Welcome Back, Kotter: Ron Palillo Dies, Goodbye Horshak

Actor Ron Palillo diesActor Ron Palillo has passed away suddenly at the age of 63. He died at his Florida home early this morning, according to his friend Stacy Sacco. Jacqueline Stander, an agent for Palillo, told NBC that the actor had a heart attack and passed away in his sleep.

He was best known for playing “Sweathog” Arnold Dingfelder Horshak on the hit TV series Welcome Back, Kotter. The show aired from 1975-79 on ABC and featured a young John Travolta as well as Gabe Kaplan, Marcia Strassman, John Sylvester White, Robert Hegyes, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, Melonie Haller, and Stephen Shortridge.

Patillo had other supporting TV roles over the years and provided voices in various animated TV series like Laverne and Shirley in the Army and Darkwing Duck. He also had starring roles in musical productions like Amadeus, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? and Guys and Dolls.

In addition to acting, Palillo was also an artist and provided illustrations for two children’s books and wrote a play based around Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie.

Born in Connecticut in 1949, Palillo had been teaching acting classes at G-Star School of the Arts, a charter school in Palm Springs, Florida for about three years. He is survived by his partner of 41 years, retired actor Joseph Gramm.

What do you think? What are your memories of Ron Palillo and his work?

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4 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Stever says

    Wow…Juan Epstein and Horshack both dead in the same year. Gee, I wonder if they have John Travolta on a suicide watch…

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