'SCTV' And 'Happy Gilmore' Actor-Comedian Joe Flaherty Dead At 82

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Joe Flaherty, best known for roles on 'Second City Television,' 'Happy Gilmore,' and 'Freaks and Geeks,' died Monday (April 1) at the age of 82, his daughter, Gudrun, confirmed to Variety on Tuesday (April 2) in a statement through the Comedic Arts Alliance, which raised funds for the actor, writer and comedian to obtained a 24-hour care provider.

“After a brief illness, he left us yesterday, and since then, I’ve been struggling to come to terms with this immense loss,” Gudrun 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. 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, a Pittsburgh native, served as both a performer and writer on the iconic Canadian sketch comedy series 'SCTV' alongside John Candy, Catherine O'Hara and Martin Short from 1976 to 1983, initially under the name Joe O'Flaherty.

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

Flaherty later appeared as a heckler named Donald to Adam Sandler's titular character 'Happy Gilmore' and as the Weir family patriarch in the television cult classic 'Freaks and Geeks.'

"Oh man. Worshipped Joe growing up. Always had me and my brother laughing," Sandler wrote on his Instagram account. "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."

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