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Freaks And Geeks & Happy Gilmore Actor Joe Flaherty Dead At 82

Joe Flaherty, the actor best known for playing Harold Weir on the short-lived teen drama "Freaks and Geeks," has died at the age of 82. Variety confirmed the news and shared a statement from his daughter, Gudrun.

"After a brief illness, he left us yesterday, and since then, I've been struggling to come to terms with this immense loss," Gudrun said. "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."

The actor leaves behind an impressive body of work in film and television. While "Freaks and Geeks" is arguably the most notable role on his list of credits, many fans will look back fondly at his performances in the eerily prescient "Back to the Future II," where he played the Western Union Man. Of course, there is also the wacky '90s comedy "Happy Gilmore," in which he portrayed an angry spectator who insults Adam Sandler's titular golfer throughout the film. However, while Joe Flaherty had memorable roles on the screen, some of his most significant contributions to the entertainment industry happened behind the camera. 

Joe Flaherty was a celebrated writer and performer

Joe Flaherty's oeuvre boasts diverse credits, but he particularly shined in comedic roles. His performance as the old-fashioned father of Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) and Sam (John Francis Daley) on "Freaks and Geeks" ensured that there were always laughs to complement the show's more dramatic moments. However, some of his most acclaimed work as a performer and writer happened in the 1970s and '80s courtesy of "SCTV."

The comedy series saw Flaherty play multiple characters, including Hollywood icon Charlton Heston, across 76 episodes. He also served as a head writer, and his celebrated tenure earned the show two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program. "SCTV" also saw Flaherty work with some bona fide comedy legends, including John Candy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, and Andrea Martin.

While he didn't always play the leading man, Flaherty is associated with some of the best comedies of all time. His legacy is synonymous with creating laughter, and his filmography is full of projects waiting to be rediscovered.