Al Molinaro, character actor on ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Odd Couple,’ dies at 96

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Al Molinaro, drive-in owner in “Happy Days,” dies at 96.

Al Molinaro, the actor known to millions of television viewers for his roles as the diner owner Al Delvecchio in Happy Days, and Murray the cop in The Odd Couple, has died at the age of 96.

It starred Tony Randall as photographer Felix Unger and Jack Klugman as sports writer Oscar Madison and featured Molinaro as one of their buddies, a simple-minded policeman who at times seemed as much of a threat to his friends as he did to any criminals. He replaced Pat Morita as the owner of Arnold’s Drive-In, with his trademark saying “Yep-yep-yep-yep”, and remained until 1982. “In the industry, they used to consider us like a bubble-gum show,” he said. “But I think they overlooked one thing.

To the public in America, Happy Days was an important show.” Molinaro took his character of Al into the spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi and, in 1987, he and Anson Williams, who played Potsie on Happy Days, started Big Al’s, a Midwestern diner chain. The actor played a grandfather in The Family Man, a sitcom that aired from 1990-91, and continued to make guest appearances on other series through the early 90s.

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