Joe Flaherty Dead: Comedic Actor Dies at 82 – Hollywood Life

Joe Flaherty Dead: ‘Freaks & Geeks’ Star Dies at 82

The actor, who had starred in SCTV and had notable cameos in movies like 'Happy Gilmore' has passed away at 82 years old.

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Joe Flaherty
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Image Credit: Paul Natkin/WireImage

Joe Flaherty died at 82 years old, late on Monday, April 1. The comedic actor had starred in tons of classic movies and shows throughout the 70s into the 90s. Following the news of his passing, tributes poured in from many of his co-stars and others who had looked up to him for his years of work.

Joe’s passing was shared by Mad Men star Joel Murray, who acted alongside him in 1986’s One Crazy Summer. “We’ve lost another of my idols. RIP Joe Flaherty,” he tweetedJennifer Tilly also shared her memories of working with him on X. “Joe Flaherty played my dad in The Wrong Guy. I was so thrilled to be able to work with him. His performance was pitch perfect. A great comedian. Gone too soon,” she wrote.

American comedian Joe Flaherty onstage during the Second City 25th Anniversary show
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Joe’s passing comes about a month after members of Second City, the iconic improv comedy group, organized a fundraiser to support him while he was ill, according to 800 Pound Gorilla Media. Fellow comedy icon Martin Short spoke about how the actor’s health had taken a turn in a statement about the fundraiser. “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,” he said. “We are writing to our friends because we believe SCTV meant something to you, and that would not be the case if it were not for Joe Flaherty. 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.”

Born in Pittsburgh in 1941, Joe’s career in comedy began at the legendary Second City in Chicago. After spending time in Chicago, he moved to Toronto, and he was part of the original cast of the cult-classic sketch comedy show SCTV. The series came to an end in 1984.

Aside from his sketch work, Joe made appearances in various sitcoms and movies. He’s had small roles in many classic movies, such as appearing as the Western Union employee in Back to the Future Part II. He also played the heckler during one of the big games for Happy Gilmore. In 1999, he joined the cast of Freaks and Geeks where he played the father Harold Weir. It’s one of his most well-known performances.

Joe’s final acting credit was in 2014, when he appeared as his beloved character Count Floyd in the short film Nightlife. 

The actor was married to Judith Dagley for 22 years, but they divorced. The couple had two children: Gabriel and Gudrun, who is also an actress and writer, per TV Line.