Wolfgang Amadeus Horshack
August 14, 2012 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Ron Palillo, known for his role on Welcome Back, Kotter, has died at the age of 63. In addition to later guest appearances on television, he performed in a number of theater productions as Mozart, the burglar in PS Your Cat is Dead, and other stereotype-breaking roles. In his later years, he tried his hand at fashion design and worked in Palm Beach county in Florida, teaching at a local acting school.
posted by tilde (51 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
.
posted by jquinby at 9:58 AM on August 14, 2012


.
posted by Aquaman at 10:01 AM on August 14, 2012


.
posted by cazoo at 10:03 AM on August 14, 2012


Aw, Horshack. I really liked him.

.
posted by MissySedai at 10:04 AM on August 14, 2012


Dammit

.
posted by eoden at 10:05 AM on August 14, 2012


Up mortality's nose with a rubber hose.

.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:06 AM on August 14, 2012 [16 favorites]


.
posted by hal9k at 10:06 AM on August 14, 2012


I saw him perform as Ali Hakim, the Persian peddler, in a production of Oklahoma!, of all things. Both my wife and I were tickled that Horshack was performing for us.

.
posted by Curious Artificer at 10:07 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fuck. A 63 year old Sweathog? That's insane.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:07 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


He couldn't be held back a year?
posted by hal9k at 10:10 AM on August 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Both he and Bob "Epstein" Hegyes died of heart attacks this year. :(
Palillo's unresponsive body was discovered by his partner of 41 years, Joseph Gramm, at 4 a.m, and was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, a close friend of the actor told TMZ.com.


.
posted by zarq at 10:13 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


.
posted by mph at 10:14 AM on August 14, 2012


Aw man, my buddies always thought it was funny that I liked Horshack best.

I hope his life was as nice as it sounds like it was.

.
posted by Cosine at 10:30 AM on August 14, 2012


.

And a hug for his partner. 41 years? Damn. That's says something special about the guy right there.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:31 AM on August 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


.
posted by annsunny at 10:50 AM on August 14, 2012


.
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:51 AM on August 14, 2012


Ooh ooh ooh ooh
posted by fungible at 10:52 AM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Horshack was my grandma's favorite Sweathog.

.
posted by palomar at 10:53 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:57 AM on August 14, 2012


.
posted by postel's law at 10:58 AM on August 14, 2012


palomar: "Horshack was my grandma's favorite Sweathog. "


Horshack was everybody's grandma's favorite Sweathog. Mine too.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:59 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fuckin A. First Epstein and now Horshack. Look out Vinnie!
posted by symbioid at 11:04 AM on August 14, 2012


Just me and the Grans, great!
posted by Cosine at 11:06 AM on August 14, 2012


True confession: For a few months in high school, I wore a long skinny scarf because Horshack wore one and I thought it looked cool.

I was wrong, but I loved that show, and loved Horshack.
posted by The Deej at 11:09 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


don't worry, Cosine, my grandma's a salty old broad. you're in good company.
posted by palomar at 11:19 AM on August 14, 2012


.

I had a "Welcome Back, Kotter" lunch box in elementary school.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:29 AM on August 14, 2012


Damn! Is everyone from this show going to die this year?

I was never a huge fan of the show, but I really liked the theme song a lot.
posted by freakazoid at 11:36 AM on August 14, 2012


Is it too soon to be start talking about a Travolta curse?

If this were Murder, She Wrote, though, I'd seriously look at Marcia Strassman as the prime suspect.
posted by inturnaround at 11:55 AM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:03 PM on August 14, 2012


Somebody make sure Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs is in good health. Quick.
posted by eoden at 12:16 PM on August 14, 2012


RIP

Hearing someone say their grandmother had a favorite Sweathog has made me feel very old.
posted by davebush at 12:40 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


He was my favorite Sweathog, and I actually had a bit of a crush on him. That laugh....none like it.

This feels like the final nail in the coffin of my youth, to tell the truth.


.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:55 PM on August 14, 2012


Ah, I didn't look on TMZ, thanks for the link, zarq.

Tried to include an ascii scarf (fail!).

I've got the theme song stuck in my head, and probably will for a long time, since the top of every page here says:

welcome back tilde




.
posted by tilde at 1:05 PM on August 14, 2012


A tilde *is* an ASCII scarf.
posted by eoden at 1:08 PM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


A tilde *is* an ASCII scarf.

Holy crap I never thought of that. Mods, can you please replace my . with ~ ?

Thanks.
posted by tilde at 1:10 PM on August 14, 2012


He achieved pop culture immortality--I heard a rap song from just a few years ago in which one of the rappers made reference to watching the audience "throw their hands up like Horshack".

