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Joe Flaherty, beloved ‘SCTV’ and ‘Freaks and Geeks’ star, dead at 82

Comedian Joe Flaherty, a founding member of the Canadian sketch series SCTV, has died at the age of 82.

His daughter confirmed to the Canadian Press he died Monday following a brief illness.

Flaherty first made his mark on the comedy scene while at SCTV, playing characters like Count Floyd, news anchor Floyd Robertson and the iconic character of SCTV station manager, Guy Caballero.

A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Flaherty served in the United States Air Force for several years before making the pivot to acting. He moved to Chicago and joined the Second City Theatre troupe.

Later, he moved to Toronto and helped establish the Toronto Second City theatre troupe, which led to a starring role on SCTV as one of the original performers and writers.

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‘SCTV’ castmates pose for a photo: (clockwise from top left) Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, John Candy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O”Hara, Joe Flaherty, Andrea Martin, 1976-81. Everett Collection via The Canadian Press

He was a staple in television comedies in the 1990s, including a regular role on the sitcom Maniac Mansion. He also spent a year playing Cmdt. Stuart Hefilfinger in the short-lived Police Academy television reboot.

In 1999 he took on what became perhaps his most memorable role, starring as Harold Weir in the now-cult favourite NBC comedy Freaks and Geeks. The show only lasted one season, but Flaherty made his mark as the highly irritable but loving dad to Lindsay (Linda Cardellini) and Sam Weir (John Francis Daly.)

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He also made his foray into the world of cinema, including the role of a sabotaging golf fan who yelled “Jackass!” every time Adam Sandler stepped up to the tee in Happy Gilmore.

More recently, Flaherty had credits on Clone High, Family Guy, Big Bang Theory and The King of Queens.

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He also taught comedy writing to aspiring comedians at Humber College in Toronto, and served on the program’s advisory committee.

Fellow comedians and former castmates shared their condolences on social media Tuesday, remembering Flaherty as a funny guy who was always quick to draw out a laugh.

Colin Mochrie said he was “incredibly fortunate” to have worked with Flaherty.

Daly remembered his TV dad fondly, writing that his “favorite days on set were the ones where we had scenes together.”

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“Dad was an extraordinary man, known for his boundless heart and an unwavering passion for movies from the ’40s and ’50s,” Flaherty’s daughter, Gudrun Flaherty, wrote in a statement issued 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.”

with a file from The Canadian Press

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