Friday, October 30, 2015

Rest in Peace, Al Molinaro

Al Molinaro, best known as "Al", the portly owner of Arnold's Restaurant in Happy Days, has passed away at age 96.

Mr. Molinaro was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He moved to California in the 1950's, starting up a collection agency which he sold at a huge profit. His subsequent investments in real estate made him financially secure enough to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. This led to guest starring roles in shows like Green Acres and That Girl. He struck up a friendship with Penny Marshall, who recommended him to her brother, Garry, who was the biggest sitcom producer at the time. This led to a recurring role on The Odd Couple as Officer Murray. His biggest break would come in 1975 when Pat Morita left Happy Days. Arnold's Restaurant needed a new owner and it found one in the hapless Al, who always seemed to be a step behind the teens who congregated in his restaurant.

After his departure from the world of Happy Days, Al worked sparingly, turning down offers to work on various Garry Marshall films because he was uncomfortable with the use of profanity in films. He officially retired from acting in 1992.