Happy Days Star Al Molinaro Dies at 96

Actor's son tells TMZ his father chose not to get surgery for his gall stones

By Bruna Nessif Oct 31, 2015 2:53 AMTags
Al Molinaro, Happy DaysYouTube

It's a sad day for the Happy Days family.

Al Molinaro, the actor who graced the small screen as Al DelVecchio, the owner of Fonzie's favorite spot, Arnold's Drive-In, on the hit ABC sitcom, died in a Wisconsin hospital on Thursday at the age of 96.

According to multiple outlets, Molinaro's son Michael confirmed the tragic news to TMZ, who first reported the story, telling the outlet that his father had very bad gall stones, but chose against having surgery due to his age.

Molinaro joined Happy Days during its second season in 1974 by taking over the diner, and had a 10-year run. He then reprised his Big Al role on the spinoff, Joanie Loves Chachi, where his character would create the now-famous storytelling intro of,  "Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep."

He brought Big Al back yet again in 1994 for Weezer's "Buddy Holly" video, directed by Spike Jonze, with the band performing at the drive-in.

Molinaro is survived by his wife Betty and his son, who also tells TMZ that his famous father was very proud of their family roots in Kenosha, Wis.

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