‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ Star Ron Palillo Dies At 63
Sad news to report today, as former ‘Welcome Back, Kotter’ star and noted acting teacher Ron Palillo died this morning of a heart attack, at the age of 63. Palillo was reportedly found by his lifelong partner Joseph Gramm early this morning in their Beach Gardens home, before being taken to the hospital and pronounced dead. The news was reported by one of Palillo’s close personal friends.
Palillo was perhaps most famous for his role on ‘Welcome Back, Kotter,’ playing Sweathog student Arnold Dingfelder Horshack, classically beloved for his frequently used call-out of “Ooh ooh ooh, Mr. Kotter!” The classic 1975 sitcom focused on Gabe Kaplan’s character Gabe Kotter, who returned to his Brooklyn high school James Buchanan High to teach a remedial class to which he once belonged. The series is also notable for featuring a young John Travolta.
In the more recent years following ‘Kotter,’ Palillo gave lectures at high schools and colleges around the country, and in 2009 took a teaching position at G-Star Academy, a charter school in Palm Springs. One of Palillo’s colleagues at the G-Star School of the Arts claimed that Palillo had appeared to be in good health, though he did make a frequent habit of smoking.
Palillo’s ‘Kotter’ co-star Robert Hegyes, equally beloved for his role as Epstein, passed away earlier this year after suffering a heart attack as well.