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Joe Flaherty, ‘SCTV’ and ‘Happy Gilmore’ actor, dead at 82

Kathy Hutchins/ZUMA PRESS/TNS

Joe Flaherty, an actor and writer known for “Happy Gilmore” and Canadian sketch comedy show “SCTV,” died Monday at the age of 82.

“After a brief illness, he left us yesterday, and since then, I’ve been struggling to come to terms with this immense loss,” his daughter, Gudrun Flaherty, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Dad was an extraordinary man, known for his boundless heart and an unwavering passion for movies from the ’40s and ’50s,” she continued. “Cinema wasn’t merely a hobby for him; it profoundly influenced his career, particularly his unforgettable time with ‘SCTV.’ He cherished every moment spent on the show, so proud of its success and so proud to be part of an amazing cast.”

“Recently, the ‘SCTV’ cast reminisced, saying, ‘All of us “SCTV” cast mates owe him a huge debt of gratitude; he was the creative anchor that kept us honest and inspired.’ It’s a testament to his indelible mark on everyone he worked with,” Gudrun said.

Last month, veterans of “SCTV,” including Martin Short, held a fundraiser through the Comedic Artists Alliance to benefit Flaherty amid his declining health.

Born in Pittsburgh on June 21, 1941, Flaherty later joined The Second City improv in Chicago before moving to Toronto in the mid-1970s to establish a troupe there. In 1976, “SCTV” hit the airwaves, with the cast eventually including stars such as John Candy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Harold Ramis and Andrea Martin, among many others.

On the show, Flaherty impersonated celebrities like Alan Alda, Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley, and created original characters like SCTV president Guy Caballero.

Flaherty went on to appear in a number of films, many co-starring Second City and “Saturday Night Live” alums, including “Innerspace,” “Stripes,” “Follow That Bird” and “Happy Gilmore,” in which he mercilessly heckled the title character.

He also starred in the cult coming-of-age series “Freaks and Geeks” as the somewhat-curmudgeonly father of stars Linda Cardellini and John Francis Daley.

Along with Gudrun, Flaherty also leaves behind his son, Gabriel, whom he shared with his ex-wife, Judith Dagley.