Actor David Lander, famous for playing Squiggy, dies aged 73

The 'Laverne & Shirley' actor passed away after a longtime battle with multiple sclerosis.

Actors Michael McKean (L) and David Lander pose for photographers as she arrives for the annual Dinner of Champions hosted by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society September 9 in Los Angeles. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Actors Michael McKean (L) and David Lander pose for photographers as she arrives for the annual Dinner of Champions hosted by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society September 9 in Los Angeles.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jewish-American actor David L. Lander, most well-known for his role as Squiggy in the ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley, passed away at the age of 73 following a long battle with multiple sclerosis, his family confirmed over the weekend to Variety.
Lander, the son of two Jewish schoolteachers from New York, gained widespread fame for his role in the beloved sitcom, alongside longtime collaborator Michael McKean, who played the role of Lenny. The two had frequently collaborated since college, appearing in multiple films and TV shows together, though their most famous appearance was in Laverne & Shirley, a spin-off of the widely successful Happy Days that ran from 1976-1983.
McKean was one of the first to post tribute to his longtime colleague, posting an old photo of the two of them on social media. Other notable celebrities ranging from Mark Hamill to Rob Reiner and Kevin Smith took to social media to mourn Lander's passing.
Lander appeared in dozens of TV shows, including The Bob Newhart Show, Barney Miller, Rhoda, The Love Boat and Twin Peaks. He was also prolific as a voice actor, giving life to the character of Smart Ass in the 1988 movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? He had more than 100 film and TV credits, in all.
In addition to his acting career, Lander was also well known for his work in MS advocacy, a disease affecting the brain and spinal cord he had suffered from for nearly 40 years. Despite being diagnosed in 1984, the actor never disclosed this information until 1999, in his book Fall Down Laughing: How Squiggy Caught Multiple Sclerosis and Didn’t Tell Nobody, according to People magazine.
Lander’s wife Kathy and daughter Natalie were at his side at Los Angeles’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at the time of his death, TMZ reported.
Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.