Pat Harrington, the Super on ‘One Day at a Time,’ Dies at 86

Pat Harrington, the Super on ‘One Day at a Time,’ Dies at 86

Pat Harrington Jr., an Emmy-winning character actor best known as Schneider, the building superintendent and would-be Lothario on the popular sitcom “One Day at a Time,” died on Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 86.

The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease and a recent fall, his manager, Phil Brock, said.

Broadcast on CBS from 1975 to 1984, “One Day at a Time,” developed by Norman Lear, centered on the life of a divorced working mother, played by Bonnie Franklin, and her two daughters, played by Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli.

Presiding over the family’s Indianapolis apartment building was Dwayne F. Schneider — known routinely by his last name — whose ubiquitous, oleaginous presence quickly became a comic fixture of the show.

Mr. Harrington played Schneider as a benign, pencil-mustachioed lecher, often attired in an undershirt and a heavily laden tool belt — which, in an inspired moment, Mr. Harrington had bought from one of the show’s electricians before his first scenes were shot.

The character’s amorous conquests, the scripts made clear, may well have existed chiefly in his own mind.

“Let me put it this way,” Schneider says, with typical hyperbole, in one episode. “The ladies in this building don’t call me ‘super’ for nothing.”

For his work as Schneider, Mr. Harrington won a Golden Globe Award in 1981 and an Emmy in 1984.

Long before “One Day at a Time,” Mr. Harrington had created another character who became a television comedy staple: Guido Panzini, a linguistically maladroit Italian golf pro, whose fractured-English monologues enlivened shows hosted by Jack Paar and Steve Allen.

Mr. Harrington’s success on those shows — and, in the decades that followed, on many others, playing a variety of characters — was all the more striking in that his parents had forbidden him from entering show business in the first place.

The son of a vaudevillian, Daniel Patrick Harrington Jr. was born in Manhattan on Aug. 13, 1929. Mindful of the uncertainties of the theatrical life, his parents enjoined him from pursuing it.

The young Mr. Harrington attended the La Salle Military Academy, a preparatory school in Oakdale, on Long Island. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and government from Fordham University, followed by a master’s in political philosophy there.

After serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, he took a job as an advertising salesman with NBC in New York. He was always verbally dexterous, and during those years, almost unbidden, Guido emerged.

“I used Panzini as a sales tool,” Mr. Harrington told The Miami Herald in 1983. “ ‘I’d like you to meet Guido Panzini, the head of the Italian Bovine Commission.’ I’d put clients on, and they enjoyed it.”

One night in the late 1950s, Mr. Harrington was channeling Guido at the bar at Toots Shor’s, the Midtown restaurant. He was overheard by Jonathan Winters, who was about to fill in as the host of Mr. Paar’s late-night show. Mr. Winters invited Mr. Harrington to reprise the character on the air.

He went on to play Guido dozens of times on the show, and also portrayed him on Mr. Allen’s show.

“On the Paar show, I was never seen as myself,” Mr. Harrington told The Miami Herald. “I was billed only as Guido. Paar and I played it to the teeth.”

Mr. Harrington was seen on scores of other TV shows, among them “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law,” an early-’70s series on which he had a recurring role as a district attorney. As a voice actor, he was heard on many animated series. He also wrote several episodes of “One Day at a Time.”

His film credits include “The Wheeler Dealers” (1963) and “Move Over, Darling” (1963), both starring James Garner; “The President’s Analyst” (1967), starring James Coburn; and “Easy Come, Easy Go” (1967), starring Elvis Presley.

In the late 1990s he played Cap’n Andy in a national touring production of “Show Boat,” directed by Hal Prince.

Mr. Harrington’s first marriage, to Marjorie Gortner, ended in divorce. His survivors include his second wife, Sally Cleaver; two sons, Patrick and Michael, and two daughters, Terry and Tresa, all from his first marriage; and four grandchildren.

Bonnie Franklin died in 2013.

As well known as Mr. Harrington became for Schneider, he never fully abandoned his other alter ego. Over time, Guido resurfaced on several shows, including “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” “McHale’s Navy” and, in a 1983 episode co-written by Mr. Harrington, “One Day at a Time,” on which Guido and Schneider square off as rivals in love.

From the very first, Mr. Harrington played Guido with such brio that at least some viewers were completely taken in. After one of his appearances with Mr. Paar, he told The Miami Herald, the producer received a telephone call from federal immigration officials.

“They said,” Mr. Harrington recalled, “ ‘We have no date of entry or port of entry on this Guido Panzini.’ ”

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