suzanne Pleshettes.” You just knew they had a good sex life. And you knew they’d be together forever (even if Bob did have this bizarre dream where he was running an inn and married to someone else).READ MORE: “Suzanne Pleshette, Sexy Star of ‘Bob Newhart Show,’ Dies at 70,” by Dennis McLellan (Los Angeles Times); “Suzanne Pleshette to Get Star on Walk of Fame,” by Bob Sassone (TV Squad); “Actress Suzanne Pleshette Dies at 70,” by Liane Hanson (NPR: Weekend Edition Sunday); “‘Bob, What I’m Trying to Say Is, I Just Never Went for Those Big Good-Looking Guys Like Stan. That’s Why I Married You,’” by Jamie J. Weinman (Something Old, Nothing New); “Tribute to the Late Suzanne Pleshette.”