SCTV, Happy Gilmore and Freaks And Geeks star Joe Flaherty dead aged 82

Happy Gilmore and Second City actor and comedian Joe Flaherty has died, aged 82, after a “brief illness”.

He had faced a series of “health challenges” over a few months and died on Monday, his daughter told Variety.

“After a brief illness, he left us yesterday and, since then, I’ve been struggling to come to terms with this immense loss,” she said.

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“Dad was an extraordinary man, known for his boundless heart and an unwavering passion for movies from the ‘40s and ‘50s.

“His insights into the golden age of cinema didn’t just shape his professional life; they were also a source of endless fascination for me.

“In these last few months, as he faced his health challenges, we had the precious opportunity to watch many of those classic movies together — moments I will forever hold dear.”

Actor and comedian Joe Flaherty has died. Credit: Jim Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Flaherty was beloved as myriad characters including Count Floud, President Guy Caballero and Big Jim McBob in the Canadian comedy sketch series Second City (SCTV).

SCTV, which ran from 1976 to 1984, was his big break in which he was a performer and writer.

The show also featured actors Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Andrea Martin, Dave Thomas and John Candy.

Flaherty may be remembered by younger generations for his roles in Freaks And Geeks and Happy Gilmore.

His death comes after Only Murders In The Building star Martin Short shared an online statement to the Comedic Artists Alliance in February in an effort to help raise funds for Flaherty’s care at home.

“Our beloved SCTV cast member, Joe Flaherty, is very ill. Joe is aware of the gravity of his failing health and would like to spend whatever time he has left at home rather than in a facility,” Short said.

“He was a mentor, a director, and an inspiring improviser who gave us many of the tools we are still using in the careers he helped kickstart. And he made us all laugh!

“We believe that you would want to know about Joe’s condition and, perhaps, even want to contribute towards his home care.”

Short has since shared a tribute for his former co-star and friend.

Flaherty with the cast of Freaks And Geeks. Credit: NBC/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

“In over 50 years of our friendship, there were very few people as wise or hilarious when it came to comedy, teaching improvisation and the art of character work as Joe,” Short wrote in a statement, released by Deadline.

“In ‘SCTV’ we called him the anchor. In life, he was simply the funniest man in the room. I just adored him.”

Grown Ups actor Adam Sandler, who worked with Flaherty in Happy Gilmore, posted a tribute to Instagram.

“Oh man. Worshipped Joe growing up,” he said.

“Always had me and my brother laughing. Count Floyd, Guy Caballero. Any move he made. He crushed as border guard in Stripes.

“Couldn’t be more fun to have him heckle me on the golf course. The nicest guy you could know. Genius of a comedian. And a true sweetheart. Perfect combo.

“Much love to his kids and thanks to Joe for all the greatness he gave us all.”

Director and film producer Judd Apatow, who produced and wrote Freaks And Geeks, posted on Instagram that when “Flaherty was on the set it felt magical. We were always so excited. We couldn’t believe he was a part of Freaks And Geeks.

“We loved him so much and told him all the time. He made everything he was in so much better.

“Joe was the kindest man, a brilliant actor and a GOAT in the world of comedy. Every moment with him was a treasure. ❤️❤️❤️❤️.”


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