Al Molinaro, who starred as “Big Al” Delvecchio in the popular sitcom Happy Days, has died in California.
Between 1976 and 1982, he appeared as the owner of Arnold’s Drive-in, where the main characters on the show would gather, such as Richie Cunningham (played by Ron Howard) and Arthur Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler). The Fonz’s “office” was located in the restaurant’s bathroom.
Molinaro was born in Wisconsin on June 24, 1919 to Italian parents. He had trouble as a student, and worked his way to Hollywood during the 1950s. He appeared in numerous other shows. He started as a policeman in “The Odd Couple” and became famous for television commercials, such as Mr. Big toilet paper and On-Cor frozen dinners.
Molinaro met Robin Williams in an improv class. During that class, he suggested that Williams should fill in for an “alien role” on Happy Days’ episode “My Favorite Orkan.” That last-minute decision was so successful, that the story line became the show “Mork and Mindy.”
Henry Winkler, who played The Fonz, posted this on Twitter:
AL Molinaro was a gentle soul. Very thoughtful and funny . He will be greatly missed https://t.co/2mc9H9WIk3
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) November 1, 2015
Mr. Molinaro’s survivors include his son; his second wife, Betty Molinaro; and three grandchildren.
— Scott Baio (@ScottBaio) October 31, 2015
Let us pray for Al Molinaro’s family at this difficult time. Thank you for all the laughs, and RIP Al Molinaro.