The Heartbreaking Death Of Golden Girls Star Chick Vennera

As every "Golden Girls" fan undoubtedly knows, the 80's sitcom was far ahead of its time where it came to dealing candidly with difficult social issues. Everything from gay rights to the AIDS epidemic to teen motherhood was tackled beautifully and meaningfully during the run of the show. There was also an episode called "Fiddler on the Ropes," which dealt heavily with racism and discrimination against hispanic immigrants, specifically, at the time, from Cuba (via Outsider). In the episode, actor Chick Vennera played a Cuban man who was working as a boxer to earn enough money to be able to attend the Julliard School of Music as a violinist. It was a powerful episode. He also appeared in later episodes as Rose's TV host boss, Enrique. 

Sadly, Vennera passed away on Wednesday at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer (via The Daily Mail). Today he is being remembered for his role on the "Golden Girls" and also for other memorable roles throughout a successful career.   

Chick Vennera's career and legacy

Chick Vennera was born in New York and given the name Francis Vennera (via Deadline). In order to pursue his dreams of lighting up stage and screen, a young Vennera moved to California after he graduated high school, where he studied at the Pasadena Playhouse. His acting career was interrupted by a stint in the army, but resumed when he moved back to California and sang in nightclubs. 

He later went on to sing and dance in the Disney Parade Tour, toured with the national company of "Grease," and also performed in "Grease" on Broadway. Even with all of this under his belt, however, he is still likely best known for his show-stopping performance in the 1978 disco comedy "Thank God It's Friday," in which he danced atop parked cars and starred alongside Donna Summer and Jeff Goldblum. He is also known for founding and teaching at the Los Angeles Renegade Theatre and Film Group. 

Chick Vennera is survived by his wife Suzanne and his adult daughter Nicky, who confirmed he passed peacefully at his own home in Burbank, CA.