Michu Meszaros, Who Played the Alien ALF on TV, Dies at 76

Courtesy of Photofest
Michu Meszaros wore the ALF costume on the NBC sitcom.

The former circus performer and friend of Michael Jackson donned the furry, dog-like costume for the 1980s NBC sitcom.

Michu Meszaros, the 33-inch-tall actor and former circus performer who played the titular alien on the 1980s NBC sitcom ALF, died Monday, his manager confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 76.

Meszaros died at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance, Calif., said manager Dennis Varga. A few days ago, the actor had been found unresponsive in the home in nearby Hawthorne that he shared with Varga.

Meszaros donned the furry, dog-like costume with the big snoot on ALF, which aired for four seasons (1986-90), on a handful of the show's 102 episodes. Most of the time, the extraterrestrial character ALF (an acronym for Alien Life Form) when seen on the series was a puppet piloted by the show's co-creator, Paul Fusco.

Born in a village near Budapest, Hungary, Meszaros started performing in the circus at age 14 and joined Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1973. "He instantly became a circus sensation and mesmerized audiences of all ages," according to his biography on a GoFundMe page that was set up to help pay for his medical expenses.

Michael Jackson saw him perform and they became close friends and appeared together in a Pepsi commercial.

Meszaros and his size 3 shoes also appeared in such films as Waxwork (1988), Big Top Pee-Wee (1988), Warlock: The Armageddon (1993) and Freaked (1993) and on the TV show Dear John.

He became an American citizen in 1990, and there's a very short street in Hawthorne named "Michu Lane" after him.