Ronald Gabriel Paolillo (he used the surname "Palillo" during his acting career) was born in New Haven, Connecticut to Gabriel and Carmel Paolillo, of Italian descent. and raised in Cheshire. He graduated from the University of Connecticut at Storrs, where he taught during the late 1990s.
After Welcome Back, Kotter, Palillo appeared in leading and supporting roles in various television series and films. He voiced characters on such animated series as Laverne & Shirley in the Army, Darkwing Duck, and Rubik, the Amazing Cube, in which he played the lead character. In 1996, Palillo played himself in several episodes of the television sitcom Ellen, playing Audrey (Ellen's friend)'s love interest. Palillo also spent a year on the popular daytime show One Life to Live and also acted in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986), and the lead in The Curse of Micah Rood.
He returned 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. He 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, in a newspaper interview in 1997, said he lamented his role as Horshack as he was permanently typecast, which he believed had damaged his career.
Ron Palillo was an American television and film actor and teacher. He was best known as Arnold Horshack on the ABC sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter (1975–79). Palillo and his partner of 41 years, Joseph Gramm, lived in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. 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, in Queens, New York. He died on August 14, 2012.
As a director, Palillo directed successful productions of the musical Three Guys Naked From The Waist Down in Los Angeles, A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline, and a new edition of Phantom Of The Opera at the Cuillo Center for the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2007, he introduced a new clothing line specializing in limited-edition T-shirts produced by Rotter and Friends. Palillo was also an artist, providing artwork for two children's books: The Red Wings of Christmas and A Gift for the Contessa.
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, in Queens, New York.
He taught at G-Star School Of The Arts for Motion Pictures and Broadcasting in Palm Springs, Florida.
Palillo's funeral service was held in Palm Beach Gardens on August 22, 2012. A memorial tribute directed by Lawrence Leritz and hosted by Tyne Daly, was held to honor and celebrate Palillo's life and career at NYC's The Triad Theatre, October 3, 2012.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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