Chick Vennera, a veteran actor of stage and screen, has died from cancer at his home in Burbank, California.
The 74-year-old’s death was confirmed by his daughter, Nicky Vennera, Deadline reported.
The multi-talented actor, singer and dancer starred on Broadway, in films, television series and animated series throughout his nearly five decade career in Hollywood.
Vennera was best known for his disco dance scene performed atop parked cars in the ’70s cult classic “Thank God It’s Friday,” as well as his recurring role as Enrique/Pepe in NBC’s iconic sitcom “The Golden Girls,” co-starring opposite Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty.
Born Francis Vennera, the native New Yorker moved to California after high school to pursue acting. He began studying at the Pasadena Playhouse and, after a brief stint in the Army, he came back to the Golden State where he performed in nightclubs and with the Disney on Parade tour.
In 1973, the budding actor was cast in the national touring production of the smash Broadway musical “Grease.”
He soon made the transition to television, where he continued his career with a long list of roles throughout the 1970s, including David Hartman’s “Lucas Tanner,” Robert Blake’s “Baretta” and George Kennedy’s “The Blue Knight,” up to his last television role on 2004’s DC Comics series “Static Shock.”
During his 30-year career in film and television, he starred alongside greats including Donna Summer and Debra Winger in 1978’s Oscar-winning “Thank God It’s Friday,” Richard Gere in the 1979 WWII romantic epic “Yanks” and Robert Redford in 1988’s magical farmer comedy-drama “The Milagro Beanfield War.”
In 2005, the veteran actor appeared in his last indie film, “Glass Trap,” with cult icons C. Thomas Howell and Stella Stevens.
Among his 74 acting credits, he also voiced characters for the “Animaniacs,” “Batman Beyond,” “The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest” and “Pinky and the Brain.”
After retiring from the screen, Vennera went on to share his talents founding and teaching at Los Angeles’ Renegade Theatre and Film Group in 2009. He is survived by his daughter and wife, Suzanne Vennera.