Robert Hegye

Welcome Back, Kotter Star Ron Palillo Dies

Ron Palillo, the actor who starred alongside John Travolta on the 70s sitcom ‘Welcome Back, Kotter,’ died suddenly early Tuesday morning. TMZ reports Palillo’s longtime partner Joseph Gramm found him unresponsive in their Palm Beach, Florida home around 4 a.m. The 63-year-old was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. It appears he suffered a heart attack. No other details were immediately available.

Palillo got his big break when he was cast as Arnold Horshack on ‘Welcome Back, Kotter.’ He starred on the series alongside Travolta, Gabe Kaplan, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Robert Hegyes from 1975 to 1979. After ‘Kotter’ ended, Palillo voiced characters in several animated TV shows, including ‘Laverne and Shirley in the Army,’ ‘Rubik, the Amazing Cube’ and ‘Darkwing Duck.’ In later years he returned to stage in productions of ‘Amadeus,’ ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ and ‘Guys and Dolls.’

With Palillo’s death, Travolta and Hilton-Jacobs are now the only surviving “Sweathogs” from ‘Welcome Back, Kotter.’ Hegyes died of a heart attack in January.