'One Day at a Time' actor Pat Harrington Jr. dies after Alzheimer's struggle

Thu Jan 7, 2016 1:23pm EST
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By Will Dunham

(Reuters) - Pat Harrington Jr., the veteran comic actor who won an Emmy Award for playing nosy but endearing apartment building super Dwayne Schneider in the long-running TV situation comedy "One Day at a Time," died at the age of 86, his daughter said on Thursday.

Tresa Harrington said in a statement on her Facebook page that Harrington died on Wednesday evening. She did not give a cause of death but had written in early December that he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and was in declining health after a fall and a brain hemorrhage.

"My heart is broken to pieces and I will cry and cry until I just won't," Tresa Harrington wrote.

The actor's longtime manager, Phil Brock, described Harrington as "a gracious human being who will always be remembered for his portrayals of the human condition."

"Pat had the ability to bring laughter and kindness to any role. The twinkle in his Irish eyes let you know that you were in on the joke," Brock said in a statement.

In 1975, Harrington was cast as the faux suave Schneider in the CBS situation comedy that followed the lives of newly divorced mother Ann Romano, played by perky Bonnie Franklin, and her teenage daughters, portrayed by Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips.

The series ran for nine years until 1984, the year Harrington won an Emmy - the top U.S. TV honor - for best supporting actor. He also won a Golden Globe Award for best supporting actor in 1981.

"He turned out to be the comic strength of the show," famed TV producer Norman Lear, who developed "One Day at a Time," told the Archive of American Television.   Continued...

(L-R)Actors Richard Masur, Bonnie Franklin, Pat Harrington Jr., Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips accept an award for the show One Day at a Time during the 10th Anniversary TV Land Awards in New York April 14, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer