Al Molinaro, the loveable character actor who was known to millions of TV viewers for playing Murray the cop on “The Odd Couple” and malt shop owner Al Delvecchio on “Happy Days,” died Friday at Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale of complications due to gallstone problems, his son Michael Molinaro said. He was 96.
Here is Al on Happy Days, the 1974-1984 nostalgic sitcom about 1950s life that starred Ron Howard and Henry Winkler. Molinaro joined the cast in 1976, replacing Pat Morita as the owner of Arnold’s Drive-In, and remained until 1982.
Molinaro came to acting late in life. He had a brief teenage stint as a clarinet player with a band, then worked at a variety of jobs after graduating high school. He moved to California in the early 1950s on casual advice from a friend who suggested he pursue acting.
Molinaro built on his “Happy Days” success for years after he left the show. He brought the character of Al to “Joanie Loves Chachi,” a short-lived “Happy Days” spinoff that aired from 1982-83. In 1987, he and Anson Williams, who played Potsie on “Happy Days,” started Big Al’s, a Midwestern diner chain.
SOURCES: CTV, Daily News, YouTube
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