HomeEntertainment‘Happy Days’: When and How Did Al Molinaro Die?

‘Happy Days’: When and How Did Al Molinaro Die?

by Keeli Parkey
(Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Even though he wasn’t one of the show’s main characters, Alfred “Big Al” Delvecchio, was still a popular character on “Happy Days.”

One reason Big Al was beloved by the sitcom’s fans was his portrayal by Al Molinaro. The actor lived to the age of 96, according to CNN. He passed away on Oct. 13, 2015, at Verdugo Hill Hospital in Glendale, California. His death was the result of a gallstone ailment.

In addition to being the proprietor and cook of Arnold’s Diner, Big Al was also an entertaining storyteller. He was often known to begin his tales by saying, “Yep, yep, yep, yep.”

Big Al was also known for his close relationship with another “Happy Days” character. This was Louisa – the mother of Chachi Arcola

Molinaro’s son, Michael Molinaro, announced the news of his father’s passing. In addition to his son, the “Happy Days” actor was survived by his wife, Betty Molinaro. He also had three grandchildren.

In addition to playing Al Delvecchio on “Happy Days,” Al Molinaro also played the character in one of its spinoffs – “Joanie Loves Chachi” – for 17 episodes. That show was on the air from 1982 until 1984.

“Happy Days” entertained fans from 1974 until 1984. Molinaro first appeared in a December 1974 episode. This was the season two episode titled, “Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas.” The actor began appearing on the show more regularly in 1976 during the show’s fourth season.

“Happy Days” and “Joanie Loves Chachi” are not the only popular television shows included on actor Al Molinaro’s filmography. Some of these series include “Get Smart,” “Green Acres,” “The Odd Couple,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “The Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island,” and “The Family Man.”

In addition to his television appearances, Molinaro also appeared in a popular mid-1990s music video. This was the video for the Weezer song, “Buddy Holly.” The video shows the band taking the stage at Arnold’s Diner. And, of course, Big Al is there to introduce them.

Molinaro’s family was happy to see the video succeed, according to Al’s son, Michael. “That was a surprise and joy to see how that succeeded,” he shared.

Al Molinaro was the son of an Italian immigrant, Raffaele Molinaro. Raffaele came to the United States when he was only 15 years from Calabria, Italy. He met his wife, and Al’s mother, Teresa Marrone in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Al Molinaro was born in Kenosha on June 24, 1919. His given name was Umberto Francesca Molinaro. His parents would have 10 children. There were two girls and eight boys. The future “Happy Days” star was the ninth of the couple’s children.

It was discovered that Molinaro had Alzheimer’s during the mid-1990s. He lived with the disease until his death in 2015.