‘ALF’ Actor Max Wright Dies at 75 After Decades-Long Battle With Cancer

By Tiffany Meier

Max Wright, best known for his role in the 80’s sitcom “ALF,” has died after battling cancer for decades He was 75.

In 1995, Wright was diagnosed with lymphoma—a cancer infecting the immune system—but he had been in remission for years, according to TMZ.

Wright’s family confirmed his passing to TMZ, which broke the story, as well as The Hollywood Reporter. Wright died at his home in California, his family said.

Wright was best known for his role as Willie Tanner, the adoptive father of ALF (Alien Life Form) in the series which ran from 1986 to 1990.

While the sitcom was a massive success, Wright himself was not a fan of the show.

He previously told People magazine that acting opposite an inanimate object “was hard work and very grim.”

By the time the series was coming to an end, Wright said, “I was hugely eager to have it over with.”

However, after a health scare, Wright revised his statement about the show.

“It doesn’t matter what I felt or what the days were like. ALF brought people a lot of joy. They adored it,” he said, according to People magazine.

“Max absolutely made you forget ALF was a puppet,” ALF creator Tom Pachett said in a 2016 interview, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“RIP Max Wright,” actor and singer Seth MacFarlane wrote on Twitter. “A hilarious and talented actor. Sad news to hear of his passing. Who will keep ALF in check now?”

Wright, a Detroit native, made his Broadway debut in “The Great White Hope” in 1968, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In 1998, he received a Tony nomination for best actor for his portrayal of Pavel Lebedev in “Ivanov.”

“I was lucky enough to see him in a NYC production of Chekhov’s ‘Ivanov,’ opposite Kevin Kline,” one person wrote on Twitter. “He was sublimely funny, utterly wonderful. One of the best live performances I’ve ever seen. Thanks Max.”

Comedian and writer Norm Macdonald wrote on Twitter, “One of the truly fine experiences of my life was writing for Max Wright. Max was very rare in that he could play any attitude comedically. Shallow, sweet, cruel, lustful, moved, hateful, cowardly. And on it went. He was a comedy writer’s dream: a perfect comedy vessel. Great man.”

On screen, aside from his role in ALF, Wright was also known for his roles in films such as “All That Jazz” (1979), “The Sting II” (1983), “Soul Man” (1986), as well as TV shows “Norm” (1999), “The Drew Carey Show” (1999), “Misfits of Science” (1985-1986), and as the manager of Central Perk in the early episodes of “Friends,” according to IMDb.

In 1965, Wright married Linda Ybarrondo. They had two children together, Ben and Daisy. Two years ago, his wife died of breast cancer, according to multiple reports.