LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Private funeral services were pending Monday for Ginnie Newhart, the longtime wife of comedy and TV legend Bob Newhart.
Ginnie Newhart died Sunday "after a long illness" at age 82, according to Jerry Digney, the comedian's publicist.
Born Virginia Lillian Quinn, she was the daughter of actor Bill Quinn, whose career spanned vaudeville, silent films, television and movies. She was introduced to Bob Newhart in 1962 by fellow comedian Buddy Hackett, who set up the pair on a blind date.
Newhart, now 93, once told People magazine, "Buddy said, `I've got a girl for you. She's going with another guy, but I don't think he's right for her, so I'm going to fix you up on a blind date. You'll meet her and you'll date and you'll get married. Then you'll have kids and you'll call one of the kids Buddy.' Which we did."
The couple were married in 1963, and they went on to have four children -- Rob, Tim, Jennifer and Courteney. Newhart said the couple referred to one of their daughters as Buddy in honor of Hackett.
The couple also have 10 grandchildren.
Ginnie Newhart was with Newhart throughout his legendary television career. Digney said she even came up with the idea for the finale of her husband's television series "Newhart" in 1990. The episode featured Newhart's character, Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon, being knocked unconscious by a golf ball, then waking up in bed with actress Suzanne Pleshette in the bedroom set of their earlier classic sitcom, "The Bob Newhart Show."
In a 2022 interview with Parade magazine, Bob Newhart credited laughter for the longevity of their marriage.
"The marriages of comedians, no matter how stormy, seem to last a long time, and I attribute it to laughter," he said. "No matter how intense the argument you're having, you can find a line, and then you both look at each other and start laughing. It's over, you know? I think that sense of humor is very important to the longevity of a marriage."