Joe Flaherty, 'Freaks and Geeks' Actor, Dead at 82

Flaherty's daughter said the actor died after a brief illness.

Renowned comedian and writer Joe Flaherty, celebrated for his comedic genius on the groundbreaking Canadian sketch comedy series SCTV, died Monday at 82. 

His daughter, Gudrun Flaherty, confirmed the news to the Canadian Press, stating that Flaherty died after a brief illness.

Flaherty, a two-time Emmy-winning writer, was a pivotal figure in the world of comedy, leaving an indelible mark with his unforgettable portrayals of characters such as Guy Caballero, Count Floyd, Big Jim McBob, and Sammy Maudlin during his tenure as an original cast member on SCTV.

Born in Pittsburgh, Flaherty honed his comedic skills during his seven-year stint at The Second City in Chicago before making his mark in Canada as part of the founding team of The Second City Theatre in Toronto. His collaboration with fellow comedic luminaries like John Candy and Catherine O’Hara on SCTV brought him widespread acclaim.

Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

"Dad was an extraordinary man, known for his boundless heart and an unwavering passion for movies from the '40s and ‘50s," Gudrun Flaherty expressed in a statement on Tuesday. "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."

Flaherty's contributions to SCTV earned him recognition with two Emmy Awards in 1982 and 1983 for his outstanding writing. Beyond SCTV, he continued to make significant contributions to television and film for decades, leaving an enduring legacy.

His impact extended beyond SCTV, with memorable roles in films like the 1996 comedy Happy Gilmore, where he played a jeering heckler, and the cult classic TV series Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000), where he portrayed an old-fashioned dad.

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

Flaherty’s Happy Gilmore co-star, Adam Sandler, took to Instagram on Tuesday to share his condolences. Sandler wrote,"Oh man. Worshipped Joe growing up. Always had me and my brother laughing. Count Floyd, Guy Caballero. Any move he made. He crushed as border guard in Stripes. Couldn’t be more fun to have him heckle me on the golf course. The nicest guy you could know. 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."

John Francis Daley, his co-star on Freaks and Geeks, where Daley portrayed his son, Sam, on the beloved series, shared on X, "Joe Flaherty made me crack up so hard it ruined takes. My favorite days on set were the ones where we had scenes together. What a lovely guy."

Despite his varied successes, Flaherty maintained deep ties to Toronto. He served as an artist-in-residence at Humber College, where he shared his wealth of knowledge and experience with aspiring comedians.


Latest News