(written from a Production point of view)
David Leonard Landau (22 June 1947 – 4 December 2020; age 73), better known as David L. Lander or David Lander, was the actor who played the Ferengi tactical officer of the Kreechta in the Star Trek: The Next Generation second season episode "Peak Performance". He is perhaps best known for playing Andrew "Squiggy" Squiggman opposite Michael McKean's Lenny Kosnowski on the popular situation comedy series Laverne & Shirley from 1976 through 1982.
Lander was born in Brooklyn, New York, on 22 June 1947. He lived until his death with his wife, Kathy Fields, in Thousand Oaks, California.
He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on 15 May 1984. He went public with his illness in 1999, and had become a spokesman for those suffering from multiple sclerosis. He served as the Goodwill Ambassador of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In 2002, he published his autobiography, Fall Down Laughing: How Squiggy Caught Multiple Sclerosis and Didn't Tell Nobody.
In addition to his work as an actor and MS spokesman, Lander worked as a baseball scout for the Seattle Mariners. He previously scouted for the Anaheim Angels.
Work with Michael McKean
Before they paired up on Laverne & Shirley, Lander and Star Trek: Voyager guest star Michael McKean attended acting classes together at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they first developed the characters of Lenny and Squiggy. After graduating from CMU in the 1960s, Lander and McKean joined the Los Angeles-based comedy group called The Credibility Gap. They remained with the group until it disbanded in 1976, after which they joined the cast of Laverne & Shirley. On this series, their Lenny and Squiggy characters were best friends and roommates who lived in the apartment above the title characters, whom they would regularly pester. Lander and McKean also wrote two episodes of the show.
Lander and McKean continued performing together outside of their weekly series, as well. In 1979, the duo appeared in Steven Spielberg's World War II comedy 1941, as did Elisha Cook and Dick Miller. In 1980, they released an album as Lenny and Squiggy entitled Lenny and the Squigtones. That same year, they had supporting roles in Robert Zemeckis' comedy film, Used Cars, co-starring with Gerrit Graham.
They also made appearances together on numerous television shows, including The Merv Griffin Show, Hollywood Squares, and Fridays. They even made cameo appearances as Lenny and Squiggy on Happy Days and Saturday Night Live. They later appeared on series such as Getting by and The Weird Al Show. On the latter, they and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine guest star David Bowe were among those playing a group of miners.
In addition, the duo worked together on several animated television series, most notably Disney's Jungle Cubs (1996-98), in which they voiced a pair of vultures, and 101 Dalmatians (1997-98), where they voiced Cruella de Vil's henchmen, Horace (Lander) and Jasper (McKean). They can also be heard as a pair of birds in the 2001 film Dr. Dolittle 2. They later lent their voices to a 2007 episode of Cartoon Network's Grim & Evil, along with Henry Gibson and Armin Shimerman.
After Lander first announced he was suffering from multiple sclerosis, he and McKean appeared on numerous daytime talk shows to raise awareness of the disease. They also made an MS-related public service announcement together in 2003.
Other TV and film credits
Without McKean, Lander made guest appearances on such television series as The Bob Newhart Show (starring John Fiedler), Barney Miller (with Ron Glass, James Gregory, and Gregory Sierra), The Love Boat (with Ben Vereen), Highway to Heaven (with Allan Miller and David Spielberg), Matlock (with Robert Pine), Freddy's Nightmares (with Mary Crosby and Tracey Walter), Head of the Class (starring Jeannetta Arnette), The Nanny (with Daniel Davis and David Bowe), and Homeboys in Outer Space (opposite Ethan Phillips). He also played the recurring role of Mr. Pinkle on Twin Peaks, acting alongside Mädchen Amick, Brenda Strong, and Ray Wise.
Lander was a series regular on the short-lived comedy On the Air, which also starred Miguel Ferrer. In 1996, Lander starred as mechanic Elvis Kryzcewski on the USA Network drama series Pacific Blue. Although Lander left the series after the first 13 episodes, he returned for a fourteenth the following year. Also he 1996, he appeared (as himself) on a episode of The Drew Carey Show, which co-starred Diedrich Bader.
Lander appeared in many comedy films over the years. One of his earliest was 1980's Wholly Moses!, which also featured fellow Ferengi performer Andrea Martin. Later, he had a supporting role in 1985's The Man with One Red Shoe, along with Gerrit Graham, Richard McGonagle, David Selburg, and David Ogden Stiers. He then co-starred with William Windom in 1987's Funland and played the role of Squirt in 1990's Masters of Menace. The latter also featured the aforementioned David Bowe and Robert Costanzo.
Ten years later, Lander reprised his Laverne & Shirley character of Squiggy, now a high school principal, in the hit 2000 spoof Scary Movie. The following year, he played a reverend in Say It Isn't So (co-starring Brent Hinkley, Courtney Peldon, Richard Riehle, and Sarah Silverman), and in 2002, he acted alongside Wil Wheaton, Michelle Phillips, and a host of other television stars in the surreal independent comedy Jane White Is Sick & Twisted. More recently, Lander appeared in the Tim Allen films Christmas with the Kranks (2004) and Zoom (2006).
In addition to his live-action roles, Lander voiced several animated characters in both television and film. One of his earliest voice-over roles was that of Jerry Lewis in the Filmation animated series Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down, which ran on ABC from 1970 through 1972. He later voiced the role of Milo De Venus on the animated CBS series Galaxy High School (1986-87) and voiced the character of Weasel on Disney's TaleSpin. Later still, he supplied the voices of principal characters in the Nickelodeon series 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd and Oswald.
Lander voiced the character of Nitro in the "Appointment in Crime Alley" episode of Batman: The Animated Series, which also featured the voices of Loren Lester and Diana Muldaur. Lander was also the voice of Da Shrimp in two episodes of Disney's TV spin-off of The Little Mermaid, which featured the voice of Kenneth Mars as Triton. Lander's subsequent TV voice-over credits include episodes of Superman (with Clancy Brown and Sherman Howard), Recess (with Andrea Martin), and an episode of The Simpsons in which he played himself (with his appearance modeled on his iconic character of Squiggy).
On film, Lander voiced Smart Ass, the lead Weasel working for Christopher Lloyd's Judge Doom, in the 1988 contemporary classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit. (Joanna Cassidy also starred in this movie.) In Tom and Jerry: The Movie, released in 1992, Lander portrayed Frankie Da Flea, the miniature pal of Puggsy the dog. Michael Bell, Henry Gibson, and Tony Jay lent their voices to this production, as well.
In addition, Lander was heard as a radio sportscaster in the acclaimed baseball comedy A League of Their Own, directed by his Laverne & Shirley castmate, Penny Marshall, and starring Voyager guest actress Lori Petty. Lander later voiced Thumper in Disney/Pixar's hit 1998 film A Bug's Life, which was followed by voice-over roles in the films Titan A.E. (with Ron Perlman and Charles Rocket) and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (along with Andrea Martin and TNG star Patrick Stewart).
In 2009, Lander was one of the many Star Trek alumni to voice a character in the direct-to-video movie Green Lantern: First Flight, which features characters from DC Comics magazines. Others who provided voices for this production include Olivia d'Abo, Larry Drake, Victor Garber, John Larroquette, Richard McGonagle, William Schallert, Kurtwood Smith, and Malachi Throne.