Ron Palillo
{ "" }
Share
Share Ron's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Ron Palillo, who portrayed classroom goofball Arnold Horshack on the 1970s TV series "Welcome Back, Kotter," died at his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., early Tuesday morning, apparently of a heart attack. He was 63.

Mr. Palillo had been teaching acting classes at G-Star School of the Arts, a charter school in Palm Springs, for about three years.

Starring Gabe Kaplan and featuring a hit theme song by John Sebastian, "Welcome Back, Kotter" originally aired on ABC and ran from 1975-79.

Mr. Palillo's character belonged to an unruly group of high school students known as the Sweathogs, a group that included John Travolta as lady's man Vinnie Barbarino, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs as the always cool Freddie "Boom-Boom" Washington and Robert Hegyes as tough Jewish Puerto Rican wheeler-dealer Juan Epstein. Hegyes died in January of an apparent heart attack. He was 60.

Mr. Palillo is survived by his partner of 41 years, Joseph Gramm, a retired actor.


Published in The Record/Herald News on Aug. 15, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
492 entries
June 26, 2020
Sorry I didn't get the chance to say goodbye, ol'friend. May you be basking in the ultimate glory of eternal rest.
Letty Flood
Friend
August 14, 2018
Godspeed Ron, and thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.
Harry Simpson
March 21, 2017
Nazarene Mckinney
September 12, 2015
You made the show, Welcome Back Kotter, not Vinnie Barberino, but YOU!!!! Just was made aware of your passing and it got me reminiscing about the show. I hope your short life was full of joy, love, and truly good friends. My condolences to ALL of your family. Keep them laughing in Heaven, my friend. I'm sure you will always be thought of fondly by millions of fans (many of whom have nasal issues and connect with you lol )!!!! Your face, mannerisms, personality and voice brought about a phenomenal character portrayal. Thank You for giving me hundreds of hours of laughter and happiness. Hugs and God Bless, Monica Bohn, Cleveland, OH.
Monica Anne Bohn
November 27, 2014
To Ron Palillo,
You were a very talented actor. I enjoyed watching you on the sitcom Welcome Back Kotter, and the movie Skatetown USA. My prayers go your family and friends. Lisa Weiner
Lisa Weiner
November 27, 2014
Lisa Weiner
August 14, 2014
I have been watching reruns of Welcome Back Kotter and remember watching them when they were famous. However, I was shocked to discover just today about Ron's passing away. I was shocked and sad to read about this on the 2nd anniversary of his death. I enjoyed him very much and he made me laugh every time he was on the screen. I was wondering what happened to him, but what a horrible way to find out. I shall watch that show tonight with tears in my eyes. Goodbye my dear TV friend.
Tommy Carr
March 4, 2013
Ron I admired you as an actor , I grew up laughing at the things you did on welcome back Kotter you left us all smiling . You were a true super star . You are a legend and will never be forgotten . I am sure you are teaching the angels in heaven how to act . Will miss you
Elena masted to io
January 27, 2013
To Ron Palillo,
You were a great actor. You did a great job playing Arnold Horshack on the sitcom Welcome Back Kotter, You also a great job in the movie Skatetown U.S.A.. My prayers are with your family. Lisa Weiner
Lisa Weiner
November 26, 2012
Dear Ron, you are missed so very much by so many, you were a great actor and a great person and such a wonderful great teacher. We miss you very much, Amanda thinks of you always. RIP
Yolanda Rourke
November 25, 2012
To Ron Palillo,
You were a great actor. You did a great job playing Arnold Horshack on the sitcom Welcome back Kotter. My prayers are with your family and colleagues, Lisa Weiner
Lisa
November 25, 2012
To Ron Palillo,
You were a very good actor. You did a wonderful job performing on the Donny and MArie show and did also did a grea job playing Arnold Horshack on the sitcom Welcome Back Kotter. My prayers are with your family and collegues. Lisa Weiner
November 25, 2012
To Ron Palillo,
You were a very talented actor. You did a great job as Arnold Horshack on the sitcom Welcome back Kotter. You also did a great performing on the Donny and Marie Show. My prayers are with your family and collegues. Lisa Weiner
September 21, 2012
Take comfort in knowing that now you have a special guardian angel to watch over you.
September 20, 2012
Our heart felt condolences to the family and close friends of Ron. For those of us who grew up in the 70's, we remember Ron as Arnold the sweathog that made us all laugh. God bless him.
Doug Cruise
September 20, 2012
Great show, great character,great actor who is very fondly remembered.
C. Williams
August 25, 2012
RIP Mr. Palillo. I know Arnold Horshack type cast you but without him we wouln't have known to love you. Thanks for the laughs.Brenda
Brenda A
August 24, 2012
Ron, May you rest in peace,May God give peace to the family, and to all who knew him. I love all of his shows. I so miss watching him make us laugh. I wish i had the change to meet him. He was a very very good actor. Ron, May you rest in peace, and God Bless his family.
Rolanda Leon Guerrero
August 23, 2012
To Ron's family...My deepest sympathy. Ron lit up my childhood in Kotter and always made me laugh. What a gifted actor. So sorry for your loss.
Anne
August 23, 2012
Dear Ron's Family
So sorry for your loss. I only knew him from TV but he always evoked a warm spot in my heart with his charming portrayal of a sweat hog.
Huey, Dewey & Louie The Duck Brothers
August 22, 2012
Dear ron. Your were my favorite sweat hog. U will be miss. RIP.
Esther Torres
August 22, 2012
you brought much laughter into my life as a child.)ou will be missed.My prayers go to the family .Sincerely ,Selmabattle yahoo
selma bttle
August 22, 2012
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Debbie Blackwell
August 21, 2012
DEAR RON :
I LOVED ALL THE SWEATHOGS AND THE WHOLE SHOW, BUT I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU ! MY CONDOLENCES TO YOUR FAMILY.
