Max Wright

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Max Wright
Wright as he appeared in 1988 on ALF
George Edward Maxwell Wright

(1943-08-02)August 2, 1943
DiedJune 26, 2019(2019-06-26) (aged 75)
Years active1974–2005
Linda Ybarrondo
(m. 1965; died 2017)

George Edward Maxwell Wright (August 2, 1943 – June 26, 2019) known professionally as Max Wright, was an American actor, known for his role as Willie Tanner on the sitcom ALF (1986–1990).

Early life[edit]

Wright was born August 2, 1943 in Detroit, Michigan.


Film and television[edit]

Wright made supporting appearances on television shows such as WKRP in Cincinnati,[1] and was a regular cast member on Misfits of Science,[2] AfterMASH,[3] Buffalo Bill,[4] and The Norm Show,[2] and the made-for-TV adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand.[5] He appeared in the first and second seasons of the sitcom Friends as Terry, the manager of Central Perk.[4] He played Günter Wendt in the 1998 HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon[6] and Dr. Josef Mengele in Playing for Time.[7]


From 1986 to 1990, Wright appeared in the sitcom ALF as Willie Tanner, a typical father of a middle-class family, who finds an alien who has crash-landed on Earth. Despite becoming his best-known performance, the actor despised the role due to its huge technical demands and the fact that he, a human, played a supporting character for an "inanimate object". "It was hard work and very grim", he stated in a 2000 interview to People.[8] He was also, reportedly, very happy when the show was canceled in 1990. "I was hugely eager to have it over with", he said in the same interview. According to his co-star in the show, Anne Schedeen, "there was one take, and Max walked off the set, went to his dressing room, got his bags, went to his car and disappeared. Nobody had to say, ‘Wrap,’ and there were no goodbyes". However, Wright later admitted that as the years passed he looked back at ALF with less animosity and conceded that "It doesn't matter what I felt or what the days were like, ALF brought people a lot of joy."[8]


Wright also had a stage career. In 1968, he appeared in the original production of The Great White Hope at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.[1] In 1998, he appeared on Broadway in Ivanov, which garnered him a Tony nomination,[1] and played Sir Andrew in Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.[9] In 2007, he acted at the JET (Jewish Ensemble Theatre) in Detroit[10] and in the production of No Man's Land at the American Repertory Theater.[11] He also appeared in The Public Theater's 2010 production of The Winter's Tale and The Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare in the Park festivals.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Wright was married to Linda Ybarrondo from 1965 until her death from breast cancer in 2017. The couple had two children.[2][4][13]

In 1995, he was diagnosed with lymphoma, which was successfully treated and remained in remission until 2019.[14] He died from the disease on June 26, 2019, at the age of 75 at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey.[14][15][16][17]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1979 Last Embrace Second Commuter
All That Jazz Joshua Penn Drama-musical film directed by Bob Fosse and written by Robert Alan Aurthur & Fosse [6]
1980 Simon Leon Hundertwasser Comedy-science fiction film directed ans written by Marshall Brickman
1981 Reds Floyd Dell Biographical-historical drama directed by Warren Beatty and written by Beatty & Trevor Griffiths
1983 The Sting II Floor Manager Crime film directed by Jeremy Paul Kagan
1985 Fraternity Vacation Millard Tvedt Comedy film directed by James Frawley
1986 Touch and Go Lester Romantic film directed by Robert Mandel
Soul Man Dr. Aronson Romantic film directed by Steve Miner
1988 Going to the Chapel Howard Haldane Comedy film directed by Paul Lynch [19]
1994 The Shadow Berger Action-adventure film directed by Russell Mulcahy [6]
1995 Grumpier Old Men County Health Inspector Comedy film directed by Howard Deutch
1999 A Midsummer Night's Dream Robin Starveling
Snow Falling on Cedars Horace Whaley
2002 Easter Zaddock Pratt [21]



  1. ^ a b c Legaspi, Althea (June 27, 2019). "Max Wright, 'Alf' Star and Veteran Actor, Dead at 75". Rolling Stones. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Alexander, Bryan (June 27, 2019). "Max Wright, who played Willie Tanner on TV's 'ALF', dies at 75". USA Today. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  3. ^ Didymus, John Thomas (June 27, 2019). "ALF star Max Wright dead at 75: Cause of death linked to cancer". Monsters & Critics. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Max Wright: Star of Alf and Buffalo Bill dies aged 75". BBC. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  5. ^ Victoria Clark, Anne (June 26, 2019). "ALF Star Max Wright Has Passed Away". Vulture. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Max Wright". TV Guide. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Playing for Time". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Alf: 1986–1990". People. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew (June 27, 2019). "Max Wright, Tony Nominee and Dad on TV's Alf, Dies at 75". Playbill. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  10. ^ "A beautiful production opens JET season". Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2010-08-04.
  11. ^ "No Man's Land".
  12. ^ "The Public Theater's website". 2006-08-22. Archived from the original on 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
  13. ^ Haring, Bruce (June 26, 2019). "Max Wright Dies: Father On '80s Sitcom 'Alf' Was 75". Deadline Hollywood. United States: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  14. ^ a b Merrett, Robyn (June 26, 2019). "ALF Star Max Wright Dies at 75 Following Decades-Long Battle with Lymphoma". People. United States: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  15. ^ Padnani, Amisha (July 2, 2019). "Max Wright, Who Went From Theater Roles to 'ALF,' Dies at 75". The New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  16. ^ Anderson, Natasha (June 26, 2019). "Report: 'Alf' star Max Wright passes away at 75". WJW. Cleveland: Tribune Broadcasting. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  17. ^ Barnes, Mike (26 June 2019). "Max Wright, Who Played the Dad on 'ALF,' Dies at 75". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
  18. ^ Bloom, Murray Teigh (1977). The 13th Man. London: Macmillan Publishers. ASIN B001KJ8SYU.
  19. ^ "Going to the Chapel". Rotten Tomatoes. United States: Fandango Media. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  20. ^ Guterson, David (1995). Snow Falling on Cedars (1st ed.). New York City: Vintage Books. ISBN 978-0679764021.
  21. ^ McCarthy, Todd (April 23, 2003). "Easter". Variety. United States: Variety Media, LLC. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved June 28, 2019.

External links[edit]