R.I.P. David Lander, Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley

The iconic sitcom actor was 73.

Everett Collection

Michael McKean and David Lander were college buddies in Pittsburgh. Graduates of Carnegie Mellon University, the two became part of a comedy troupe called the Credibility Gap. Together, they created the characters Lenny and Squiggy (original name: Anthony Squiggliano) for skits.

McKean and Lander were eventually brought on as writers for the Happy Days spin-off Laverne & Shirley, after which their old alter-egos were revived and injected into the sitcom. Squiggy got a name change — he was now Andrew "Squiggy" Squiggmann — and his weaselly greaser character became a quotable pop-culture sensation.

The colorful supporting characters would become so popular, Lenny and Squiggy would even get a chance to record an album of rock & roll songs in 1979, Lenny & Squiggy Present Lenny and the Squigtones. That record would in a way be the genesis of Spinal Tap, as it featured not on McKean, but the guitar playing of comedian Christopher Guest, a.k.a. Nigel Tufnel.

Those his character Squiggy might be forever associated with rock & roll, Lander the actor was a baseball lover at heart. He played a baseball broadcaster in A League of Their Own (1992), the classic sports film directed by his former Laverne costar Penny Marshall. Later that decade, he worked in the sport itself, become an associate baseball scout for the Seattle Mariners.

"He has a passion for baseball and it's sincere," Mariners GM Bill Bavasi said at the time about Lander. "If he sees stadium lights somewhere, he's at the game."

With such a distinctive voice, Lander was a natural for animated work, as well. In the decades following Laverne & Shirley, he did cartoon voice-over work in everything from Garfield to SpongeBob SquarePants. He also happened to land a couple of interesting gigs thanks to his neighbor, David Lynch. The visionary director cast Lander in both Twin Peaks and his overlooked sitcom On the Air.

On December 4, Lander passed away from complications due to multiple sclerosis, his wife told TMZ. He was 73.

McKean tweeted a heartfelt and silent tribute to his longtime friend and comedy partner.

