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‘SCTV’ star, comedian Joe Flaherty dies following illness, family says

Comedian Joe Flaherty, a founding member of the Canadian sketch series “SCTV,” has died.

His daughter Gudrun Flaherty says her father died Monday following a brief illness.

“Dad was an extraordinary man, known for his boundless heart and an unwavering passion for movies from the ’40s and ’50s,” she 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.”

Joe Flaherty, who was born in Pittsburgh, spent seven years at The Second City in Chicago before moving north of the border to help establish the theatre’s Toronto outpost.

He went on to star alongside Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara and the late John Candy in “SCTV,” about a fictional TV station known as Second City Television that was stacked with buffoons in front of and behind the cameras.

Flaherty’s characters included network boss Guy Caballero and the vampiric TV host Count Floyd.

He won Emmys in 1982 and 1983 for his writing on “SCTV,” and continued to work in TV and film for decades.

He was introduced to later generations through memorable turns as a jeering heckler in the 1996 film “Happy Gilmore” and as an old-fashioned dad in the TV comedy “Freaks and Geeks,” which ran from 1999 to 2000.

Flaherty maintained deep ties to Toronto, serving as an artist-in-residence at Humber College.

Comedian Colin Mochrie wrote on the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, that he felt lucky to have had the chance to work with Flaherty, who he described as “a sweet man that produced a lot of laughs.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2024.

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