Ron Palillo

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 ... Read more »
Born: 04/02/1949 in Cheshire, Connecticut, USA

Filmography

Actor (16)

Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star 2003 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

I Love the '70s 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Mr. Rhodes 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Ellen 1995 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda 1990 - 1992 (TV Show)

Voice

Wind 1992 (Movie)

Tony (Actor)

Snake Eater 1989 (Movie)

(Actor)

Snake Eater II: The Drug Buster 1989 (Movie)

(Actor)

Hellgate 1988 (Movie)

Matt (Actor)

Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives 1986 (Movie)

Allen Howes (Actor)

Rubik, the Amazing Cube 1983 - 1985 (TV Show)

Voice

Laverne and Shirley With the Fonz 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Voice

Laverne and Shirley in the Army 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Voice

Skatetown, USA 1979 (Movie)

Frankey (Actor)

Welcome Back, Kotter (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

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.

Relationships

Joseph Gramm

Companion

Gabriel Paolillo

Father

Carmel Paolillo

Mother

Richard Paolillo

Brother
Older

Robert Paolillo

Brother
Older

Ann Paolillo

Sister
Older

EDUCATION

University of Connecticut

Storrs, Connecticut

Milestones

2010

Made feature writing debut with "It's a Dog Gone Tale: Destiny's Stand"; also co-starred

2009

Taught drama at G-STAR School of the Arts for Motion Pictures and Broadcasting in Palm Beach, FL

2005

Wrote the play "The Lost Boy" about author J.M. Barrie, which premiered at the Helen Hayes Theatre Company in Nyack, NY

2003

Played himself in "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star"

1999

Directed and co-starred in the stage musical "A Closer Walk" with Patsy Cline in West Palm Beach, FL

1997

Illustrated second children's book <i> A Gift for the Contessa</i> as Ronald Paolillo

1996

Made recurring appearance as himself on "Ellen" (ABC), cast as a love interest for Clea Lewis

1992

Illustrated the children's book <i>The Red Wings of Christmas</i>; credited as Ronald Paolillo, in memory of his late father

1986

Landed featured role in "Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI"

1983

Voiced lead character on animated series "Rubik, the Amazing Cube" (ABC)

1983

Cast as Trinculo in "The Tempest"

1979

Feature film debut, "Skatetown, U.S.A."

1979

Guest starred on "The Love Boat" (ABC)

1975

Made series TV debut on ABC comedy "Welcome Back, Kotter" as class clown Arnold Horshack; popularized the phrase "Ooh ooh ooh, Mr. Kotter"

1973

Moved to NYC; landed role in off-Broadway play "The Hot l Baltimore"

Started his own summer theater in Cheshire, CT at 14

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