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Ron Palillo, Arnold Horshack of 'Welcome Back, Kotter,' dies at 63

August 14, 2012|By Claire Noland

Ron Palillo, an actor whose signature role was Arnold Horshack in the 1970s TV sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter,” died Tuesday. He was 63.

Palillo, a Connecticut native, died of a heart attack in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where he had lived in recent years. His agent, Jackie Stander, confirmed the death.

Palillo’s Horshack was one of the original Sweathogs in Gabe Kotter’s James Buchanan High School class, along with John Travolta’s Vinnie Barbarino, Robert Hegyes’ Juan Epstein and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs’ Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington. The show ran on ABC from 1975 to 1979.

PHOTOS: Ron Palillo | 1949-2012

The Connecticut native later taught acting at a high school in Florida.

His costar Hegyes died in January.

A complete obituary will follow at


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