Sept. 8 (UPI) — Beloved television actor Bill Daily has died in New Mexico at the age of 91, his son J. Patrick Daily said.
“He loved every sunset, he loved every meal — he just decided to be happy about everything,” Daily said of his father, who was an Iowa native and Korean War veteran.
A post on Bill Daily’s official Facebook page offered a few more details about the actor’s later years.
“Bill had retired from all public life only a few years ago. He recently moved from Albuquerque, New Mexico — his home for over 30 years — to Santa Fe, New Mexico to live with his son Patrick and family,” Daily’s spokesman Patterson Lundquist wrote in the post.
The message continued: “Bill was best known for his two most iconic roles — Maj. Roger Healey of “I Dream of Jeannie,” the girl crazy best-friend to Major Nelson; and the perpetually jet-lagged, Howard Borden of “The Bob Newhart Show.” Bill’s philosophy in life was that happiness was a decision you make. That was how he lived. Bill enjoyed every bit of his life to the fullest. There will not be a memorial service or funeral for family, friends, and fans. Instead, Bill’s final wish is to throw a party. Remember the good times and be happy.”
Newhart and Daily knew each other for decades and worked together as pinsetters at a bowling alley before getting their big breaks as comedians.
Newhart released a statement about his friend’s death to The Hollywood Reporter Friday night.
“I called him our bullpen man,” Newhart said of collaborating with Daily on his TV series. “Whenever we were having trouble with a script on the show, we’d have Bill make an appearance. In recent years, we had hoped to have Bill be a part of The Bob Newhart Show tributes at the TV Academy, but by then he was no longer traveling. He was one of the most positive people I ever knew, and we’ll dearly miss him.”
Daily’s other credits include “Bewitched,” “The Farmer’s Daughter” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”