Al Molinaro passed away at the age of 96, in a California Hospital on October 30. Hollywood Life, October 30, 2015, reported that Al’s son, Michael, confirmed his passing. Al suffered from severe gallstones, but he decided not to undergo surgery because of his age. Al was best remembered for his role as Al Delvecchio, a chef who worked in Al’s diner, but as the series progressed, he became the owner of the diner on the show “Happy Days” from 1974 to 1984. He also played the same role in the spin-off show of “Joanie Loves Chachi” in 1982. Al co-starred along with other great actors like Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, Marion Ross, Scott Baio, Pat Morita, Tom Bosley, Don Most, Erin Moran, and Anson Williams.
Al began acting when he played the role of Officer Murray Greshler on “The Odd Couple.” He also went on to star in numerous other great TV shows like, “The Family Man,” “Step by Step,” “The Love Boat,” “Punky Brewster,” “Freaky Friday,” “The Ugly Family” and Buddy Holly.” Al also did at least 42 commercials, many of them for Mr. Big napkins and paper towels. He also started an autobiographical book which contained stories about his Kenosha childhood and his experiences in acting. He had nine brothers and sisters who also did very well for themselves. His brother, Joseph, was Kenosha County’s longest-serving district attorney and George served a long time as the state representative in the Wisconsin assembly.
ImDb reports that Al was noted for his two quotes. The first one was on his Hollywood career. He said, “I spent twenty years here before I got anything going, and from that I got lucky. It takes a lot of luck in show business too. You’ve just got to be lucky and in the right place at the right time.” His other favorite saying on his hometown of Kenosha: “I love that town; I love it. If it wasn’t that I left it for show business, I’d still be there today.”
Al joined forces with Anson Williams and opened a chain of diners called Big Al’s in 1987 throughout the Midwest. Even though Al loved acting, he remained true to himself and his beliefs when he declined movie roles offered to him by Garry Marshall. Al said at the time, “I can’t work in movies with Garry because I’m so square that I won’t be in a movie that has four-letter words in it. . . . That puts me pretty much totally out of films these days. . . . You get to a point where you don’t want to do just anything for the career. You gotta live with yourself. (“Young Doctors in Love”), but I started reading the scene . . . and I stopped. He said, `You can`t do it, can you?` I told him, `I don`t want to do a movie that I couldn`t watch with my mother if she were still alive.` I know it sounds corny, but that`s the way I am. I don`t condemn anybody who does those kinds of films. . . . But you get to a point where you don`t want to do just anything for the career. You gotta live with yourself.“
Al leaves behind his second wife Betty Farrell and his son Michael. Our thoughts and prayers are with Al’s family, friends, and fans. He never seemed to change and he will always be loved and be remembered by many.