Barbara Eden, who played Jeannie, tweeted praise of Daily as a “funny, sweet man that kept us all on our toes. I’m so thankful to have known and worked with that rascal. Until we meet again Billy.”
According to his son, Daily died on September 4 at his ranch in New Mexico. He appeared on all five seasons of Jeannie, a sitcom that resonated for years thanks to its heavy syndication. In addition to The Bob Newhart Show, he also appeared on Bewitched, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Love American Style, Aloha, Paradise and Starting from Scratch.
Newhart, who knew Daily when both were struggling young aspiring comics in Chicago, also offered a tribute on Twitter. On his show, Newhart recalled, “He was our bullpen guy — you could always go to him. He was one of the most positive people I’ve ever known. I will miss him dearly.”
Of course, many younger people in show business also expressed their admiration from the perspective of viewers whose work would be shaped by Daily’s comedic approach.
Writer-director Paul Feig lauded Daily’s performance on The Bob Newhart Show as “sublime.” When Feig was an actor, he tweeted, “I was probably more influenced by his performing style than any other actor or comedian.”
Comedian Greg Proops was more succinct, tweeting that Daily was “a gift from above.”
Here are the tweets, with several fond photos: