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He Was the TV Dad to an Alien. Now, Our Goodbyes

Tony-nominated Max Wright played Willie Tanner on 'ALF'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2019 8:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – The actor best known as Willie Tanner, the TV dad who took in an extraterrestrial named ALF, has died. Max Wright passed away Wednesday at his Hermosa Beach, Calif., home at the age of 75, reports TMZ, which notes Wright had long battled cancer. Wright's son confirmed his death to the Hollywood Reporter, though he didn't elaborate on the details. While Wright was most well-known for his role on the NBC show, which ran from 1986 to 1990, he also appeared in other TV sitcoms, including the short-lived Buffalo Bill, Cheers, Norm, and Friends, in which he twice appeared as the manager of Central Perk.

Wright wasn't just a television veteran: He appeared in such movies as All That Jazz, Reds, and The Sting II, and also acted on Broadway, appearing in Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard and in Ivanov, for which he was nominated for a Tony in 1998. But it was ALF that made his face most familiar to the masses. Access Hollywood notes that fans of the show got excited when rumors of a reboot once circulated, but those rumors never panned out. Wright's wife, Linda Ybarrondo, died in 2017, per Deadline. He's survived by two children. (Read more obituary stories.)

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