Ron Palillo, who played Horshack on the 70s (1975-1979) hit sitcom, Welcome Back, Kotter, (season 1 is on order), died unexpectedly today at his West Palm Beach, Florida home.
Palillo's goofy character, Arnold Horshack, whose snorty horse-laugh masked his academic incliniations, was one of The Sweathogs, four rambunctious, lovable students in a remedial Brooklyn High School class taught by the wry Mr. Kotter (himself a former Sweathog), played by Gabe Kaplan. The other three Sweathogs were:
Vincent "Vinnie" Barbarino, the requisite heartthrob, played by John Travolta whose career took off with this role.
Freddie "Boom Boom" Percy Washington, brought to life by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, was musical and athletic and somewhat of a peacemaker.
Rounding out the quartet was Epstein (Juan Luis Pedro Felipo de Huevos Epstein, the short, tough guy Puerto Rican Jew, forever immortalized by Robert Hegyes.
Palillo, who was 63, died of a massive heart attack.