Happy Days Actor Gavan O'Herlihy Dies At 70

Gavan O'Herlihy, a character actor with many credits but perhaps best known for his mysterious part in Happy Days, has passed away according to a new report. The Irish born actor's passing was announced by The Irish Echo newspaper who confirmed that he passed away nearly two months ago, dying on September 15 in Bath, England. A cause of death was not announced but O'Herlihy was 70 at the time of his death. In addition to Happy Days, O'Herlihy's career would include appearances in multiple other television shows as well as feature films, his final credit will reportedly be a project titled Queen of the Redwood Mountains that is in post-production currently.

O'Herlihy appeared in seven episodes in the first season of Happy Days playing the part of Chuck Cunningham, the older-brother to Ron Howard's Richie, but departed the series after the first season. He was briefly replaced in the part by another actor, who was playing the part when he ascended the stairs in the Cunningham home and never appeared again, spawning the phrase "Chuck Cunningam syndrome" for TV characters that are never heard from again with no explanation. Despite their brief time together on the show O'Herlihy and Howard would work together again with the actor appearing in Howard's 1988 fantasy movie Willow. 

Howard tweeted about O'Herlihy's passing after the news broke, writing:  "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."

In addition to Happy Days, O'Herlihy's early TV credits include The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Six Million Dollar Man, Rich Man, Poor Man, The Bionic Woman, and even the 1970s live-action Spider-Man TV series. He would also appear in later shows including Tales from the Crypt, Tarzan, Twin Peaks, and Star Trek: Voyager. His feature film credits include the James Bond film Never Say Never Again, Superman III, and most recently The Descent: Part 2.

Our thoughts go out to the family of Gavan O'Herlihy during this difficult time, may he rest in peace.


(Cover Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)