|Photo Credit: Palm Beach Post
Ron Palillo became famous for his portrayal of Arnold Horshack on the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. Intended as a platform to showcase comedian Gabe Kaplan as former gang member who returned to teach at his old high school, it instead launched the careers of the young men playing The Sweathogs, the gang that dominated the school. The group included John Travolta, Palillo, and Robert Hegyes.
Some South Florida readers may be aware that Ron Palillo has been living in South Florida, and teaching acting at the G-Star School of the Arts, a high school in West Palm Beach.
But he's also appeared on the South Florida theater scene. In 1996, he starred in the comedy Breaking Legs at the Jupiter Theatre; it was the last show to be produced under the management of the late Richard Akins. Akin's college roommate Avery Schreiber directed the show, and the cast included himself, Palillo, Jill Brennan, Stewart Steinbertg, Vince Viverito, and John LaGioia.
Skip Sheffield reviewed for the Boca Raton News:
The role of Terence O'Keefe is essentially that of straight man to a cast of eccentric, colorful, and possibly dangerous characters. Under the direction of Avery Schreiber, Ron Palillo has taken great care to hone his numerous reactions to comic perfection. While Breaking Legs is a very broad and essentially silly comedy, it is the subtle nuances that make the Jupiter production so satisfying.Rest in peace, Ron. And thanks for all the laughs!