- - Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The actor best known as the nerdy high-school student Arnold Horshack on “Welcome Back, Kotter,” has died in Florida.

Ron Palillo was 63.

Mr. Palillo’s friend, Karen Poindexter, said he died early Tuesday in Palm Beach Gardens of an apparent heart attack.

Mr. Palillo was forever remembered for the character he played from 1975 to 1979 on the ABC sitcom: a nasally Brooklyn teen whose hand shot skyward and who barked out a string of “Ooohs” when a teacher posed a question.

Though his co-star on the show, John Travolta, went on to fame, Mr. Palillo struggled to expand beyond his role as Horshack.

Of Horshack, Mr. Palillo once told an interviewer from the Birmingham News: “While I loved him, I really loved him, I didn’t want to do him forever.”

‘70s murder conviction keeps Dog out of U.K.

Duane “Dog” Chapman has his bags packed for London, but a murder conviction from the late 1970s is keeping him out of the United Kingdom.

The reality television star from the show “Dog the Bounty Hunter” was to appear on another reality show, “Celebrity Big Brother,” but he has been denied a visa.

“It’s something that follows you the rest of your life, no matter who you become or who you are,” Mr. Chapman, 59, said Monday from Honolulu, where he lives. “I’m not proud of it.”

He was 23 in Pampa, Texas, in 1976 when he was in a car outside a house where a friend had gone inside to buy marijuana, he explained. The friend got into an argument with the dealer and shot him.

“In Texas in the ‘70s, if you were present, you were just as guilty,” Mr. Chapman said. He and the others in the group all were found guilty of murder. Mr. Chapman was sentenced to five years in prison and was paroled after 18 months.

“I shouldn’t have went and I shouldn’t have been the person I was back then,” he said.

But he said he’s frustrated that it’s keeping him from visiting his fans in the U.K.

“It feels terrible. I’m dumbfounded. I can’t believe it, after all these years, especially when we’ve been on television for the past nine years.”

While he’s been denied a visa to visit the UK in the past, his temporary worker visa application notes he has traveled outside the United States, including to Mexico, where he went to capture serial rapist and fugitive Andrew Luster in 2003.

Former Pampa Police Department Officer Charles Love, who was the responding officer in 1976, submitted a declaration saying that “Chapman’s role in the crime was minor,” and that he was a model inmate until he was granted early release.

Regardless of whether it will sway the U.K. government, Mr. Chapman said he has waited three decades for that statement, which he sees as vindication. “I’m so grateful for it,” he said, getting emotional. “I have been telling the truth.”

Britain’s Home Office said in a statement Tuesday it doesn’t comment on individual cases: “All visa applicants are required to declare any criminal convictions when applying to come to the UK. The UK Border Agency subjects all applications for visas to the same rigorous checks.”

According to the U.K. Border Agency’s refusal notice provided by the Chapmans, the visa was denied because of the conviction and because his application didn’t include enough information about his visit.

Production company Endemol UK Limited submitted a letter saying it is sponsoring Mr. Chapman’s trip and that he was selected for the show “due to his public interest in his lifestyle and celebrity personality.”

Mr. Chapman is appealing the visa denial and hoping for a last-minute decision, even though the show was to start to this week.

His wife, Beth Chapman, called the denial “insulting” in light of his charity work. “For 30 years he’s lived with the X on his back,” she said. “Society just doesn’t let it go.”

A&E decided not to renew Mr. Chapman’s series after eight seasons. He said that while he works to get the show back on the air, he was relying on the U.K. show and the other gigs he lined up in London.

“I’ve got to make a living. It’s really stunned us financially,” he said.

Miley Cyrus in talks for ‘Two and a Half Men’ role

Miley Cyrus may be returning to the small screen.

The former “Hannah Montana” star is near a deal to be a guest star on CBS’ “Two and a Half Men.”

The singer-actress, who debuted an edgy new haircut Monday, would play a love interest for Angus T. Jones’ Jake on the upcoming 10th season of the Chuck Lorre comedy. It was unclear whether Miss Cyrus’ deal would stretch beyond one episode.

The gig comes after the singer-songwriter segued into film with voice work on 2008’s “Bolt” and 2010’s “The Last Song,” with the actress also releasing her most recent studio album “Can’t Be Tamed” the same year.

Miss Cyrus would join “True Blood’s” Brit Morgan as upcoming guest stars on the comedy, with the latter set to romance Ashton Kutcher’s Walden on the season 10 premiere, set to air Sept. 27 at 8:30 p.m.

Injuries keep Chenoweth from ‘Good Wife’ role

Kristin Chenoweth said injuries she sustained while filming the CBS legal drama “The Good Wife” last month will prevent her from returning to the show.

In a statement issued Monday she expressed “deep regret” she’ll be unable to return in her recurring role “at this time.” She will appear in the season premiere, airing Sept. 30.

The 44-year-old actress was hit on the head by a piece of equipment while on the show’s New York City set July 11. She was briefly hospitalized.

She said she’s “getting better slowly.”

Miss Chenoweth won a Tony Award for her role in Broadway’s “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and an Emmy for her work on “Pushing Daisies.” Last season, she starred in the short-lived series “GCB.”

• Compiled from Web and wire reports

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