Max Wright: Star of Alf and Buffalo Bill dies aged 75

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Max Wright played the father, Willie Tanner, in 80s sitcom Alf

Actor Max Wright has died aged 75 after a long battle with cancer, his family has confirmed.

He was well known for playing Willie Tanner, the adoptive father of an alien, in the hit 1980s sitcom ALF.

However, Friends fans may remember him better as the pre-Gunther, original sour-faced manager of coffee house Central Perk.

Wright played Rachel’s boss Terry ‘The Jerk’ in the first two seasons, while she worked there as a waitress.

He famously banned Phoebe from playing live music for customers because her songs were so terrible.

“Rachel, it’s not that your friend is bad, it’s that she’s so bad she makes me want to put my finger through my eye into my brain and swirl it around,” he said when explaining to Jennifer Aniston’s character why Phoebe could no longer play.

However, Terry only appeared in the first two seasons of Friends, before Gunther, played by James Michael Taylor, took over as the main character who worked at Central Perk.

Wright’s biggest hit, Alf, aired from 1986 to 1990, and saw the late Michu Meszaros wearing a full-body suit to portray the titular character.

The sitcom followed the friendly alien who crash-landed in the garage of a suburban middle-class family in America.

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Getty Images

Image caption

Max Wright played the original manager of Central Perk, the coffee house inl sitcom Friends

Wright’s acting career began in 1974, and he had more than 60 acting credits to his name.

He also starred in 26 episodes of Buffalo Bill, and had small roles in Mad About You, Open All Night, Cheers and Murder, She Wrote. However, he has not appeared on screen since 2005.

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane led the tributes to Wright on social media, tweeting: “RIP Max Wright – a hilarious and talented actor. Sad news to hear of his passing. Who will keep Alf in check now?”

“I grew up watching [Alf]. Thanks for the laughs, Max Wright,” tweeted US blogger Perez Hilton.

Wright was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 1995, but later went into remission.

He died at home in Hermosa Beach, California and is survived by his two children, Ben and Daisy. His wife Linda Ybarrondo, whom he married in 1965, died two years ago.

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