Pat Harrington Jr…Son of Pat Harrington Sr. Pat Harrington Jr., 86, an actor and comedian who portrayed the farcically macho building superintendent Dwayne Schneider in One Day at a Time, a sitcom that explored sexism, harassment and other tribulations through the lens of a divorced working woman and her two teenage daughters, died Wednesday. His daughter Tresa Harrington announced the death on her Facebook page but did not provide other details. In November, she wrote that he had Alzheimer’s disease and was in rapidly declining health. Although billed as a supporting actor on One Day at a Time, Mr. Harrington provided such welcome comic relief that the program’s popularity and longevity – it aired on CBS from 1975 to 1984 – was owed as much to him as to anyone. Years afterward, producer Norman Lear, who also created All in the Family, said Mr. Harrington “turned out to be the comic strength of the show.” Seemingly coming from nowhere – he was a total unknown to Lear when the show was being cast – Mr. Harrington was in fact a seasoned comic performer. His father had been a son-and-dance man in vaudeville and on Broadway, a late-night carousing companion of fellow Irish American entertainers such as Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien and James Dunn. In the late 1950s, his talent for wisecracking and mimicry brought him influential admirers such as Jonathan Winters, Jack Paar, Steve Allen and Danny Thomas. He subsequently worked in nightclubs, released comedy albums, and won small roles in films. But it was One Day at a Time that made Harrington a household name during its protracted prime-time run. The star was Bonnie Franklin, playing an independent-minded divorced woman in Indianapolis who struggles to raise two willful daughters (played by Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli). Set against the second wave of feminism, the show explored previously taboo sitcom subjects such as divorce, rape, teenage pregnancy and menopause.
Daniel Patrick Harrington Jr. was born in Manhattan, went to a Catholic military school and graduated from Fordham University, where he also later received a master’s degree in political philosophy. After Air Force service, he began working in the NBC mail room, a job he parlayed into a junior advertising salesman position for the network. He often entertained clients at Toots Shor’s, the Manhattan watering hole, where, as the evenings wore on, he liked to trot out various voices and characters. He had his greatest success conjuring a fictional Italian immigrant named Guido Panzini, part of a gag he honed over many years and many drinks.
In the 1964–1965 television season, he guest-starred on numerous programs, including ABC‘s sitcom The Bing Crosby Show and NBC‘s Kentucky Jones (starring Dennis Weaver). In a 1965 episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (“The Bow-Wow Affair”), Harrington reprised his role as “Guido Panzini” (who he also played in the February 8, 1966 episode of McHale’s Navy and in the May 2, 1983 episode of One Day At A Time). That same year he appeared as Thomas Kelly in the unusually-titled episode, “There’s a Penguin in My Garden”, of the NBC education drama series, Mr. Novak, starring James Franciscus. In 1967, he appeared in the Elvis Presley film Easy Come, Easy Go. He also parodied Get Smart in an episode of F Troop, in which he played secret agent “B Wise”. From 1971 to 1974, he appeared in eleven episodes as District Attorney Charlie Giannetta of the ABC legal drama Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law, starring Arthur Hill in the title role.
Harrington worked as a voice actor, most notably providing the voice of The Inspector from 1965 to 1969 in the theatrical cartoon series of the same name. He was also the voice of Ray Palmer/the Atom on The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure in 1967. From 1965-69, Harrington portrayed the voices of both Inspector Jacques Clouseau and his Spanish Gendarmes sidekick Deux Deux in all of the original 34 animated episodes of The Inspector which were created by Mirisch Films and DePatie-Freleng and released via United Artists. They were later shown as part of the Pink Panther cartoon TV show. Another cartoon voice he did was that of Jon’s father on A Garfield Christmas Special. Harrington was also known for his uncanny impersonation of entertainer Lawrence Welk.
His first marriage, to Marjorie Gortner, with whom he had four children, ended in divorce. In 2001, he wed Sally Cleaver, an insurance executive.
Pat Harrington earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University (New York City, USA) in 1950. Pro wrestler The Honky Tonk Man based his gimmick on the character (Dwayne Schneider) that Harrington played on One Day at a Time (1975). Has a Masters Degree in Political Philosophy. Received his B.A. and M.A. from New York’s Fordham University. After the Korean War, where he served in the Air Force as an Intelligence Officer and achieved the rank of First Lieutenant, he went to work at NBC in New York. In addition to his skills as an actor, he is also an accomplished writer. His work includes twelve “One Day at a Time” scripts he wrote for the series.
His son, Patrick Harrington, is an advertising executive living in Tucson; second sonMichael Harrington, is an actor; Terry Harrington, is a pianist and composer; Tresa Harrington (aka Tresa-Caitlin Harrington) was a ballerina, whose credits include New York’s Joffrey Ballet.
He worked with his son, Michael Harrington, in the Who’s the Boss? (1984) episode,Who’s the Boss?: Guess Who’s Coming Forever? (1985).
For Pat Harrington Jr. the character of Dwayne F. Schneider refused to die as he reprised the role in a series of TV spots for Trak Auto parts in the late 80’s (LONG after One day at a time was canceled).
- August, 13, 1929
- New York, New York
- January, 06, 2016
- Los Angeles, California
Cause of Death
- Complications from a fall causing a brain hemorrhage (suffered with Alzheimer's disease)
- Burial Unknown