I just pictured Howard Cunningham and Arnold Takahashi pulling out a stool for Big Al while an angel dressed as The Fonz invited him to “sit on it” in the great big diner in the sky. And since that image is making this whole situation a little less sad, I’m choosing to believe that’s what happened.
Last night, the son of Al Molinaro, aka Al Delvecchio from Happy Days, confirmed that his father had passed away at the age of 96 in a California hospital. Al was apparently very sick with gall stones, but decided to say “Nope nope nope nope” to surgery because of his age. He leaves behind his wife, Betty, his son, and three grandchildren.
Aside from Happy Days, which he appeared in 146 episodes as the owner of Arnold’s Diner (aka the teenage hangout where Fonzie’s toilet office was located), Al Molinaro was also in episodes of Get Smart, The Odd Couple, Fantasy Island, Joanie Loves Chachi, Punky Brewster, and Step By Step. I was a bit too young for the heyday of Happy Days, so my first real introduction to Al Molinaro was his appearance as Al Delvecchio in the Happy Days-themed music video for Weezer’s “Buddy Holly.” For some reason, that video came pre-loaded onto the first computer we ever had in my house growing up, and I must have watched it 10,375 times. There’s really no wrong time to watch the video for “Buddy Holly“, but today seems especially appropriate to play it on repeat.
I really hope that the first thing Al did when he got to Heaven was to make a “Try the fish” joke with Jesus. Rest in peace, Big Al.