Joe Flaherty, Actor on ‘Freaks and Geeks’ and ‘SCTV’, Dead at 82

Joe Flaherty, best known for his roles on Second City Television and Freaks and Greeks, has died. He was 82.

The actor died on Monday after fighting an unknown illness over the past few months, his daughter Gundrun confirmed in a statement shared with Variety through the Comedic Artists Alliance.

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

Joe Flaherty as Harold Weir on ‘Freaks and Geeks’.

NBCU Photo Bank


“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,” she concluded.

Reps for Flaherty did not return PEOPLE’s request for comment at the time of publication.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on June 21, 1942, Flaherty got his big break as a writer and performer on SCTV after various gigs in theater and radio. The Canadian variety show, which ran from 1976 to 1984, was an offshoot of Toronto’s famed Second City comedy troupe.

Flaherty’s SCTV costars included Catherine O’Hara, John Candy, Martin Short, Rick Moranis, Andrea Martin and Eugene Levy.

Joe Flaherty as Dracula in 1995.

Margaret C. Norton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty


Following his tenure on the late night sketch show, the late actor went on to nab long runs on other television series like Maniac Mansion, Even StevensThat ’70s Show and Judd Apatow and Paul Feig’s beloved show Freaks and Geeks.

His last appearance on a television series was in 2012 on Call Me Fitz.

He also landed small but memorable roles in major movies like Happy Gilmore, Back to the Future Part II and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

Upon learning of his sickness, Gundrun became her father’s sole caregiver after he chose to live the remainder of his life at his home rather than a care facility. When the news of his diagnosis went public, Short released an online statement to the Comedic Artists Alliance in an effort to help raise funds for his care.

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“Our beloved SCTV cast member, Joe Flaherty, is very ill,” the Only Murders in the Building star wrote in February. “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.”

“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 continued. “He was a mentor, a director, and an inspiring improvisor who gave us many of the tools we are still using in the careers he helped us kickstart. And he made us all laugh!”

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