Ron Palillo is still Horshack -- The actor is still recognized for his role on ''Welcome Back, Kotter''

By Alan Carter
Updated April 08, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

What do you do after getting typecast as a dweeb from playing Arnold Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-79)? Ron Palillo’s answer: Work in regional theater, start a career as an artist (he has illustrated kids’ books and his own line of T-shirts, which he’s now marketing), watch lots of daytime (he’s been an Another World devotee since 1965) — and get a nose job. ”You’d have to be deaf, dumb, blind, and stupid not to notice,” says Palillo, 39, of his beak, which shaped Horshack’s patented honking laughter and ”Ooh-ooh!” plea. Palillo is now back on TV, as One Life to Live’s underhanded — and un-nasal — blackjack dealer, Gary. Despite the remodeling, Palillo still gets pegged as Horshack by passersby on the street. ”I can’t believe it,” he says. ”My voice is even three octaves lower. But, like, a dozen people on Broadway today went, ‘Ooh-ooh-ooh!’ ”