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David Lander, ‘Squiggy’ on ‘Laverne & Shirley,’ dies at 73

Jewish actor battled multiple sclerosis for 37 years; ‘He persevered like no one I have ever seen,’ says wife

In this Sept. 16, 2009 file photo, actor David Lander arrives at The National Multiple Sclerosis Society's 35th Annual Dinner of Champions in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)
In this Sept. 16, 2009 file photo, actor David Lander arrives at The National Multiple Sclerosis Society's 35th Annual Dinner of Champions in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File)

LOS ANGELES — Actor David L. Lander, who played the character of Squiggy on the popular ABC comedy “Laverne & Shirley,” has died after a decades-long battle with multiple sclerosis, his wife said. He was 73.

Lander died Friday in Los Angeles, surrounded by his wife, daughter and son-in-law, Kathy Fields Lander said in an email Saturday to the Associated Press.

“It was very peaceful,” Lander said. “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.”

Lander had a longtime comedic partnership with Michael McKean, whom he met at Carnegie Mellon University. Together they created the characters of Lenny and Squiggy that they would play on the show, which ran from 1976 to 1983. Lenny and Squiggy — or Lenny Kosnowski and Andrew “Squiggy” Squiggman — were friends and upstairs neighbors of Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams), bottle-cappers in 1950s Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The cast of ‘Laverne & Shirley’ Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, David L. Lander, and Michael McKean backstage at the TV Land Awards 10th Anniversary show at the Lexington Avenue Armory on April 14, 2012 in New York City (Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup via AP images)

McKean tweeted a photo in tribute to Lander on Saturday of the two actors in the early days.

Lander, who was Jewish, is survived by his wife and a daughter, Natalie Lander.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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