BETTYANN CAPOGRECO
August 21, 2012
We are so sorry for the lose of your brother. We are sorry for your lose of his phone calls, visits, holidays together, laughter, smiles, warmth, kindness, and just being your brother, part of your family always there for you. What we want for you now are God's embrace and his quiet voice saying, "I know you miss him but he is here with ME in peace in heaven.
Kathy and Lee
August 21, 2012
I'm so sorry for your loss. I know God will help you through these difficult times. Psalms 46:1
Whitney
August 20, 2012
GOD LOVE YOU, RON PALILLO. REST IN PEACE. YOU WERE A SUPER GREAT TALENTED GUY WITH A SEXY LOOKING SMILE. I LOVE YOU ON ALL OF TALK SHOWS BACK IN THE 1970'S. I HOPE A BOOK COMES OUT ABOUT YOUR LIFE STORY. I WANT IT. MISS YOU FOREVER!! GOD REST YOUR SOUL, RON. IT DON'T SEEM REAL THAT YOU ARE GONE.
EILEEN BYRNE
August 20, 2012
Thanks horshack for all the great memories. It really hurts to see you gone I will always rember you. Rest in peace Ron .
Rick Moitoso
August 20, 2012
Ron brought laughter into our living rooms on "Welcome Back Kotter". He taught humor and acting with love and style to his students at the G Star School in West Palm Beach, FL. I thought that was so cool for an actor to give of his time and talents to future actors. He will be missed by everyone.
Susan Rogers
August 20, 2012
oue deepest sympathy we have all the videos my husband and i enjoy he was funny you will be missed rest in peace
August 20, 2012
oue deepest sympathy we have all the videos my husband and i enjoy he was funny you will be missed rest in peace
lisa notchie
August 20, 2012
I knew Ron as a very generous friend and mentor who avidly encouraged my writing while sharing his own beauutiful art and writing with me. I will miss our chats. Peace and light to Joe.....Michele
August 19, 2012
God bless your family ,Ron was my favorite sweat hog
Erica Fields
August 19, 2012
the memerioes that you have left behind will always be in our hearts.
vera MCconnell
August 19, 2012
you made me smile..thanks for the fun..
j smith
August 19, 2012
I never had the chance to meet Ron, but he was one of my favorite actors.Who else could make a 14 yr old girl ignore her party guests just to see Welcome Back kotter! I had hoped to be a facebook friend of his. To Joe may your memories of Ron comfort you. God bless you. To Ron's friends,family and students God bless you! Praying for you! Forever a fan of Ron palillo!
julie spaine
August 19, 2012
May the applause for your great talent and goodness never end! Wonderful memories of watching Welcome back, Kotter. Thank you for the many laughs and joy.
Robert Sands
August 19, 2012
My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort. God bless and be with you.
Dorothy Crisp
August 19, 2012
My condolences to the family and friends of Ron. To the G-Star staff and students I know he will be truly missed. Special condolences to Joseph who has been such a big part of Ron's life for so long. Horshack was just a small part of the exceptional life he led. He was inspiration for so many and blessed to have so many people around him that loved him. Feel comfort in the fact that his spirit will always be with you and he is watching over you from a beautiful, wondrous place.
Sarah
August 19, 2012
May Our good Lord keep you in peace. You will be missed and were taken too soon.
Sue
August 19, 2012
R.I.P. RON!!
Linda Drummond
August 18, 2012
May you Rest In Peace. God Bless.
Judy McQueen
August 18, 2012
I GREW UP WITH WELCOME BACK CARTER. I LOOKED FOWARD TO THE SHOW. WELL THANKS FOR ALL THE LAUGHS. MAY GOD BLESS THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND ALL THE VIEWERS.....
jennefer
August 18, 2012
I grew up watching every episode of Welcome Back Kotter with my family. We all loved Ron's portrayal of Horseshack...God rest your soul Ron. You were great! Keep them laughing in the heavenly world!! You will be missed!!!!
Marcy Fruchter
August 18, 2012
karla pegues
August 18, 2012
R.i.p.
Teresa Brice
August 18, 2012
Dear Joe, my thoughts are with you in this saddest of times. I met you and Ron in the summer of 1977 at Lakewood Theater in Maine. We all hit it off right away and had laughs every night for the week you were there. In the Fall of that year, Ron flew me out to Hollywood to spend a week with him and you at the house on Hollywood Blvd. What a memory. We stayed in touch for many years after that and I visited again a few times. Ron was a wonderful, caring man and it was my honor to call him a friend. I will always have fond memories of both of you.
Laura McGerigle
August 18, 2012
It's people like you who make us stop and realize how much God spoils us. Thank you for sharing your talents. RIP
D Underwood
August 18, 2012
To Joe, The staff and students at G-Star and other friends and family... for those of us who were fortunate enough to have been graced by Ron's light and love...we will miss his laugh, his words of encouragement, his wit & humor... but he will live in our hearts forever... remember always...
Joy Melegari-Bryson
August 18, 2012
Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.
Brunson'
August 18, 2012
'Welcome Back Kotter' was one of my favorte shows, and of course, Ron one of my favorite characters. It is with sadness that I extend my condolonces. God's Word promises peace and may this peace sustain the Family.
- Renee, Atlanta, GA -
August 18, 2012
Ron and Bobby together again R.I.P. Thanks
Eddie P
August 18, 2012
Rest in peace Ron. The Good Lord needed your talent in heaven. Welcome Back Kotter was a funny show that gave my family lots of laughter.
August 18, 2012
Love You
Regina Bell
August 17, 2012
Thank you Ron for all the laughter you have given us through the years. My condolences to the Palillo family. May you rest in peace.
Annmarie Blanc
August 17, 2012
Thanks for MANY great childhood memories of laughter watching Welcome Back Kotter episodes. Arnold Horshack will forever be remembered. May you R.I.P. always. Jah bless you and your entire family !!!
Rhonda Harris
August 17, 2012
To The Family Of Ron Palillo,

