Actor Al Molinaro from Happy Days

October 31st, 2015 | by Annie
Actor Al Molinaro from Happy Days

Albert Francis Molinari, was the familiar face to millions serving malts and burgers to Fonz and Richie on the hit tv show Happy Days.  He also played a recurring role as Murray the cop on The Odd Couple. Mr. Molinari died Friday at Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale.

He was 96 when he passed away October 30, 2015 due to gallstones complications, reports his son Michael Molinari.

Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Al began as a traveling performer when a comedy improv class led to his celebrity break. Producer Garry Marshall heard about Molinaro and hired him for the part of police Officer Murray Greshler on The Odd Couple, the TV version of Neil Simon’s play about feuding roommates. It starred Tony Randall as photographer Felix Unger and Jack Klugman as sports writer Oscar Madison and featured Molinaro as one of their buddies, friendly yet absent minded policemen who at times created as much chaos as the bad guys.

1969 – Get Smart – Agent 44

1969-1970 – Green Acres – Al the bellboy

1970-1975  – The Odd Couple tv series

1976 – Freaky Friday – Drapery Man

1976-1984 – Happy Days (starred Ron Howard and Henry Winkler) – as Al Delvecchio

1982-83 – Joanie Loves Chachi, (a Happy Days spinoff) – as Al Delvecchio

1987 – Big Al’s, a Midwestern diner with Potsie (Anson Williams) – as Al Delvecchio

1995 – Buddy Holly music video – Weezer.

1990-1991 – Molinari – grandfather in The Family Man

TV commercials, included On-Cor frozen dinners.

Molinaro came to acting late in life. Beginning as a teenage clarinet player with a big band. Well into middle age he moved to California in the early 1950s on casual advice from a friend who suggested he pursue acting.

His first TV job was in production, when he talked an independent TV station manager into hiring him. Then it was on to TV commercials and ads, including a Los Angeles billboard that featured him in a chef’s cap. The producers of Get Smart spotted it and hired Molinaro to play Agent 44 for a few episodes in 1969. That was followed by guest roles in such sitcoms as Green AcresThat Girl and Bewitched.

Mr. Molinari worked in production at the studios in Hollywood before performing in front of the screen.

Molinari is survived by his son, Michael, from his first marriage. He and his second wife, Betty Farrell, married in 1981.

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