Happy Days Star Al Molinaro Has Died At the Age of 96

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Al Molinaro, Diner Owner on ‘Happy Days,’ Dies at 96.

Molinaro, best known for his role as Al Delvecchio – the owner of Arnold’s Diner on the ABC series – died after suffering several gall stones which he chose not to remove due to his age, Deadline reports.Al Molinaro, an actor who specialized in lovable blue-collar roles and played his Midwestern cadence, penguin-like physique, beaked nose and wayward eyebrows for laughs on the long-running sitcoms “The Odd Couple” and “Happy Days,” died Friday at a hospital in Glendale.

The actor appeared from 1974 to 1984 on the classic ABC show about the Cunningham family and 1950s Milwaukee as the friendly but irritable chef-turned-owner of Arnold’s Drive-in. He left his job as assistant city manager in Kenosha and gradually cobbled together emceeing and other entertainment work, while supporting his family running a collection agency. Set in midcentury Milwaukee, “Happy Days” followed the fortunes of a group of teenagers, chief among them Richie Cunningham (played by Ron Howard) and Arthur Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler), familiarly known as the Fonz. Molinaro’s credits include other period mainstays like “Laverne & Shirley,” “The Love Boat,” “Bewitched,” and “Green Acres.” He also performed in “The Family Man” in 1990 and 1991 and a total of 42 national TV ads, pitching products like Mr. His character, who ran the beanery — originally known as Arnold’s and later called Al’s — where the group congregated, was known for the catchphrase “Yup-yup-yup-yup,” uttered in a world-weary phonetic blur.

Molinaro later said. “You’ve just got to be lucky and in the right place at the right time.” In his case, his luck began with an improvisation class taught by comic actor Harvey Lembeck. He had previously played the hapless policeman Murray Greshler on “The Odd Couple,” starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman, broadcast on ABC from 1970 to 1975. Molinaro left the cast in 1982 – two years before the show’s finale – but continued as “Big Al” in another Marshall production, the short-lived “Happy Days” spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi” starring Scott Baio and Erin Moran. He made his retirement in Glendale, Calif., he told the Kenosha News in 2004. “I spent 20 years here before I got anything going and from that I got lucky,” Molinaro said. “It takes a lot of luck in show business too.

Molinaro said in a phone interview on Friday. “He did not merely play a cop walking the beat on ‘The Odd Couple.’ He used to walk the streets of New York City and loved it.” The son of Rafaele and Teresa Molinaro, immigrants from Italy, Albert Francis Molinaro was born on June 24, 1919, in Kenosha, Wis. For one episode, Felix and Oscar find him in a New York park at night, dressed in drag for a special assignment to arrest “shady types.” “This time of night,” Murray explains, “the muggers don’t get a great selection. In high school, from which he took an extra year to graduate, he was barred from extracurricular activities like drama that might have compromised his studies. “It was my fault, not the teachers’,” Mr. He studied acting, landing guest roles in the ’60s and ’70s on sitcoms like “Get Smart,” “Green Acres,” “That Girl” and “Bewitched.” Then, through Penny Marshall, a friend from acting class, Mr.

Molinaro had roles on fleeting shows in the 1980s and early 1990s such as “The Family Man” and “Step By Step.” He also starred in a failed TV pilot called “The Ugily Family” (1982) as the patriarch of an unattractive clan who is constantly correcting mispronunciations of his surname as “ugly.” Mr. In 1990, Molinaro told the Chicago Tribune that Marshall, who went on to direct hit films including “Pretty Woman,” tried unsuccessfully to recruit him for big-screen work. “I can’t work in movies with Garry because I’m so square that I won’t be in a movie that has four-letter words in it,” Mr. Williams a star, began as “My Favorite Orkan,” an episode in Season 5 of “Happy Days.” In it, Richie and the Fonz do cosmic battle with Mork, an alien who turns up in Milwaukee itching for a fight. The episode had “the worst script in the history of ‘Happy Days,’ ” Anson Williams, who played Potsie on the show, later recalled in a television interview. Garry had a part for me in the first movie he made” — the 1982 comedy “Young Doctors in Love” — “but I started reading the scene … and I stopped.

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