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Snickers 41 months ago
So sad to hear of the passing of David Lander loved his role as squiggy. My prayers go out to his family at this difficult time.
dmzabooo 41 months ago
R.I.P. Squiggy laughter never bad a better friend than you!
KirwoodDerby 41 months ago
Many years back I was watching a Phillies game and David was the on-air guest for an inning. He spoke about the things he was working on at the time but the entire time he was speaking the game continued and David was keeping score of the game as a real zealot of the game would do. I often tried to do this at home But it requires a lot of your attention. He pulled it off without a hitch, all while being interviewed. I’ve never forgotten that. God bless you, Squiggy.
Newyorkcitygal 41 months ago
God bless you David. You will be missed. Great actor....
FranBare 41 months ago
I am so angry! AT&T Uverse is denying my access to your channel and Channel 13! Is there anything you can do about that?
jacko3 41 months ago
.. very entertaining comedic actor ... enjoy (all) the series and writings ... long live 'SQUID-MANIA'! - GOD Be with him .. family and friends!
Robyn 41 months ago
Proof read this stuff before you post it...or learn how to write.
Hogansucks1 41 months ago
“HELLO” —— Goodbye Sqiggmann! Say “HELLO” to Saint Peter for me, on your grand entrance 😇. You are missed !!! 😌
Barry22 41 months ago
RIP. Once again, he can say "Hello Laverne".
Even though it was Shirley he had the "hots" for. I think in the hospital scene in the the Christmas episode, he called her his "Little Squigtone," or something like that.
cperrynaples 41 months ago
Would you believe Lander once did the voice of Jerry Lewis? Yes, 50 years ago there was a cartoon called Will The Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down? which the comedian approved of but wouldn't participate in! Really, Squiggy was just a few octives away from Jerry!
cperrynaples cperrynaples 41 months ago
PS Lewis actually wrote for the show but hired Lander because he couldn't do the "Hey Lady" voice anymore!
stephaniestavropoulos 41 months ago
R.I.P. Squiggy. After you get done driving the Schotz Brewery truck making deliveries, you and Laverne go over to the Pizza Bowl, relax, eat a huge pizza and knock back a couple of cold ones, [Schotz, of course!] all the while Phil DeFazzio is offering up his usual fatherly advice to anyone who will listen.
dkaliner 41 months ago
David L. Lander's "Squiggy" character was a memorable one. David, a very funny guy, seemed to battle multiple sclerosis in a courageous manner. Rest in peace, dude.
TheDavBow3 41 months ago
Very sad to hear about David Lander's passing. Him and Michael McKean were so funny! I remember laughing out loud when I heard "Lenny and the Squigtones". Best doo wop name ever!! R.I.P. David
justjeff 41 months ago
Personally knowing three people who have been affected by MS, I can only admire David for his valiant battle with the disease all of these years. RIP David Lander.
RB 41 months ago
Rest in peace, David "Squiggy" Lander. I can just see you, bursting open the pearly gate and telling the angels, "Hello!"
Dario RB 41 months ago
😄😄😄😄😄 👍👍👍👍👍 😁😁😁😁😁
stephaniestavropoulos RB 41 months ago
That's one of things I liked about the show. The different ways the writers would come up with the cue word or phrase for Lenny and Squiggy to appear. From what I can recall, I don't think they repeated themselves; they managed to come up with something different in each episode. Which reminds me of the Rockford Files answering machine recordings. I remember reading that the writers after a couple years, had a hard time coming up with different messages every week. They finally had to seek outside help to make sure there was a message for that week's episode.
Always thought The Bob Newhart Show should have had different openings for each episode with Bob having a brief telephone conversation (as seen in the pilot and premiere episodes) instead of just saying "Hello?" for two seasons before they changed it to Bob leaving his office in the third season. But that may have also been a problem for the writers to come up with a new one every episode.
Pacificsun Wiseguy 41 months ago
Intro's are expensive.
Yes, intros. are expensive, but talking on the telephone is what made BN popular. I agree with Wiseguy, they should have had him talking on the phone longer. He had a famous album in the '60's called, I think: The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart.
True & I agree. But the BN shows (both) were ensemble pieces. The interaction of multiple characters. BN probably didn't want the focus on himself. Knowing he had a Las Vegas billing whenever wanted!
Paulterry42 41 months ago
This is an in-depth article and I enjoyed the content, but as someone who has worked in the journalism business, I will say that rushing to get a story into print is no excuse for not proof-reading and catching the many spelling errors.
Krn Paulterry42 41 months ago
I was thinking the same thing
justjeff Krn 41 months ago
Because of the tone of the article, I was more forgiving of the typos, and withheld my usual commentary or puns regarding the proofreading...
Pacificsun Paulterry42 41 months ago
You can thank the "progressive" education system for producing creative thinkers, not accurate technicians (of their craft). My hunch is most copy is done via smartphone & tablet. On these devices Spellcheck is quirky at best, changing a word after-the-fact and right before "sending." Those providing us wonderful stories are unpaid interns (probably under a Staff Team Lead who's responsible for training). And YES, it should & needs to include accuracy. But unless you've punched out assignment after assignment (likely along with upper-classman studies) it's too easy to judge. For a long, long time, the stories here weren't researched well at all, little depth, superficial being more like ads for watching the shows! Seldom written from a variety of resources. Somebody cleaned up that mess quite well. Including the print-interviews used from the Archives of American Television that provide a lot more human interest than before. And I think the amount of "did-you-know" details (cross referenced among several shows) is amazing! At least give them credit for their imagination and curiosity!

All of it takes time and effort to research and assemble, particularly to meet a deadline and assignment quotas!

We all know how to spell here - come on - and if anyone is typo-free in their life, please raise your hand. 😉

Thank you MeTV Staff for providing us with much entertainment - oh yes, and for free!!
Wiseguy Pacificsun 41 months ago
There will always be typos. Typos aren't the problem. Ignorance of English (the language most of us have always used) and grammar (supposedly taught in elementary (or "grammar") school) is. The number of people who think an apostrophe is used to make a plural is simply astounding. People who claim The Waltons is their favorite show will write the title as The Walton's. Not only do they fail to understand what a plural is but they can't even see how it's spelled on the series. Confusing its and it's is another (the apostrophe in it's stands for missing letters to indicate it has, it was or it is. I actually had to explain that to someone on a forum once). Another frequent mistake is spelling the abbreviation of et cetera as ect. which looks more like a home pregnancy test. What do they think they're abbreviating? Ec tetera?
Pacificsun Wiseguy 41 months ago
Well you've had to correct me frequently on the possessive ('s) too frequently! Which I appreciate because it's deserved! And should be more careful. What I hate here is the small dialogue box provided for inputting text. Then scrolling back up line by line. I compose in a rushed fashion because I'm thinking fast. But if I could see the whole comment at the end, and then be able to edit, my comments would be MUCH better! When possible I try to compose lengthy ones offline and then paste them here.

Our grammar school did concentrate on punctuation and diagraming sentences and so forth. Spelling too. What I was saying in reference to the original comment, is that they don't teach like that anymore. However one way to pick up some writing skills would be to read hardcopy frequently. Many people don't even do that anymore.
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