‘The Golden Girls’ actor Chick Vennera dead at 74

The iconic actor Chick Vennera died from cancer at his home in Burbank, California, Deadline reported.

The 74-year-old’s death was confirmed by his daughter, Nicky Vennera.

The multi-talented actor, singer and dancer starred on Broadway, in films, television series and animated series throughout his long career in Hollywood.

Vennera was best known for his disco dance scene performed atop parked cars in “Thank God It’s Friday” and his recurring role as Enrique/Pepe in the NBC classic “The Golden Girls,” starring Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty.

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.”

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.

Chick Vennera starred in film and television for three decades.
Chick Vennera starred in film and television for three decades.
Walt Disney Television via Getty

The budding actor was then cast in the national tour and Broadway production of “Grease.”

He then made the transition to television, where he continued his career with a long list of roles including “Lucas Tanner,” “Baretta” and “The Blue Knight” to his last television role on “Static Shock.” In 2005, the veteran actor went on to star in his last film “Glass Trap.”

While Vennera had his own successful career, he sometimes worked as a voice double for Joe Pesci
While Vennera had his own successful career, he sometimes worked as a voice double for Joe Pesci.
Walt Disney Television via Getty

During his 30-year career in film and television, he starred alongside other greats including Donna Summer in “Thank God It’s Friday,” Richard Gere in “Yanks” and Robert Redford in “The Milagro Beanfield War.”

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.

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