A theater-trained actor with a strong stage background, Ron Palillo was forever remembered as the charming goofball Arnold Horshack, one of the "Welcome Back, Kotter" (ABC, 1975-79) "Sweathogs. " The show and its characters became an integral part of pop culture zeitgeist, inspiring a lucrative line of merchandise and a mania to imitate the beloved characters' catchphrases, including Palillo's distinctive Horshack mannerisms. As with many actors who create characters so popular they are eventually eclipsed by them, Palillo spent the rest of his career attempting to escape Horshack's shadow with little success in genre projects like "Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI" (1986), a slew of voiceover roles and even plastic surgery. He poked fun at his career woes with a fun recurring role as himself on "Ellen" (ABC, 1994-98) and a bout with "Saved by the Bell" star Dustin Diamond - seen by many as his successor of sorts - who gave him two black eyes on the exploitative "Celebrity Boxing" (Fox, 2002). Instead, Palillo turned his focus to stage work, teaching drama and illustrating children's books, living quietly in Florida with his partner until his death from a heart attack on Aug. 14, 2012. Although he chafed at times under the weight of being reduced to a pop culture punchline, Ron Palillo created a character who still resonated with audiences decades later - a testament to the chops, tenacity and likability of the actor who made it all possible.