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Happy Days' Al Molinaro Has Passed Away


Al Molinaro, best known for his long-running role as "Big Al" Delvecchio, has passed away.

The actor passed away on Friday, according to a report on TMZ. Molinaro was 96 years old a the time of his passing. According to his son, Molinaro was suffering from very bad gall stones, but he elected not to have surgery due to his age.

Molinaro's acting career started in the 1950s, but he really found his niche in 1969, when he came to Get Smart to play Agent 44. From then until the mid-1980s, Molinaro was a fixture on television, either in notable guest appearances on shows like The Love Boat and Punky Brewster, or in recurring roles on Green Acres, Happy Days (and its spinoffs) and The Family Man.

Molinaro also had an appearance in It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman, the memorably-awful TV adaptation of the Broadway musical by the same name.

Later in life, Molinaro retired from television and owned a string of diners bearing the "Big Al's" name with one of his Happy Days co-stars. He continued to do some commercial work until the early 2000s but his last truly memorable onscreen appearance was arguably as Big Al in the video for Weezer's "Buddy Holly," in which Molinaro introduced the band.

There are few TV shows that had as much impact on American pop culture as Happy Days. The sitcom ran for ten years on ABC, starting in 1974 and ending in 1984.

One of the most beloved characters on the show was Big Al, who was the chef at the Arnold's drive-in. He was known for his classic way of starting stories with, "Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep."