Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ron Palillo of 'Welcome Back, Kotter' dies of heart attack


From ew, Ron Palillo, whose nasally delivery made him one of the most memorable Sweathogs on the 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, died last night in Palm Beach, Fla., suffering a heart attack in his sleep. He was 63.

Beginning in 1975, Palillo was one of the oddball students who tested Mr. Kotter for four seasons on the popular ABC show that also featured Gabe Kaplan and a young John Travolta. His character Arnold Dingfelder Horshack was always the first to raise his hand in class — “Ooo-ooo-oooooh!!” — and his wheezing staccato laugh was a punch line in itself.

In the 1980s, Palillo guested on several popular programs, including The A-Team, CHiPs, and Murder, She Wrote, and in 1996, he played himself on several episodes of Ellen. When acting opportunities became few and far between in 2002, he agreed to get in the ring with Dustin Diamond — a man 28 years his junior — for a bout of Celebrity Boxing billed as Horshack vs. Screech. In recent years, he had popped up on several TV Land nostalgia specials, but he’d found greater joy as an educator, teaching drama at the G-STAR School of the Arts for Motion Pictures and Broadcasting, a charter high school in West Palm Beach.

6 comments:

Johnny Sweatpants said...

That's the 2nd sweathog to die in 2012! (Epstein died earlier this year.) 2012 celebrity deaths are depressing - Andy Griffith, Sherman Hemsley, Robin Gibb, Donna Summer, Adam Yauch, Dick Clark, Davy Jones, Whitney Houston...

AC said...

sad! :(

DCD said...

Bummer! As JSP pointed out, they are dropping like flies this year, crazy.

Crystal Math said...

JSP are you implying we'll soon be living . . . in a world without heroes?

Catfreeek said...

Okay I know this is bad but I wonder if he yelled, "Oooo, Oooo" as he was clutching his chest.

JPX said...

Catfreek, that's just awful, show some respect! Actually, I thought the same thing :)