ByTommy DePaoli, writer at
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Tommy DePaoli

It's a sad day at Arnold's, folks.

Al Molinaro, best known for his role on the classic sitcom Happy Days, passed away on Friday in a California hospital. He was 96 years old. According to his son, he suffered from complications as a result of gall stones, but Molinaro opted not to operate due to his age.

As Big Al Delvecchio, Molinaro became a series regular at the start of Season 4, when he took over Arnold's Drive-In and became a permanent fixture at the gang's favorite hangout. Along with his signature, self-deprecating catchphrases "Yeeep, yep, yep, yep, yep," Al had a special connection to Fonzie, who commonly tinkered with the restaurant's finicky jukebox.

Beyond his Happy Days persona, Molinaro had a pretty fascinating life. He only got into acting at the age of 35, after leaving behind a career in real estate. After improv lessons and guest spots, he landed another beloved role as police officer Murray Greshler on The Odd Couple.

After 146 episodes on Happy Days, Molinaro continued playing Big Al Delvecchio on the spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi. He also became well-known for his commercials for On-Cor frozen foods.

More recently, he appeared in Weezer's video for Buddy Holly, which paid homage to that recognizable malt shop.

While it's always sad to say goodbye to a lovable member of the TV family we grew up with, Molinaro lived a nice, full life and made thousands of people laugh along the way. His legacy lives on in the indelible influence of Happy Days, and his drive-in will always be somewhere we can call home.

(Source: TMZ)


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