David Lander, who is best known to TV audiences for playing the latter half of Laverne & Shirley‘s irrepressible Lenny and Squiggy, died on Friday after living for 37 years with multiple sclerosis. He was 73.
As reported by TMZ, Lander’s wife of 41 years, Kathy, along with their daughter Natalie and her husband, were at his side when he passed.
Penny Marshall, who played the Happy Days spinoff’s titular Laverne DeFazio, died almost exactly two years ago, from diabetes-related complications.
Prior to his eight-season run as Laverne & Shirley‘s Andrew “Squiggy” Squiggman, which began in 1976, Lander guested on TV series such as Barney Miller, Rhoda and Love, American Style. After the ABC comedy signed off in 1983 — two-and-a-half years after a soft “reboot” relocated the action (and characters) from Milwaukee to Hollywood — Lander enjoyed runs on myriad shows including The Love Boat, On the Air, Twin Peaks (as “dance choreographer, pine weasel expert and home care salesman” Tim Pinkle), the animated series Oswald (with Laverne & Shirley costar Michael McKean), The Bold and the Beautiful and Pacific Blue.
His assorted film roles over the years, meanwhile, included Who Framed Roger Rabbit, A League of Their Own, Steven Spielberg’s 1941 and Used Cars — the latter two of which also featured McKean, the Lenny to his Squiggy.
McKean and Lander first met in 1965 during acting classes at Carnegie Mellon University, where they developed what would become their Lenny and Squiggy personae. McKean thus far has remembered his longtime costar with a simple photo, shared in Twitter:
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) December 5, 2020
Most recently, Lander costarred on the web series Break a Hip and did voice work for The Garfield Show and a 2016 episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.