The Genius of David Lander Behind the Genius of Squiggy

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David Lander today

It was more than just a hello. It was a guarantee of a good time with a friend who sauntered through the door as regularly as a good heartbeat always at the wrong moment and always with good will.

David says it was set up as a way to get Squiggy in the door and into the apartment where he and Lenny could wreak unintentional havoc. David had doubts that the joke would hold, but Squiggy was so lovable as a fellow totally unaware of his own confusion that he somehow lightened the burden of ours.

David Lander as the Squiggy you know from television’s hit Laverne and Shirley

David knew at the age of 10 he wanted to be an actor; says that although he had perfect parents (father was the chairman of a school math department and his mother was a guidance counselor), there was nothing else he could do, because, in his words, he was no good at school. Turns out he was good at a lot that led to his list of successes as a very in-demand actor, writer, baseball scout and more.

When he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis after the final episode of Laverne and Shirley, the first thing he did, in fear of losing work, was to make sure no one would know about it. For 15 years he kept silent about it, not even telling his partner Michael McKean and the two of them had developed Lenny and Squiggy in college.

Multiple Sclerosis is hard to diagnose, and there is no cure. For a vital guide in what not to say, listen to David on the subject of some of the useless thing that well-meaning people say in response to the news of a diagnosis. When David did go public with his condition, he went into high gear to help others. His generosity, candor and book Fall Down Laughing: How Squiggy Caught Multiple Sclerosis and Didn’t Tell Nobody. Best to hear this history in David’s own voice, a voice that carries generosity, intelligence, strength and a captivating charm that could be no one else’s.

For a treat in devoted loving fatherhood, listen to David talk about his daughter the actress Natalie Lander. His admiration for her diligence and talent says a lot about Natalie and a lot about David.

Love letters? David recalls some important ones he had. Worth hearing about. Now, maybe to his wife or daughter. He does have so much to say that will be a pot of gold when found by future generations.

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