Thomas passed away after a battle with cancer, according to his agent and longtime friend, Don Buchwald, who confirmed the actor's death to the New York Daily News. In a statement to the Daily News, Buchwald said, "Jay was one of a kind, never at a loss for words and filled with so much fun and wonderfully whacky [sic] thoughts and behavior."
Thomas made his sitcom debut on "Mork & Mindy" in 1979, recurring on numerous episodes throughout the show's run. He later appeared on "Cheers" as Eddie LeBec, the hockey player husband of Carla (Rhea Perlman), who was infamously run over and killed by a Zamboni.
The actor went on to star on "Murphy Brown," playing Jerry Gold, the on-again, off-again boyfriend of Candice Bergen's titular character, with whom she has a baby. Thomas won two Guest Actor in a Comedy Emmys for the role. He later headlined the sitcom "Love & War," which ran from 1992 to 1995; his most recent television appearance was on "Ray Donovan." His film credits included "Mr. Holland's Opus," "The Santa Clause 2," and "The Santa Clause 3."
The actor also made annual holiday season appearances on "The Late Show with David Letterman," where he told a tale about a bizarre meeting with "Lone Ranger" star Clayton Moore, and then took turns with Letterman trying to knock a meatball off the top of a Christmas tree with a football.
Thomas is survived by his wife, Sally, and sons Sam, Jake, and J.T.