By Mike Barnes and Duane Byrge
Pat Harrington Jr., who played the cocky superintendent Dwayne Schneider on the CBS sitcom One Day at a Time, has died. He was 86.
Harrington, who won a Golden Globe in 1981 and an Emmy Award in 1984 for his work on the show, died Wednesday night in Los Angeles surrounded by his family, his daughters Tresa and Terry reported on Facebook. Their father had been suffering from Alzheimer’s and recently had been hospitalized after a fall.
One Day at a Time, which aired from December 1975 to May 1984, starred Bonnie Franklin as a divorced mom raising two teenage girls (Mackenzie Phillips, Valerie Bertinelli) in an apartment in Indianapolis.
With his thin mustache, tool belt, blue vest and a pack of cigarettes in the rolled-up sleeve of his T-shirt, Harrington’s Schneider often entered unannounced into the ladies’ home and constantly stole scenes on the sitcom, which, befitting a Norman Lear production, explored “serious” issues.
“He turned out to be the comic strength of the show,” Lear once said.
Schneider also was convinced women could not resist his charms. “You really think you’re hot stuff,” Franklin’s Ann Romero said to him. “Let me put it this way,” he replied. “The ladies in this building don’t call me ‘super’ for nothing.”
In 2012, Harrington made his final onscreen appearance, appearing as the manager of an apartment building on Bertinelli’s Hot in Cleveland.
Harrington also played a nightclub friend of Danny Williams (Danny Thomas) who marries the entertainer’s daughter, Terry (Penney Parker, who had replaced Sherry Jackson), on the 1959-60 season of The Danny Thomas Show, and he was District Attorney Charlie Gianetta on the 1970s ABC drama Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law.
Daniel Patrick Harrington Jr. was born in New York City on Aug. 13, 1929, and attended La Salle Military Academy. His Montreal-born father was an actor who appeared in several Broadway plays, including the 1940s Cole Porter production Panama Hattie. His parents insisted he not enter show business.
The younger Harrington graduated with a B.A. from Fordham University, where he majored in philosophy and government, then received a masters in political philosophy from the Bronx school in 1952.
After a stint in the Air Force during the Korean War, Harrington sold ads for NBC. While regaling network staffers at a nearby watering hole with his impersonation of an Italian golfer, Harrington was spotted by Jonathan Winters, who at the time was a frequent guest host on Jack Paar’s The Tonight Show.
At Winters’ invitation, Harrington appeared on the program as that comic character, Guido Panzini, telling outrageous stories in broken English about his service on an Italian submarine during World War II. He went on to appear dozens of times as Panzini on Paar’s program as well as on The Steve Allen Show during the comic’s funny “Man on the Street” segments (which also featured Bill Dana, Don Knotts, Tom Poston, Louis Nye and others).
Harrington worked opposite James Garner in the 1963 films The Wheeler Dealers and Move Over, Darling and also showed up on the big screen in Easy Come, Easy Go (1967) with Elvis Presley, The President’s Analyst (1967) with James Coburn, 2000 Years Later (1969) with Terry-Thomas and The Candidate (1972) with Robert Redford.
On television, Harrington appeared on many game shows and on such series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Flying Nun, F Troop, The Munsters, The Rookies, McMillan and Wife, The Wayans Bros., Murder, She Wrote and Curb Your Enthusiasm.