The Golden Girls family has officially lost another member. News broke early on Thursday evening that actor Chick Vennera has passed away.
Chick Vennera was a man who portrayed many faces during his heyday in the film and television industry. Born in 1947 in Herkimer, New York, as Francis Vennera, he eventually moved to California after high school where he studied at the Pasadena Playhouse.
Deadline was one of the first to report on the prolific actor’s death. But how exactly did Chick Vennera die? Well, apparently it was Vennera’s daughter, Nicky Vennera, who confirmed the details. The longtime actor and Golden Girls guest star died at his home in Burbank, California after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 74 years old.
Beginning of Acting Career for ‘Golden Girls’ Guest Star
Vennera started his acting career after serving in the US Army Signal Corps. His first role actually came in the Broadway production of Grease. Vennera traveled with the musical for a year. He continued as a performer and one of his most recognizable moments came in the 1978 hit comedy Thank God It’s Friday. He starred alongside Donna Summer, Debra Winger, and Jeff Goldblum. will always be remembered for performing a disco dance routine on top of several parked cars.
But aside from that memorable role, Chick Venerra continued to stay busy during the 1980s and 1990s. He appeared in several films and television series during that time. One of his most notable came in the form of a voice-acting role. He voiced Pesto on Warner Bros. Animation/Amblin Entertainment’s hit animated series Animaniacs. Although, around then he was perhaps best known for his three-episode stint in Golden Girls. He starred in that, of course, alongside Beatrice Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Estelle Getty.
Fans of the popular sitcom will remember Vennera for two roles he played on the show. According to IMDb, he first appeared in a 1989 episode of Golden Girls titled, “Fiddler On the Ropes.” He played a Cuban Boxer named Pepe. Sophia Petrillo (played by Estelle Getty) trains him with the hopes that she will make some money if he were to win.
Meanwhile, Chick Vennera also played a big-headed TV consumer affairs reporter named Enrique Mas in two episodes of the show. Those were “Roses Fights Back” and “All That Jazz.” Rose Nylund (played by Betty White) starts to work for Mas before she ends up taking his job after finding out she can no longer receive money from a pension fund.
Prior to his death on Wednesday, July 7, Venerra had been teaching acting.
Chick Vennera is survived by his wife Suzanne Vennera in addition to his daughter Nicky.
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