Family sources told TMZ the the veteran actor passed away in his home in Hermosa Beach, California. For years, Wright battled with cancer. In 1995, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, but had been in remission for a long time. His wife, Linda Ybarrondo, had passed away on March 8, 2017, from breast cancer. Married since 1965, the couple stayed together for 52 years, and had two children together, Ben and Daisy.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Max became famous as Willie Tanner on NBC’s ALF, which aired from 1986 to 1990. But continued to work steadily in Hollywood, appearing on numerous popular series such as Buffalo Bill, The Drew Carey Show, Cheers, Ghostwriter, Mad About You, Misfits of Science, Dudley and Norm. He also appeared in two episodes of Friends.
Wright actually wasn’t a huge fan of the show that put him on the map. In fact, he despised working second fiddle to a fuzzy puppet. He told People, “It was hard work and very grim,” and that by the end of the show’s run, “I was hugely eager to have it over with.” Show creator Paul Fusco added, “Max had a difficult thing to do, playing straight man against ALF. But there was great chemistry between Max’s character and ALF.”
Later in life, Max had a change of heart in his opinion of the show. He said, “It doesn’t matter what I felt or what the days were like. ALF brought people a lot of joy. They adored it.”
The actor’s movie credits include Soul Man, The Shadow, Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz, Reds, and The Sting II. The last project he worked on was in 2005, entitled Back to Norm, a comedy pilot with Norm MacDonald, Robert Schneider and Janet Varney.
Max performed on stage, too. In 1998, he was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Actor for his role in Anton Chekhov’s play, Ivanov. In July 2010, he played a shepherd in A Winter’s Tale for New York City’s popular summer series “Shakespeare in the Park.”
Michu Meszaros, the man inside the fuzzy suit who played Alf alongside Wright, passed away at age 76 in 2016. Liz Sheridan, who played Raquel Ochmonek on the hit series, is still alive at age 90. She is now best known for playing Jerry Seinfeld’s mother on another former hit NBC show, Seinfeld.