‘Bosom Buddies’ Cast: What Happened to the Beloved Stars?

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In the landscape of 1980s television, few shows spark nostalgia and fond memories quite like Bosom Buddies. A sitcom that aired from 1980 to 1982, the show stood out for its unique premise, witty writing and a talented cast.

The show follows the misadventures of two single men, Kip Wilson and Henry Desmond, who find themselves in dire straits when their apartment building is turned into an all-female residence. Desperate for affordable housing, they decide to dress in drag and pose as women named Buffy and Hildegarde to secure residency in the building.

Bosom buddies cast

Adventure and comedy ensue as they navigate the challenges of maintaining their double lives while pursuing their careers and romantic interests. The show is a blend of slapstick humor, clever writing, and the irresistible chemistry between the lead actors. It offered a fresh take on the classic buddy comedy formula, earning critical acclaim and a devoted fanbase.

When looking to fill the two lead spots of Kip and Henry, the casting net was thrown out far and wide across the big cities — Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Says director Joel Zwick of casting Tom Hanks, then an unknown actor, “One of them was this kid they found out of New York who was understudying off-Broadway. This was a guy with no real experience, but he knew exactly what he did well, and he just did it.”

Here, we look back at the cast of Bosom Buddies.

Tom Hanks as Kip Wilson (aka Buffy)

Tom Hanks as Kip Wilson (aka Buffy) (Bosom Buddies Cast)
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Kip Wilson, portrayed by the talented Tom Hanks, is one half of the dynamic duo at the center of Bosom Buddies. As Buffy, he is the more suave and confident of the pair, often finding himself entangled in humorous predicaments.

The chemistry between Hanks and Peter Scolari was what made the show an instant hit. Hanks said that he and Peter were, “molecularly connected in a way that they started speaking the same language.” They would often ab lib from the script and the two actors made TV magic together.

Prior to Bosom Buddies, Hank was a struggling stage actor. Landing Bosom Buddies was Hanks big break. After that, Hank landed big roles including the 1984 hit movie Splash, which was directed by Ron Howard and starred Daryl Hannah. Tom Hanks and Ron Howard became a strong actor-director team and worked on several movies together including Apollo 13, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.

In 1988, Penny Marshall cast Hanks in Big and his performance earned him his first Academy Award nomination. From there he went on to star in Nora Ephron's 1993 hit Sleepless in Seattle with co-star Meg Ryan; the two stars went on to make a number of movies, including You’ve Got Mail.

Hanks moved from comedy to drama in 1994’s Philadelphia, in which he played a lawyer fired from his high-paying firm because he had AIDS. He won the Academy Award for his role. He then went on to star in many successful movies including Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal. Hanks has become one of America’s favorite actors. His most recent role was 2022’s A Man Called Otto.

Hanks is married to actress Rita Wilson.

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Peter Scolari as Henry Desmond (Hildegarde): Bosom Buddies

Peter Scolari as Henry Desmond (Hildegarde)
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Henry Desmond, portrayed by Peter Scolari, is Kip's loyal best friend and partner-in-crime. As Hildegarde, he brings a quirky charm to the role, often finding himself in hilariously awkward situations.

When looking back at the show, Scolari said, “We really took a beating in the press, got hammered for it the first few weeks. But when Dustin Hoffman comes out with Tootsie everyone goes, ‘Ooooh, masterpiece.’”

After Bosom Buddies, Scolari became a regular on the show Newhart. Newhart’s character was an innkeeper in Vermont who has a local TV show and Scolari’s character played Newhart’s producer.  Scolari appeared in more than 140 of the show’s 184 episodes, earning three Emmy nominations for his work.

His next memorable role was 20 years after Newhart, when he landed on the HBO series Girls, playing the father of the character portrayed by Lena Dunham. He won an Emmy for that role in 2016. “When people say, ‘I know you; what have I seen you in?’ I respond, ‘Well, it depends on how old you are,’” says Scolari who has found fame in different stages of his life.

Throughout his life, Scolari also appeared on the stage and in movies, including alongside Tom Hanks in That Thing That You Do. Scolari’s most recent work was in the TV series Evil (2019-2021) when he played the role of Bishop Thomas Marx.

Scolari passed away in 2021 of cancer. He was only 66. Hanks, looking back on his Bosom Buddies costar said, “I don’t know how many people truly do change your life when you cross paths with them, but he and I met, we picked up the scripts and we started screwing around — and I actually thought, ‘Oh, this is it. This is how this works. This is like a hand inside a glove.”

Did you know? Another actor was originally cast opposite Tom Hanks, but he didn’t work out. Scolari landed the role just days before the pilot was shot.

