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Benji Gregory, child star of ‘ALF’, dead at 46

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Benji Gregory next to ALF (Credit: NBC)

Benji Gregory, who starred as son Brian Tanner on the 1980s sitcom ALF in which a family shelters an alien, has died in Arizona of a suspected heatstroke, according to his family. He was 46 years old.

Gregory was found dead along with his service dog Hans inside a car in Peoria, Arizona on June 13, according to his sister Rebecca Hertzberg-Pfaffinger, who announced his death on Wednesday night.

Rebecca said Gregory was found in the parking lot of a Chase bank but never made it out of his car. “We believe he went there the evening of the 12th to deposit some residuals,” she said. “He fell asleep and died from vehicular heatstroke.”

Gregory was suffering from depression, bipolar disorder and a sleep disorder which kept him awake for days, Rebecca said. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office is still investigating the official cause of death.

“Ben was a great Son, Brother and Uncle. He was fun to be around and made us laugh quite often,” Rebecca said in a Facebook post. “Still, going through his things, I find myself laughing at little videos or notes of his, in between crying.”

Gregory appeared in nearly every episode of ALF, which aired on NBC from 1986 to 1990. Although he also appeared on a few other shows, he quit acting in 1993 and went on to serve in the U.S. Navy, from which he received a medical discharge in 2005.

ALF – an acronym for Alien Life Form – featured a friendly, cat-eating alien from Melmac who is forced to move in with the Tanners after his spaceship crashes on Earth. The series ran for four seasons and ALF became one of the most popular characters of the late 1980s.

ALF was created and performed by puppeteer Paul Fusco. The show also starred Max Wright as father Willie, who died in 2019, and Anne Schedeen as mother Kate. Andrea Elson starred as daughter Lynn.

ALF, performed by puppeteer Paul Fusco, on the sitcom ALF in 1986 (Credit: NBC)

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