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The Bob Newhart Show

Suzanne Pleshette

Emily Hartley

Suzanne Pleshette is best known for her role as Dr. Bob Hartley's intelligent, independent wife Emily. She began her career in TV soon after graduating from college, eventually landing supporting roles in classic series such as Route 66, The Fugitive, Dr. Kildare (in a role that earned an Emmy nomination) and Bonanza. Pleshette, with her smoldering, wise-beyond-her-years looks, was often cast as the bad girl.

Her chance to break away from such stereotyping came when the producers of The Bob Newhart Show began looking for a sharp, outspoken, mature yet sexy woman to portray a healthy adult TV marriage. Spotting Pleshette bantering with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, they realized how perfect she was for the role. The show went on to break new ground by setting many key scenes in the Hartleys' king-size bed. Pleshette's naturally saucy persona was a favorite of Carson's, and throughout the '70s and '80s she made numerous guest appearances on the late-night talk show circuit, charming hosts and viewers alike with her risqué but well-received humor. In 1984 she landed her own sitcom, Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs. She continued to work after it was canceled, appearing as a guest star on Newhart, 8 Simple Rules and Will and Grace. She passed away Jan. 19, 2008 at the age of 70.

Character Bio

Emily lives in Chicago, where she's happily married to her psychologist husband Bob. The two adhere firmly to the marital tradition of solving every argument before bedtime – even if it means staying up all night. A career-oriented woman, Emily has worked her way up from third-grade schoolteacher to vice principal.

Over 30, classy, mature and yet still sexy, she provides a stable center for the surreal happenings in the Hartley household. Her hobby is matchmaking; she isn't very successful at it, but she keeps trying anyway. She leaves out the welcome mat for Bob's friends and patients, particularly Howard Borden, the childlike next-door neighbor who probably couldn't survive without the meals Emily frequently feeds him.