Adam Sandler Pays Tribute to Late ‘Happy Gilmore’ Costar Joe Flaherty

Adam Sandler is mourning costar Joe Flaherty after his death at 82.

“Oh man. Worshipped Joe growing up. Always had me and my brother laughing,” Sandler, 57, wrote on Instagram Tuesday alongside several photos of Flaherty, who died Monday.

Flaherty, who worked with Sandler on the 1996 golf comedy Happy Gilmore, died after an unknown illness, as his daughter Gundrun told Variety in a statement shared through the Comedic Artists Alliance.

“Count Floyd, Guy Caballero. Any move he made. He crushed as border guard in Stripes,” Sandler wrote in his caption, referencing several of Flaherty’s roles over his nearly four-decades-long acting career.

“Couldn’t be more fun to have him heckle me on the golf course. The nicest guy you could know,” he added, mentioning Flaherty’s appearance in Happy Gilmore. “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.”

Flaherty, who was best known for roles in 1999’s Detroit Rock City, Second City Television and the television series Freaks and Greeks, appears in Happy Gilmore as a fan hired by antagonist Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald) to heckle and torment Happy (Sandler) during golf matches.

The character — Flaherty is credited on IMDb only as Jeering Fan for the film — even hits Happy with a car during the movie’s final golf tournament, though the character overcomes his injury and ultimately wins over McGavin.

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Flaherty’s career also included roles in movies like Back to the Future Part II and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy as well as roles on television series like Maniac Mansion, Even Stevens and That ’70s Show.

Adam Sandler and Joe Flaherty (background, wearing white hat) in 1996’s Happy Gilmore.

AJ Pics / Alamy


“Dad was an extraordinary man, known for his boundless heart and an unwavering passion for movies from the ’40s and ’50s,” Flaherty’s daughter Gundrun said of her father in a statement. “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.”

Sandler recently wrote a tribute to another Happy Gilmore actor on Instagram after Carl Weathers, who played Chubbs in the popular ’90s comedy, died at 76 in February.

“What a guy!! Everyone loved him,” he wrote at that time. “My wife and I had the best times with him every time we saw him.”

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