.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:16 PM on August 14, 2012


Awww, he was my favorite sweathog. I remember back in high school English we were reading The Tempest and my teacher showed us a filmed theater performance he appeared in. I haven't thought of Shakespeare the same since.
posted by fishmasta at 2:57 PM on August 14, 2012


The cattle are dying, indeed.
posted by rocket88 at 3:00 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ron graduated from UCONN, which was right up the street from my childhood home. When I was a kid, he came back to UNCONN to perform in PS You Cat is Dead as a burglar taken hostage by a man having the worst day of his life. At one point, the burglars jeans are cut off him. My babysitter's son worked back stage on the production and Ron gave him a pair of cut jeans signed with the phrase "don't take any wooden nickels." when I heard the news just now, I got weepy because I felt a real connection to him because he was kind enough to do things like that. He was my favorite before (not uncommon in storrs as UCONN didn't have any other celebrity alums) but really my favorite after that. Even if that one role limited him, it meant a lot to me and I'm sure lots of other people.

I shall now seek out yarn for an appropriate tribute scarf.

~ and .
posted by miss-lapin at 3:59 PM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mark Evanier (WBK writer) has some memories...
posted by wittgenstein at 4:40 PM on August 14, 2012


I hadn't seen WBK for years (okay, decades) but while channel-surfing the other day, I found that an episode was about to start.

I forced my kids (14 & 11) to put down their computer game controllers and ipods and come sit with me and watch it. It was an episode where a hot blonde joins the class and decides she wants to become a Sweathog and the boys are having none of that. A woman as a Sweathog? As if!

My kids absolutely loved it. It was a really nice half an hour, to see them laugh their skinny little butts off.

I was disappointed that Travolta didn't do his bar-bar-bar-bar-Barbarino song & dance in that ep, though.

We need more laughter in our house at the moment, so I'm off to see if we can get a series on DVD.

.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:48 PM on August 14, 2012


My family still has an in-joke that originated in a Welcome Back, Kotter episode. I might hunt down some DVDs as well.
posted by not that girl at 5:52 PM on August 14, 2012


Even as a snotty-nosed kid in suburban Mount Laurel, N.J., which was a loooooooooooong ways away from Brooklyn in the '70s, I identified in some way with all the Sweathogs. But dorky sweet Horshack was probably my favorite.

.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:31 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's great to hear It still holds up. For those looking to watch, the DVDs are available through Netflix and amazon. You can also watching episodes on amazon instant video (for those of you with roth boxes etc). I've got the first season currently at the top of my queue.
posted by miss-lapin at 6:34 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


~
posted by Renoroc at 7:51 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


~
posted by dejah420 at 8:00 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


There was an awful early moment in reality television when some idiot network thought it would be great to have celebrities box each other. So they paired up Ron Palillo and Dustin Diamond. I suppose it made sense to them -- both were the lovable teenage nerds of their respective high school shows. Never mind that Pailio was already somewhere in the vicinity of 50 and Diamond was in his early 20s. And never mind that Diamond, perhaps in response to his nerdy onscreen characterization, is a black belt in karate and had beefed up into a no-necked monster.

Diamond killed him. Here's the video, but it's only worth watching if you want to see something sad and terrible. I watched it and I thought, there it is. That's the entertainment industry. Both these guys put in years of their lives, and undeniably contributed hugely to the popularity of their shows. And both were sort of left to twist after their shows ended. And when the industry want them again, and what do they want them as? Meat, to pummel each other on live television for whatever questionable entertainment value sadistic audiences might get from seeing a kid tear apart an older man.

I'm glad Palilo went on to find some love and work that seems to have been meaningful to him. I imagine his post Kotter years were tremendously frustrating. Dustin Diamond released a sex tape and later sold t-shirts online to try to save his house.

At least we'll always have Palillo's version of Pulp Fiction.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:31 PM on August 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


.
posted by mike3k at 11:04 PM on August 14, 2012


.
posted by litlnemo at 3:22 AM on August 15, 2012


That fourth season was so tragic. GK said that he suggested that the Sweathogs, who were in their late 20s, should go on to a community college for the fourth season, but was overruled. When I watch that season, which undoubtedly contributed to its cancellation, I still want to scream to the writers, were you out of your frickin' MINDS?!

~
posted by Melismata at 3:11 PM on August 15, 2012


~
posted by dragonplayer at 3:39 PM on August 15, 2012


« Older Party Pom Pom...  |  Drugs have changed a lot in th... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments