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“Happy Gilmore” Star Dead at 82

( – Adam Sandler’s “Happy Gilmore” film became an instant classic when it was released in 1996. One of the stars of the film was actor and comedian Joe Flaherty. Sadly, he has now passed away.

On April 2, Gudrun Flaherty shared a statement with the media announcing the death of her father the previous day. Ironically, he died at age 82 on April Fool’s Day. She said her dear father passed away after a short illness, and explained that she had been trying to “come to terms with [his] immense loss.”

“Ya jack***!” Those were Flaherty’s words as he heckled Sandler over and over again in the 1996 film as his character golfed with Bob Barker.

Though many younger Americans were introduced to the comedian in that film, he was active for decades before its release. Joseph O’Flaherty was born in Pennsylvania in 1941. His parents went on to have six more children. He went to Catholic school and joined the US Air Force after he graduated high school.

O’Flaherty served in the Air Force for four years, leaving at the beginning of the Vietnam War. He moved to Chicago and joined the Second City Theater, where he started stand-up comedy and starred in the Canadian TV show “SCTV.”

The show is regarded as one of the best comedy skit programs in television history. While at the theater, the actor dropped the “O” in his last name and became professionally known as “Joe Flaherty,” because another actor had already registered with Actors Equity under his given name. During his time on “SCTV,” he starred alongside comedy greats John Candy, Eugene Levy, Martin Short, and many others.

O’Flaherty won Emmys in 1982 and 1983 for his writing on “SCTV.” He appeared as the Western Union man in “Back to the Future Part II” in 1989.

The actor starred in other shows throughout his career, including “Freaks and Geeks,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Married … with Children,” “The King of Queens,” and others.

In the months leading up to his death, his daughter said they watched many old movies together. She said that he loved films from the 1940s and 1950s, telling everyone she would hold those memories dear forever.

O’Flaherty is survived by his daughter and son Gabriel.

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