Max Wright has passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 75-years old. Wright lived in Hermosa Beach and passed away at his home today after first being diagnosed with lymphoma in 1995. The actor had been in remission for a number of years and was still working. His wife, Linda Ybarrondo, who he had been married to since 1965, passed away from breast cancer in 2017. Wright is best-known for playing Willie Tanner on the hit 80s sitcom ALF.
Working on ALF was not exactly the best experience for the cast and Max Wright was not a huge fan of the show. "It was hard work and very grim," Wright once said about acting opposite a furry alien. While the show wasn't that great to work on, it brought Wright widespread fame as he played the straight man to the zany alien from Melmac. "I was hugely eager to have it over with," reflected Wright after the show lasted for four seasons.
Max Wright also appeared on Norm, The Drew Carey Show, Misfits of Science, Mad About You, Quantum Leap, Friends, Hart to Hart, and many more. Wright also starred in movies including All That Jazz, Reds, The Sting II, Soul Man, and The Shadow. With that being said, the actor really enjoyed his work on the stage. Wright received a Tony nomination for Best Actor in 1998 for his role as Pavel Lebedev in Ivanov, and he later appeared on Broadway in The Cherry Orchard. However, it was hard to get out from the shadow of ALF, since the show became a cult hit over the years. He also had a role in the original production of The Great White Hope at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
Max Wright was born August 2nd, 1943 in Detroit, Michigan. He started his acting career in the late 1960s and worked steadily throughout the rest of his life. Though ALF wasn't something the actor enjoyed all that much, he brought a lot of people joy by playing Willie Tanner. Plus, looking back, the premise for the show is pretty far out and was troubled behind-the-scenes. The network really had no idea what to make of it, but thanks to Wright's performance as the social worker and father of the Tanner family, the show started to come together.
"ALF was funny and full of invention. His movement was so expressive that once I actually could see the puppet blush," said Max Wright. After the series came to a close in 1990, the actor was in a tough spot and ended up quitting some jobs due to some personal problems. Wright even admitted to getting fired from a few gigs after his run on ALF. His lymphoma diagnosis in 1995 was another setback. Thankfully, he was able to overcome everything and end up with a Tony nomination. TMZ was the first to report on Wright's death. Rest In Peace, Max Wright.