My Prayers are with you. Ron was one of the funniest Characters on Welcome Back Kotter. I loved the way he laughed on the show.
May he rest in forever peace. May God give you peace and strength to go on. I know deep in my heart Ron will be watching over you. So long Horshack, we'll see you again someday.

Julie Michalski
Julie Michalski
August 17, 2012
Ron was a year brhind me at Cheshire High but we shared a love for the art class and ended up hanging out there often. He was always funny and always sweet. I am honored to have been his friend. He went on to spread so much joy on TV and even more in his teaching. The world is lessened by his passing. We love you Ron and many many will miss you ... see you again some day!
Patricia Chapman Ulin
August 17, 2012
Thank You for all the entertaining hours that you had provided for Me and my family. God bless you and your Family.
Ruth Johnson
August 17, 2012
I worked on the Cheshire High School newspaper with Ron. I'll miss his wit, his smile and talent! The first year Kotter was on t.v. I was a first year teacher. All of my students wrote Ron notes. He wrote every single student a personal note in reply. My condolences and prayer are with his family.
Ruth Spears
August 17, 2012
Ron you are a great man, your kindness and your love for teaching was a gift to many. Thank you being a friend, You made such a difference in so many people and in so many students that Thank you a million times is not enough. My grand daughter Amanda Marie loves you just like so many others love you and always will. God called you much to soon and by taking you he broke many hearts. You gave the world so much and so many laughs you will never be forgotton. We all love you. bye for now Ron.
Yolanda Rourke
August 17, 2012
I did several theater productions with Ronnie in high school. He was very creative and fun to be with. We laughed a lot.
Claudia Byron Christmann
August 17, 2012
To Ron Palillo,
You so funny as Arnold Horshack on the sitcom Welcome back Kotter, The love Boat,. Etc. My prayers are with your family. Thank you for the memories of laughter, I will always remember you Mr. Palillo. Lisa Weiner
August 17, 2012
You brougt much laughter to a lot of people, that is your legacy.
Thank You
Epsteins Mother
August 17, 2012
Rest In Peace
August 17, 2012
Be at peace now Ron. I remember you so well from the Welcome Back Kotter show. You gave me and countless others many, many laughs. You were a good natured soul. I hope your partner will draw from his life with you all the many, many wonderful memories you created together. May God rest your soul.
August 17, 2012
Gone far too soon, Ronnie. Thanks for the wonderful memories-the Blackfriars plays, Ramicabana, UConn Drama productions. You will be missed. You were a kind, thoughtful, intelligent and very funny man. We will miss you!
Nancy Dasilva
August 17, 2012
GOOD BYE REST IN PEACE
GEORGE A FAN
August 17, 2012
Thank you for all the wonderful memories, you gave us. May you find eternal peace. God keep your family in his loving care.
C James
August 17, 2012
I loved this show and the way he always said ooooooo you will be miss god bless
lucy Feliciano
August 17, 2012
R.I.P. Ron
You brought a lot of laughs.
God Bless
Elsie Sciabbarrasi
August 17, 2012
Although I never met this talented special young man in person, always felt I did know him personally by his wonderful portrayal of Arnold Horshack bringing so many funny happy memories! To Cindy, your Uncle must have made your days - multiple times with all his antics, on & off the screen! Our thoughts & prayers to your families! Maryanne, John, Susan & Carole Conlan
Carole Conlan
August 17, 2012
Those were the days of good old TV shows. There is nothing today that even compares to shows like Welcome Back Kotter with all their individual personalities and those were the days back with the Sweathogs and Horseshack and Mr. Kot-tear.
MC S
August 17, 2012
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. Thank you so much for your talents and laughter! We all wanted to be "sweathawgs"
beemer
August 17, 2012
I watched this show when I was a teenager and without cable etc... He put a lot into portraying his role and I am sad to hear of his passing. I hope he lived his life to the fullest after the show and realized that sometimes things always work for the best.
Frank Strother
August 17, 2012
Ron,

