Michaly “Michu” Meszaros, a Hungarian-born circus performer who found a new career in TV and film after emigrating to the U.S., has died. He had reportedly been in a coma for the past week after being found unresponsive at his home in Los Angeles, TV Guide reports. He was 76.
Meszaros began his career in the circus as a teenager, where he appeared under the banner of “the smallest man on Earth.” (He stood only 33 inches tall as an adult.) Eventually, he took a job with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, which brought him to the U.S. (It was during his run with Ringling Bros. that Meszaros met and befriended Michael Jackson, one of the more colorful details from Meszaros’ colorful life.) His film career began with a role in Anthony Hickox’s underrated 1988 horror movie Waxwork, but he’s best known for his run as the title character on the NBC sitcom ALF. Meszaros didn’t provide the voice for the cat-eating ”Alien Life Form,” but he did don the furry suit as the “walk-around” ALF.
After ALF ended, Meszaros appeared in a handful of other horror movies, music videos, and sitcoms, but poor health prevented him from performing much in his later years. His manager has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help cover his medical expenses.