Actor David Lander, best known as Squiggy on the ABC sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” died Friday evening at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his family confirmed to Variety. He was 73.
Lander died of complications related to multiple sclerosis, which he battled for 37 years. Since he went public with his diagnosis in 1999, Lander has worked closely with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, speaking out about his experience at related conferences.
The actor was best known as Squiggy from “Laverne & Shirley,” which he starred in opposite Michael McKean, who portrayed Lenny. The characters were developed by the longtime friends and collaborators while they were students at Carnegie Mellon University.
On Saturday morning, McKean responded to the news by tweeting an old photo of him and Lander.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) December 5, 2020
Born on June 22, 1947 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Lander had his eyes on acting from a young age, and attended the High School for the Performing Arts. After teaming up with McKean in college, the duo moved to Los Angeles, where they joined the comedy ensemble, The Credibility Gap.
The duo built their early career together, co-starring in Steven Spielberg’s comedy film “1941” and Kurt Russell’s “Used Cars.” Lander and McKean also voiced an animated TV series, “Oswald,” in which they played the animated penguins Henry and Louie, respectively. In 1979, Lander and McKean released an album as Lenny and the Squigtones featuring Christopher Guest in guitar, who was credited as Nigel Tufnel – an alias that Guest later reused in the fictional band Spinal Tap.
Lander also made appearances in several TV shows, including “The Bob Newhart Show,” “Barney Miller,” “Happy Days,” “Viva Valdez,” “Twin Peaks” and “The Drew Carey Show,” and played smaller yet memorable parts in movies like “A League of Their Own” and “Say It Isn’t So.”
As a voice actor, Lander was the voice behind Smart Ass in the 1988 Disney movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” and was credited as Stephen Lander in “Boo” and “Zino and the Snurks.” He also voiced Ch’p in the DC Comics animated movie, “Green Lantern: First Flight” in 2009.
Lander most recently voiced Rumpelstiltskin in Disney’s children’s show, “Goldie & Bear,” and Donnie the Shark in an episode of “SpongeBob Squarepants” in 2016.
Lander is survived by his wife, Kathy Fields Lander, and daughter, Natalie Lander.