Big Al Delvecchio Molinaro of Happy Days Dead at 96

He was a fan of the Fonz and Weezer, and for that we are grateful.

Al Molinaro, better known as Big Al Delvecchio, the owner of Arnold’s drive-in on Happy Days, died at the age of 96 last week. He is survived by his wife, Betty, son Michael, and millions of fans.

Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Monlinaro’s father was a tavern/restaurant owner who helped Italian immigrants come to the United States. Al Molinaro himself ventured to California in the early 1950s, first finding success with a collection agency business he built from the ground up before selling the firm to go into real estate, according to Molinaro’s Wikipedia page.  He landed his first acting job on sitcoms including BewitchedGet SmartGreen Acres and That Girl, before meeting Penny Marshall in an improv class. She introduced him to her brother, Garry Marshall, which led to Molinaro’s role as police officer Murray Greshler on The Odd Couple. He joined the cast of Happy Days in 1976 and remained there until 1982, when Marshall switched him over to the show’s spinoff, Joanie Loves Chachi.

And for those who might’ve wondered, it really was him reprising his role of Arnold in the Weezer video for “Buddy Holly” back in 1994.

 

 

 

 

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