According to TMZ, which also confirmed his passing, Meszaros was found unresponsive in his Los Angeles home last week, and spent several days in a coma.
Though the titular alien (voiced by Paul Fusco) was typically only shown from the waist up, allowing for puppeteers to control his movements, certain scenes required ALF’s entire body to be on display — and that’s where Meszaros came in.
Meszaros — who stood at just 33 inches tall — started performing in the circus in his home country of Hungary, before eventually joining the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the 1970s. After seeing him perform, Michael Jackson became so enamored by Meszaros that the two became close friends; he was hired as “walkaround ALF” shortly thereafter.
His acting résume also included roles in episodes of H.R. Pufnstuf and Dear John. Additionally, he appeared in films like Big Top Pee-wee and Look Who’s Talking.
You can enjoy a bit of Meszaros’ full-body ALF work in the show’s first opening credits sequence below: