A tribute to honor and celebrate the life and career of Ron Palillo, best known as Horshack on "Welcome Back, Kotter" has been scheduled for today, October 3, 2012. The 6pm tribute will take place at The Triad Theatre, which is located at 158 West 72nd Street. Palillo died in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on August, 14, 2012, of a heart attack. Broadway's Tyne Daly, a longtime friend, will host the event.
Performers and speakers include Broadway's Anita Gillette, Robert Bartley (Broadway Backwards), literary agent Elaine Devlin, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs (Kotter's Freddie Washington) and Joseph Gramm, Palillo's life partner. "Welcome Back, Kotter" stars John Travolta, Gabe Kaplan, Marcia Strassman along with Donna Pescow, have written statements to be read at the event. Other highlights include a reading from Palillo's play, "The Lost Boy" and a special video tribute. Lawrence Leritz is directing/producing, with co-producers Bob Dio and Elaine Devlin.
After "Welcome Back, Kotter," Palillo appeared in various television series and films, including the sitcom "Ellen." After returning to New York in 1991, and played such roles as Mozart in "Amadeus" and regionally as George in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", Arthur in Camelot and Nathan Detroit in "Guys and Dolls." Ron appeared on Broadway in 2008 in "Broadway Backwards 4," a charity event benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. Among his other New York City credits were a one-person show in 2000 where he portrayed Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann in The Diary of Adolf Eichmann Off-Broadway.
Palillo was also a talented writer and artist. In 2005, his first full-length play, The Lost Boy, the true story of Peter Pan author J. M. Barrie, premiered at the Helen Hayes Theatre in Nyack, New York and later played at the Queens Theatre in The Park. As an artist, Ron provided the art for two children's books: The Red Wings of Christmas and A Gift for the Contessa.
Photo courtesy Joseph Gramm.