Actor and comedian Joe Flaherty has died, aged 82


American actor, writer and comedian Joe Flaherty has died at the age of 82.

The news was confirmed by Flaherty’s daughter Gudrun in a statement to Variety, which noted that Joe Flaherty died on Monday, April 1. According to Gudrun’s statement, Joe’s death comes after “a brief illness”.

Her statement reads, per Variety: “After a brief illness, he left us yesterday, and since then, I’ve been struggling to come to terms with this immense loss. 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.”

It is currently unclear what “brief illness” Joe Flaherty succumbed to.

Joe Flaherty and the ‘SCTV’ cast, including Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy. Credit: Gail Harvey/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Flaherty, born in June 1941, made his acting debut in 1976 in the film Tunnel Vision, and the TV series The Sunshine Hour, The David Steinberg Show, and most famously, SCTV – also known as Second City Television with Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy and more.

Over the course of the rest of his career, Flaherty would take on minor roles in films such as One Crazy Summer, Back To The Future Part II, Happy Gilmore, The Wrong Guy and Detroit Rock City. Flaherty was more successful in TV however, starring as a series regular in series such as Maniac Mansion, Police Academy: The Series and Freaks And Geeks.

Following the news of his death, several actors, comedians and Flaherty’s former co-stars have paid tributes to the late actor and comedian.

Martin Short said in a statement to Variety: “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.”

Adam Sandler wrote on Instagram: “Oh man. Worshipped Joe growing up. Always had me and my brother laughing. Count Floyd, Guy Caballero. Any movie 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.”

John Francis Daley, who starred as Flaherty’s son in Freaks And Geeks wrote on X: “Joe Flaherty made me crack up so hard it ruined takes. My favorite days on set were the ones where we had scenes together. What a lovely guy.”

Freaks And Geeks creator Paul Feig wrote: “So sad to hear about dear Joe. He was my TV dad and a true comedy hero. Always happy to tell any story about your favorite SCTV sketch, he was just the greatest guy. I will truly miss him and always be grateful to have known him. Rest in comedy, Joe.”

Mark Hamill wrote: “#SCTV was easily one of the greatest sketch comedies in the history of television with some of the most brilliant comic actors ever assembled in one show. Thank you #JoeFlaherty- your legacy of laughs will last from here to eternity. #RIP”

See more tributes to the late Joe Flaherty below.


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