Remembering Peter Scolari As A Juggler

Emmy Award-winning American television, Broadway, and film actor Peter Scolari passed away on October 22nd at the age of 66. You can click here, here, and here to learn more about his life and career, but here we will focus on his juggling pursuits. Scolari was one of the most passionate and talented hobbyist jugglers among the many, many global celebrities that juggled.

When asked how he learned to juggle, Peter responded, “I played a jester in a history comedy in 1976. I dueled with another jester for the king’s attention. I won for two months straight, until he came out juggling. His name was Tom Tammi, a wonderful actor. I asked him to teach me. He said ‘maybe next month’ and taught me the next day.” Scolari apparently learned the three ball cascade in ten minutes.

In the following clip, Scolari explained to Jay Leno that this experience led to to actually trying his hand as a street performing juggler.

As with the above appearance, Scolari took the opportunity to juggle during interviews as often as he could. The video below shows him briefly juggling three cookie bins while being interviewed by David Letterman in 1990.

He also juggled on the 1982 television program Circus of the Stars, demonstrating five balls, three club tricks, and other skills that showed that he had put in a lot of work learning the skill. In later editions of the show, Scolari performed tight rope walking and hand balancing. He could also ride a unicycle.

Scolari lived in New York City and would often go to Washington Square Park or Riverside Park with his prop bag and practice for an hour or two. He would also visit the Dube juggling store when it was still open.

Peter Scolari even attended a couple of IJA Conventions. He attended the 1981 IJA Convention in Cleveland and the 1983 IJA Convention in Purchase, NY. This period was during and just after he rose to fame on the show Bosom Buddies, in which he co-starred with Tom Hanks.

Peter Scolari surrounded by his Bosom Buddies castmates

Peter kept a low profile at the conventions and many didn’t realize that such a celebrity was in their midst. He befriended Kit Summers, about whom Peter hoped to make a movie about someday.

Peter Scolari at the 1981 IJA Convention (Photo by Kathy Doutt)

Peter Scolari was a very visible ambassador for juggling to the general public. Our condolences go out to his friends, family, and fans.

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world's only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of twenty-six books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

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