Richard Moll, ‘Night Court’ actor, dead at 80

Richard Moll, a veteran character and voice actor best known for his role as the bailiff on the original version of NBC’s “Night Court,” has died, according to Jeff Sanderson, a spokesperson for the family. He was 80.

Moll died peacefully on October 26 at his home in Big Bear Lake, CA, a statement said.

Moll was born in Pasadena, California and attended the University of California, Berkeley, according to the Turner Classic Movies website.

When he began acting, his first jobs were in commercials and bit parts on television shows. Among his early credits were roles on “Welcome Back, Kotter” and “The Rockford Files.” On the former, he played a character simply credited as “Big Thug.”

Indeed he was big – standing at 6’8,” with a hulking presence. In the real world, though, Moll wasn’t as likely to be recognized by “Night Court” viewers if he was sporting a full head of hair. His “Night Court” character, Bull Shannon, was bald, big-hearted and at times a little dense, though not enough to dull his charm or command of moments.

“Night Court,” inarguably Moll’s most notable role, ran for nine seasons on NBC from 1984-1992. The network revived the series this year, with John Larroquette reprising his role from the original show. Moll never appeared on the new iteration.

Following the show’s run, Moll earned credits in movies like “Jingle All the Way” and “Scary Movie 2” and TV shows including “Smallville” and “Spider-Man: The Animated Series.” In fact, voice work was a large part of his post-“Night Court” career. He was the voice of Two-Face in “Batman: The Animated Series” and “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” and had multiple roles in video games.

Speaking to the Tampa Bay Times in 1988, Moll admitted though his comedy was gaining him attention at the time, he had no desire to focus solely on similar roles.

“I want to get into playing heavies again,” he said. “I don’t want to be known purely as a comic actor. I love playing bad guys … it’s such fun.”

Indeed, Moll also had a serious side. In 1989, he testified before the House Select Committee on Aging for more funding for Alzheimer’s Disease research. His father struggled with the disease.

Moll loved the outdoors and spent his retirement in the San Bernardino mountain community of Big Bear Lake. He is survived by his former wife, two children and two stepchildren.

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