How did David Lander die? Fans honor actor, 73, who played Squiggy on 'Laverne & Shirley': 'We lost a legend'

The actor died of complications related to multiple sclerosis, which he battled for 37 years


                            How did David Lander die? Fans honor actor, 73, who played Squiggy on 'Laverne & Shirley': 'We lost a legend'
David Lander (Getty Images)

Actor David Lander, popularly recognized as Squiggy on the ABC sitcom ‘Laverne & Shirley’, died on Friday, December 4 evening at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. His family confirmed the news to Variety. He was 73.

The actor died of complications related to multiple sclerosis, which he battled for 37 years. In 1999, he went public with his diagnosis and since then Lander has worked closely with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, speaking out about his experience at related conferences, as reported by Variety. In ‘Laverne & Shirley’, he starred opposite Michael McKean, who portrayed Lenny. The characters were developed by longtime friends and collaborators while they were students at Carnegie Mellon University.

He was born in 1947 in Brooklyn and attended the High School for the Performing Arts. After collaborating with McKean in college, the duo moved to Los Angeles, where they joined the comedy ensemble, The Credibility Gap. They built their early career together and starred 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 portrayed 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.

The Variety report states, Lander most recently voiced Rumpelstiltskin in Disney’s show ‘Goldie & Bear’, and Donnie the Shark in an episode of ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’ in 2016. The actor is survived by his wife, Kathy Fields Lander, and daughter, Natalie Lander.

After his death, McKean tweeted an old photo of them. Others also paid their tributes on Twitter. One user said, “I grew up watching Laverne & Shirley. Back when just hearing a theme song would make you happy. RIP David Lander  ~ Squiggy.” Another wrote: “Knowing that David Lander lived with multiple sclerosis made it easier for those of us wanting to be open and honest about being diagnosed too.  He put a brave face on living with the illness paving the way for the rest of us. Prayers and love to his family.” A social media user expressed their condolences saying: “Sad to hear that beautiful spirit David lander died! Sweet squiggy!!” One tweeted, “Today, we lost a legend & an icon in television, film and comedy. Remembering actor #DavidLander (1947-2020), who was best known for his role of Squiggy on "Laverne & Shirley." Here he is w/Michael McKean as Lenny from their 1979 album, "Lenny & the Squigtones." #RIPLegend”

Screenwriter Brian Lynch said, “Behold, the comedic genius of David Lander.  He and Michael McKean were beloved, quoted, and imitated a lot in the Lynch household.  If you can't watch the whole thing, fast forward to Lenny and Squiggy on The Dating Game.” Kevin Smith said, “This funny man made my childhood happier with his work on “Laverne & Shirley” and his guest appearance on @TheSimpsons as himself still makes me laugh today (“Hello, Laverne...”). Rest In Peace David, and thank you: There’s a little Lenny & Squiggy in the DNA of Jay & Silent Bob.”



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

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