Jim Parsons Recalls the Tear-Jerking Moment Bob Newhart Walked onto 'The Big Bang Theory' Set

·3 min read
<p>Francis Specker/CBS Photo Archive/CBS via Getty Images</p>

Francis Specker/CBS Photo Archive/CBS via Getty Images

Comedian Bob Newhart has been in the entertainment business for over 60 years. He's worked with great people along the way, including these four who share with Parade their favorite memories of working alongside the legend.

Related: Still Laughing With Bob Newhart: Parade Interviews and Celebrates the Comedian

Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory

“The night we taped the first scene he ever did with us, he appeared in the hallway and the show stopped—just completely stopped—from the standing ovation the live audience gave him. He cried. I think we all cried. It was profound, and I realized how much I’d been stuffing down my knowledge of how profound it was to work with Bob all week at rehearsal, because who the hell can do good work while saying, ‘I can’t f--king believe I’m working with Bob Newhart!’ in your head the whole time? No one. But the dam broke in that moment.”

Jon Favreau, director of Elf

“In order to make the elves feel smaller than Will Ferrell, we used a technique called forced perspective. We would have a large set and a small set that lined up perfectly on-camera, but were actually about 10 feet apart. At first Bob found it a bit challenging to act without being able to look at his scene partner. After we showed him playback of the first take, he understood how the gag worked and got a real kick out of it. From then on, he was coming up with different gags that would take full advantage of this camera trick.”

David Foley from Hot in Cleveland

“My favorite memory is that first moment where Bob’s character—Bob played my dad—shows up. There’s a knock at the door, and I open the door, and it’s Bob outside the door. And it was one of those things where he immediately launched into a Bob Newhart pause. And I was just standing there in front of the audience going, Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m in the middle of a Bob Newhart pause. I had been stealing his pauses my entire career. It was amazing to watch one happening up close!”

Julia Duffy from Newhart

“I remember early on when I had a phone call scene, Stephanie [her character] was talking to her father on the phone about her situation working as a maid. It was a very funny and, of course, one-sided dialogue. I was rehearsing the scene on the set, and Bob was walking across the stage with his coffee and stopped and watched. I suddenly realized what I was doing: attempting a comedic phone call bit in front of the master [of comedic, one-sided phone conversations. I stopped and said, ‘Don't watch. I can’t do a phone call with you watching.’ He grinned and said, ‘Not as easy as it looks, is it?’ Believe me, it is not. I think he really enjoyed watching someone else find out how tricky the timing is.”

Related: Bob Newhart's 11 Best Roles in TV and Film