Actor Ron Palillo, who played the obviously Jewish character Arnold Horshack in the 1970s sitcom “Welcome Back Kotter,” died on Tuesday in Florida. He is the second “Sweathog” to pass away this year.
Robert Hegyes, who played the Jewish Puerto Rican student Juan Epstein, died in January at age 60.
The 63-year-old Palillo died in his Palm Beach Gardens home from a heart attack, according to his agent.
Palillo smoked and suffered from high blood pressure.
The show’s star, Gabriel Kaplan, told the NY Post: “When Ron walked into the audition and did his first line `Hello, how are you, I’m Arnold Horshack,’ I said `That’s him, That’s the guy I’ve been talking about/’”
Kaplan played the wise-cracking teacher Gabe Kotter, who returned to teach at his old James Buchanan High school in Brooklyn.
“Kotter” launched the career of John Travolta, who played the Sweathog leader Vinnie Barbarino.