Gavan O’Herlihy, actor on ABC’s ‘Happy Days,’ dies at age 70

Actor Gavan O’Herlihy, best known for his role on the TV show Happy Days, has died.

O’Herlihy’s brother, Cormac, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the actor had died Sept. 15 in Bath, England. He was 70.

O’Herlihy’s agent, Michael Emptage, also confirmed the star’s passing to Fox News. “He was a wonderful actor with a long and distinguished career in film, television and theatre and was respected as a man of directness, sincerity, and honesty,” Emptage said. “Gavan was larger than life and is greatly missed by all who knew him, most particularly by his adoring wife and family.”

O’Herlihy’s family is choosing not to release his cause of death. His brother did make it clear that it was not related to the coronavirus, however.

A legacy left behind

As his agent mentioned, O’Herlihy enjoyed a long acting career that included numerous appearances on television shows, in theaters, and in movies.

His movie debut reportedly took place back in 1978 when he appeared in A Wedding. He also made appearances in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again alongside Sean Connery, as well as in Death Wish 3, Willow, and more, The Hollywood Reporter said.

On TV, O’Herlihy made appearances in Superman III, Star Trek: Voyager, and Butterfly Man, among others. But it was for his role on the ABC sitcom Happy Days that O’Herlihy is most well known.

He played Chuck Cunningham, the older, missing brother of Richie Cunningham, for seven episodes before exiting the program.

“I pulled out of it, I didn’t want to do it,” O’Herlihy once explained, according to the New York Post. “They had me at college, I was going to grunt and bounce a basketball once every couple of weeks for probably three or four years. And at 20 years old, that’s not the gig you want to be doing. But that was my big break; that got me established around town as a kid who got hot in a hurry.

“A big free spirit”

Fellow Happy Days star Ron Howard paid tribute to O’Herlihy on social media following his passing.

“RIP Gavan,” Howard wrote, according to the Post. “I knew him as the 1st of 2 Chucks on #HappyDays & then as Airk in #Willow where I had the pleasure of directing him. A talented actor with a big free spirit.”

O’Herlihy is reportedly survived by his wife, Juliette, and his four children.

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