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03rd Apr 2024

Happy Gilmore star Joe Flaherty dies aged 82

Charlie Herbert

Adam Sandler has paid tribute to the comic

American comedian and actor Joe Flaherty has died at the age of 82 following a ‘brief illness’.

Flaherty was best known for his roles in Freaks and Geeks, Happy Gilmore and the sketch comedy series SCTV.

His death was confirmed by his daughter, Gudrun Flaherty, in a statement.

Flaherty played a heckler in Happy Gilmore

Happy Gilmore star Joe Flaherty dies aged 82.

Gudrun confirmed the news in a statement which read: “After a brief illness, he left us yesterday, and since then, I’ve been struggling to come to terms with this immense loss.

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

“His insights into the golden age of cinema didn’t just shape his professional life; they were also a source of endless fascination for me,” she continued.

“In these last few months, as he faced his health challenges, we had the precious opportunity to watch many of those classic movies together — moments I will forever hold dear.”

Along with his comedy work in the US, Flaherty will be known to many for his memorable cameo in Adam Sandler’s iconic comedy Happy Gilmore. Flaherty played the role of Donald, a heckler who taunts Sandler’s character.

Sandler has since paid tribute to Flaherty, saying that he “worshipped him growing up”.

He wrote on X: “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.”

Over a career spanning almost half a century, Flaherty also had credits in TV shows such as Frasier and Family Guy.

Flaherty was married to Judith Dagley for 22 years until their divorce in 1996. He leaves behind two children, Gudrun and Gabriel Flaherty.

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