It's a sad day today as word has come in that iconic television actor and Laverne & Shirley star David Lander has passed away. According to his wife, Kathy, Lander died on Friday at around 6:30 p.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. His passing comes as a result of complications from multiple sclerosis, which the actor had been battling for 37 years. Kathy, along with the couple's daughter Natalie and her husband, were at David's bedside when he died at the age of 73 years old.
Lander was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 22, 1947. He was quick to discover his calling, realizing he wanted to be an actor by the age of 10. Lander would study acting at the High School for the Performing Arts and later continued his education at Carnegie Tech and New York University. While taking acting classes, he met fellow actor Michael McKean, and the two developed the characters of Lenny and Squiggy. In character, Lander and McKean would later release an album as Lenny and the Squigtones in 1979.
Lenny and Squiggy also both famously appeared on the comedy series Laverne & Shirley from 1976 to 1982. The two were friends and neighbors of the lead characters, and several decades later, the characters are among the most memorable personalities in sitcom history. Lander would also appear as Squiggy on Happy Days, and along with McKean, Lenny and Squiggy would be featured in Steven Spielberg's movie 1941 and the Kurt Russell movie Used Cars. McKean and Lander later voiced the penguin cousins Henry and Louie on the animated series Oswald.
On Twitter, McKean has addressed the passing of his friend and collaborator by sharing an old photo of himself alongside Lander. Fellow actor Mark Hamill responded to the tweet by writing, "Awful news. He will be missed. I'll never forget how I nearly injured myself laughing when I first saw you guys in the Credibility Gap. Thanks for that."
Lander has also appeared in numerous other television shows. Along with showing up as Squiggy on Happy Days, other shows to feature Lander include The Bob Newhart Show, Barney Miller, Married... with Children, Twin Peaks, Mad About You, Pacific Blue, The Drew Carey Show, and The Weird Al Show. He also had roles in the movies A League of Their Own, Say It Isn't So, and Christmas with the Kranks.
Additionally, Lander worked prolifically as a voice actor. He voiced "Doc Boy" Arbuckle, Jon Arbuckle's brother, in most animated adaptations of Garfield. He also voiced Smart Ass, the chief wesel of Judge Doom's Toon Patrol in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Some of Lander's other voice credits include A Bug's Life, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Galaxy High, and reprising his role as an animated Squiggy in The Simpsons.
Lander documented his decades-long battle with multiple sclerosis in his 2002 memoir Fall Down Laughing: How Squiggy Caught Multiple Sclerosis and Didn't Tell Nobody. He also worked as the Goodwill Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.