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.