For so many moments of happiness that you gave us all, may you rest in peace. To your family and friends, may God give you the strength to endure during this time.
Reena Buchanan
August 17, 2012
Thank you for all the memories. You will never be forgotten. May you rest in peace. God bless your family during this difficult time.
Frances Hughes
August 17, 2012
I remember getting a necklace for my birthday Horseshack for president good memories
lisa scanlan
August 17, 2012
You Were One-Of-A-Kind Arnold Horshack!
Ron, thank you for the memories & laughter & for being a wonderful part of my life growing up in WPB. God Bless, Rest In Peace. My prayers are with your family & friends in their time of sorrow.
Katie Wood
August 17, 2012
Terese McDaniel
August 17, 2012
Thank You for all the good times my best friend & I had growing up watching you. You made us laugh to our bellys hurt. Rest In Peace our Friend
Kathy Larrivee
August 17, 2012
To the family, friends and fans of Ron and the character he betrayed so well. Our deepest sympathies to you. Grew up watching "Welcome Back".God bless.
Marcus Rhaney
August 17, 2012
To the family, use God as your refuge and strength to endure this troublesome time.(Psalms 46:1)
August 17, 2012
To become a character so unforgettable...that is a legacy. My thoughts and prayers are with the family knowing that comfort will come from our Heavenly Father. God bless you.
Tina Penrod
August 17, 2012
Thanks for sharing your loved one with us. So sorry that he has left this life so early God Bless your family during this trying time.
Candace Hart
August 17, 2012
Thanks for the laughs!
August 17, 2012
What joy you brought to us all...
August 17, 2012
God Bless, Thanks for making us laugh along with you with your special laugh, and for being a great person and giving so much to the world. A life well lived.
R Cramer
August 17, 2012
So funny, RIP
Sandra hall
August 17, 2012
My condolences to the family of Ron Palillo...Ron was a truly talented funny man that made me as well as the world laugh R.I.P.
Cathy Johnson
August 17, 2012
Thank you for being a part of my childhood memories, may you Heart & Soul R.I.P!!!
Percilla Hart
August 17, 2012
OOOH!Mr. Kotter Thanks for the laughs Arnold. I feel like part of my child hood has lost another actor that I watched growing up. RIP Ron.
Michelle Sparks
August 16, 2012
Come back Little Arnold! Ron, thank you for creating a character that was loved by so many people (including me, at ten years of age)...and it sounds like you were a person who was loved by many, too. We will miss you. My condolences to your family, partner, and friends.
Just a fan
August 16, 2012
Thanks for the laughs!!!!
andrea
August 16, 2012
THANKS FOR THE LAUGHS, WE LOST A GREAT TALENT.
WES IRBY
August 16, 2012
A laugh that will never be forgotten
Chris Moore
August 16, 2012
I really like seeing you in Welcome Back Carter...Rest in Peace...
LucY Bohannon
August 16, 2012
we loved you, RIP
LINA PARRAZ
August 16, 2012
Condolences to the friends and family of Ron Palillo, many lives were touch with humor his performances on " Welcome Back Kotter" May all the memories linger on forever. May you know that our Heavenly Father is close to all those who are broken at heart and all those who crushed in spirit He saves...... May He comfort your family at this time
Margaret
August 16, 2012
R.I.P Ron!
Rita Menndoza
Could not load more entries
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences