R.I.P. Richard Moll, gentle giant bailiff Bull on Night Court
Richard Moll, the towering bailiff Bull on the sitcom Night Court with a soft side, has passed away.
Moll's height, standing at 6' 8'', made him a popular choice for dangerous, intimidating characters. Early in his career he was cast in an episode of the final season of Welcome Back, Kotter as "Big Thug".
Shortly afterward, he appeared in the Happy Days two-part episode "Fonzie's Funeral" as a gangster. This marked the beginning of Moll's relationship with Garry Marshall, and Moll would later go on to appear in the Happy Days spinoffs Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy.
The role that he would become most famous for came in 1984 when he was cast as bailiff Aristotle Nostradamus "Bull" Shannon in the sitcom Night Court. The bald-headed Bull, who loved poetry, children, and was frequently bossed around by female bailiffs half his size, quickly became a fan favorite.
"It's really all my fault," Moll started in a 1986 interview with Courier-Post. "I had just wound up filming a low-budget horror movie in which I played some sort of bald mutant, and I walked into an interview for the Night Court part. They said, 'Richard, the shaved head looks good. Will you shave your head for this part?' I said, 'Are you kidding? I'll shave my legs for the part.'"
Moll knew that Bull had hidden depths from the very beginning.
"He's got a menacing exterior that can scare anybody, but you can tell right away that he's just a big, good-hearted guy," Moll said in the interview with Courier-Post.
"Some weeks, I just have a few lines and I try to deliver them well so they mesh with the storyline of that episode," Moll said. "And then there are the weeks when my character is the major part of the whole story. It varies throughout the year but, first and foremost, the six of us realize that we're an ensemble. We have to work together; we have to be a family."
Moll didn't play good guys all the time, however; in 1987 he was nominated for a Saturn Award for his role as "Big Ben" in the cult classic horror comedy House.
Later in life, Moll had a healthy career in voice acting, including a recurring role as the Batman villain Two-Face in Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
Moll was 80 years old.
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