June 12, 2024
David Lander, the actor who played Squiggy on 'Laverne & Shirley,' has died at age 73

David Lander, the actor who played Squiggy on ‘Laverne & Shirley,’ has died at age 73

Lander died on Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after fighting multiple sclerosis for decades, his family said in a statement to CNN.

“David’s family hopes his fans will remember him for all the laughter he brought into the world.” the statement read.

On “Laverne & Shirley,” Lander played Squiggy and Michael McKean played Lenny, the upstairs neighbors to Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney, played by Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, respectively.

The show, a “Happy Days” spinoff set in Milwaukee, ran from 1976 to 1983. Marshall died in December 2018 at age 75.

Lander, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, was in 120 movies and television series including “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Used Cars,” “Scary Movie” and “101 Dalmatians: The Series.”

Lander was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1984, one year after “Laverne & Shirley” came to an end. He kept the illness a secret until 1999 with the release of his memoir, “Fall Down Laughing: How Squiggy Caught Multiple Sclerosis and Didn’t Tell Nobody.”

He later became known for speaking at conventions, fundraisers and galas where he advocated for others who live with multiple sclerosis.

“My doctor painted a fairly bleak picture of the disease, even going so far as to tell me I probably wouldn’t walk again…,” Lander said during an interview in Brain & Life Magazine. “Whatever happens, MS can’t take it all. I will always have my heart and soul, my wit and wisdom. Wherever the chips may fall, if I fall with them I will make it a point to do so gracefully—and laughing.”

The actor leaves behind his wife of 41 years, Kathy Lander, and 37-year-old daughter Natalie Lander.

CNN’s Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.