'Welcome Back, Kotter' Star Ron Palillo Dies at 63

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Ron Palillo, who played oddball student Arnold Horshack in the 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, died Tuesday morning at his home near Palm Beach, Fla., The Palm Beach Post reports.

The newspaper cites confirmation from a friend of the actor, who was 63.

Palillo was best known for his role as catchphrase-generating high school class clown Horshack -- one of the Sweathogs -- in Welcome Back, Kotter, which ran on ABC from 1975-79 and also starred John Travolta and Gabe Kaplan.

His other TV credits include guest appearances on The Love Boat, Cagney & Lacey and The A-Team, as well as voice roles on '90s-era animated series such as Darkwing Duck. In 2002, he took on Saved the Bell actor Dustin Diamond in a match for the show Celebrity Boxing 2 that resulted in Diamond's victory.

Palillo, who was born in Chelshire, Conn., studied Shakespeare at the University of Connecticut and later taught acting classes at the G-Star Academy in Palm Springs, Fla.

Cause of death is not yet determined, according to the Palm Beach Post, which notes that Palillo had not been sick or in the hospital.

Palillo is survived by Joseph Gramm, his partner of 41 years.

 

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