Joe Flaherty, SCTV and Freaks and Geeks Star, Dead at 82

Joe Flaherty, best known to TV audiences for his work on the Canadian sketch comedy series SCTV and the NBC cult classic Freaks and Geeks, has died. He was 82 years old.

Flaherty’s death was first announced late Monday by One Crazy Summer co-star Joel Murray. “We’ve lost another of my idols,” he wrote on X. “RIP Joe Flaherty.”

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Jennifer Tilly also paid her respects, writing: “Joe Flaherty played my dad in [the 1997 movie] 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.”

A cause of death has not been disclosed as of press time.

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Flaherty was an original cast member on SCTV when it first launched in 1976, and popularized such characters as Big Jim McBob, Count Floyd and Guy Caballero. The ensemble included fellow comedy greats John Candy, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Catherine O’Hara, Harold Ramis and Dave Thomas.

In 1997, he starred as Cmdt. Stuart Hefilfinger on the short-lived Police Academy offshoot, Police Academy: The Series, which ran for a single season in syndication. The following year, he was cast as eccentric family patriarch Harold Weir in the aforementioned Freaks and Geeks, which lasted just 18 episodes but is widely considered one of the best teen dramas of all time.

“Joe Flaherty made me crack up so hard it ruined takes,” TV son John Francis Daley (fka Sam Weir) wrote on X Tuesday. “My favorite days on set were the ones where we had scenes together. What a lovely guy.”

Additional TV credits included episodes of Dream On, Ellen, Frasier, Married… With Children and The King of Queens (on which he recurred as Father McAndrew). On the big screen, he played Donald the Jeering Fan in the Adam Sandler classic Happy Gilmore.

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