David L Lander, who played Squiggy in Laverne & Shirley, dies at 73

David L Lander, who played the character of Squiggy on the popular ABC comedy Laverne & Shirley, has died after three decades-long battle with multiple sclerosis on Friday. The actor was 73. He breathed his last in Los Angeles, surrounded by his wife, Kathy Fields Lander, daughter and son-in-law.

“It was very peaceful,” Kathy Fields Lander told the Associated Press in an email, adding, “He had a tough battle with MS for 37 years and he persevered like no one I have ever seen, and it taught me a great deal about the important things of life.”


David L Lander was an actor popular for comedy roles. He had a longtime comedic partnership with Michael McKean, whom he met at Carnegie Mellon University. The two actors together created the characters of Lenny and Squiggy that they would play on the show, which ran from 1976 to 1983.

Lander was born in Brooklyn, New York, and worked in 120 movies and television series including Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Used Cars, Scary Movie and 101 Dalmatians: The Series. He 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 an advocate for others living with multiple sclerosis and spoke at conventions, fundraisers and galas.


After David L Lander’s death, Michael McKean tweeted a photo of the two actors in the early days. McKean and Lander played two friends Lenny and Squiggy – or Lenny Kosnowski and Andrew Squiggy Squiggman, who were upstairs neighbours of Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams), bottle-cappers in 1950s Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

David L Lander is survived by his wife Kathy and a daughter, Natalie Lander.

With inputs from Associated Press.

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