Donna Dixon as Sonny Lumet

Donna Dixon as Sonny Lumet Bosom Buddies Cast
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Donna Dixon portrays Sonny Lumet, a beautiful and intelligent advertising executive who captures Kip's heart. Sonny is depicted as independent and career-driven, providing a strong foil to Kip and Henry's antics.

Of landing the role on Bosom Buddies, Dixon said, “It was a cattle call for days. They finally gave 60 of us screen tests -- it was my first -- and from that offered 10 contracts. I got one of them." Once she landed the role, she experienced fame pretty soon after and had to really watch herself in public saying, "I don't need to make unnecessary mistakes. The only thing I can go by is good instinct. I was in the supermarket and I got recognized, and it hasn't sunk in yet. I get flattered and embarrassed. But you have to push yourself."

Prior to her role in Bosom Buddies, Donna Dixon gained recognition as a model, and won many beauty contests including Miss Virginia and Miss District of Columbia. She had guest appearances in several TV shows like The Love Boat and Margin for Murder, before she landed her big career break on Bosom Buddies.

After that role, she played the role of Allison Hayes in TV series Berrenger's and also appeared in the series Charmed Lives. She then landed in the movie Doctor Detroit (1983) alongside actor Dan Aykroyd and together they appeared in several films together including Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Spies Like Us (1985), The Couch Trip (1988) and Exit to Eden (1994). Dixon and Aykroyd married and have three daughters.

Dixon also played the role of “dream woman” in Wayne's World (1992) and had appearances in Nixon (1995) and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014). Her most recent role was on an episode of the The Twilight Zone (2020).

In 2022 Dixon and Aykroyd separated after almost 40 years of marriage. The couple said, "After 39 years as a couple we are now on separate life paths. We remain legally married, co-parents, co-workers and business partners.”

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Holland Taylor as Ruth Dunbar: Bosom Buddies

Holland Taylor as Ruth Dunbar
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Holland Taylor portrays Ruth Dunbar, the stern yet compassionate manager of the all-female Susan B. Anthony Hotel. Ruth serves as a mentor figure to Kip and Henry, often providing sage advice amidst the chaos of their double lives. Of the show, Taylor recalls, “I can say I absolutely knew Tom Hanks was going to be an enormous star in our first rehearsal.”

Prior to that role, Taylor spent 15 years on stage, both on and off Broadway. Then she landed roles in shows like Beacon Hill and The Edge of the Night, before being cast in Bosom Buddies. After the show Taylor continued to land regular roles on TV series including Two and a Half Men, The Practice, and Mr. Mercedes. She also appeared in the miniseries Hollywood. Taylor also appeared in dozens of movies including Romance the Stone, The Bill and Ted franchise, Legally Blond and The Wedding Date.

Most recently she starred as Cybil Richards in the popular Apple TV series The Morning Show, which stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Taylor has been in a relationship with actress Sarah Paulson, the American Horror Story star, since 2015. When talking about their busy schedules, Taylor said, "Both of us normally have to travel for work, have constantly been filming, always leaving a bag halfway packed in the foyer at our house. Of course, Sarah and I didn't need to be brought closer together. We have a very tight, close relationship within each other's thoughts. We share everything that's going on."

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Wendie Jo Sperber as Amy Cassidy

Wendie Jo Sperber as Amy Cassidy Bosom Buddies Cast
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Wendie Jo Sperber portrays Amy Cassidy, a bubbly and optimistic coworker of Kip and Henry at the advertising agency. Amy's infectious enthusiasm adds levity to the show's comedic moments.

Prior to Bosom Buddies, Sperber had guest appearances in shows like Knots Landing and The Stockard Channing Show. Immediately after Bosom Buddies, Sperber landed the role of Private Stacy Kouchalakas in the TV series Private Benjamin. She also had appearances in dozens of movies including the Bachelor Party and the Back to the Future franchise (as Linda McFly). Her most recent appearances was in the American Dad TV series.

Sperber passed away in 2005 of breast cancer. She was only 46.

Telma Hopkins as Isabelle Hammond: Bosom Buddies

Telma Hopkins as Isabelle Hammond
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Telma Hopkins portrays Isabelle Hammond, a no-nonsense tenant of the Susan B. Anthony Hotel who becomes an unexpected ally to Kip and Henry in their ruse. Isabelle's sharp wit and quick thinking make her a memorable presence in the series.

Prior to Bosom Buddies Hopkins appeared in the TV series A New Kind of Family. After Bosom Buddies, she landed the role of Addy Wilson in Gimme a Break! she appeared in 68 episodes of the hit series. She also landed the role of Dolores Dixon in the TV show Getting By before landing the part of Rachel Crawford on Family Matters, then Phyllis Thorne in Half & Half. She also appeared as Marilyn Are We There Yet? and in the TV series The Casagrandes. Most recently she was in the TV series That Girl Lay Lay (2024).

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