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Al Molinaro, who played Al Delvecchio, the owner of Arnold’s Drive-In, on the popular ABC sitcom Happy Days, died Thursday in a Wisconsin hospital, according to TMZ. He was 96.
Molinaro’s son confirmed the actor’s death to TMZ, saying that he had gallstones and elected not to have a surgical procedure because of his age.
Molinaro also was known for portraying Murray the Cop, the poker-playing buddy to Tony Randall’s Felix Unger and Jack Klugman’s Oscar Madison, on an earlier ABC sitcom, The Odd Couple, co-created by Garry Marshall from the Neil Simon play.
A native of Kenosha, Wis., Molinaro joined Happy Days — also created by Marshall — in 1974 for its second season, and his character eventually took over the diner from Pat Morita, who had played Arnold (and left for his own sitcom). Molinaro then played Al on the ABC spinoff sitcom Joanie Loves Chachi.
In 1994, Molinaro reprised the role of Al yet again, this time for Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” video (directed by Spike Jonze), with the band performing at the drive-in.
He also had a regular role on the 1990–91 CBS sitcom The Family Man.
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