Joe Flaherty, ‘Happy Gilmore,’ ‘Freaks and Geeks’ Star, Dead at 82

American comedian Joe Flaherty performs onstage during the Second City 25th Anniversary sh
Paul Natkin/WireImage

Actor and comedian Joe Flaherty, known for his roles on Happy Gilmore and Freaks and Geeks, died on Monday at the age of 82.

Flaherty, who was also perhaps best known as one of the original cast members on the Canadian sketch comedy series, Second City Television (SCTV), died after suffering a brief illness, his daughter Gudrun Flaherty told Toronto Star.

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

Flaherty was also known for playing Harold Weir, the father of Lindsay and Sam Weir, on the 1999-2000 series Freaks and Geeks. He also famously heckled Adam Sandler’s character in the 1996 film Happy Gilmore.

Moreover, the actor had recurring roles on Police Academy: The Series and The King of Queens, and taught comedy writing at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario.

Flaherty also appeared in films such as Back to the Future Part IIOne Crazy SummerDetroit Rock City, Follow That BirdGoing Berserk, Innerspace, Freddy Got Fingered, Who’s Harry Crumb?, and National Security, among others.

He also has credits in television shows including King of Kensington, Hardball, Dream On, The Louie Show, Nurses, Phenom, and Family Guy, among others.

“Cinema wasn’t merely a hobby for him; it profoundly influenced his career, particularly his unforgettable time with SCTV,” Gudrun’s statement added. “He cherished every moment spent on the show, so proud of its success and so proud to be part of an amazing cast.”

The actor’s daughter continued:

Above all, he was a loving father. No matter the occasion, he was always there to offer a laugh or wisdom when I needed it most. His absence has left a void in my life that feels insurmountable at the moment. As I try to navigate through this grieving process, I take solace in the memories we shared and the incredible impact he had on those around him. His spirit, humor and love will be a part of me forever. My dad was a kind, sweet soul who blessed all who knew him and those who loved his work. Thank you to everyone who cared for him; he loved that he was able to make people laugh. He will be so deeply missed, but we are eternally grateful to God for him being in our lives.

Flaherty is survived by his younger brother Paul Flaherty, who was one of the writers for SCTV and other shows like Muppets Tonight. The actor is also survived by his children, Gabriel and Gudrun. He was married to Judith Flaherty for 20 years until their divorce in 1996.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and X/Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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