‘Happy Days’ and ‘Willow’ actor dies at 70

November 13, 2021
Gavan O'Herlihy during an episode of 'Happy Days' season one. The actor has died at age 70, according to his rep.
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Gavan O’Herlihy, who played the role of Chuck Cunningham in the early episodes of  “Happy Days” has died, according to his rep. He was 70 years old. 

Michael Emptage told USA TODAY in a statement O’Herlihy died Sept.15 in Bath, England.No cause of death was given. Emptage remembered O’Herlihy as “a wonderful actor with a long and distinguished career in film, television and theatre.” 

“Gavan was larger than life and is greatly missed by all who knew him, most particularly by his adoring wife and family,” Emptage said in the statement. 

Ireland-born O’Herlihy’s on-screen career lasted almost 40 years. Before he appeared on ABC’s 1970s sitcom “Happy Days,” he made a cameo on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” 

O’Herlihy’s Cunningham appeared on “Happy Days” for nine episodes during the first season in 1974, according to IMDb. He was replaced by Randolph Roberts for two more episodes that aired the same year. 

More:Warren Berlinger, actor in ‘Happy Days,’ ‘Cannonball Run’ and ‘Blue Denim,’ dead at 83

O’Herlihy made appearances in multiple TV series, including “Rich Man, Poor Man,” “The Bionic Woman” and “The Amazing Spider-Man,” throughout the 1970s. He also had a recurring role on “We’ll Meet Again” on London’s ITV network.

In the 1980’s he began taking on movie roles, including “Willow,” where he was on-set with Val Kilmer. He also worked on the James Bond movie “Never Say Never Again,” which starred Sean Connery. 

“China Beach” actress Dana Delany remembered O’Herlihy for his appearance on the show.

“Very sorry to hear of Gavan O’Herlihy’s death. He was my Everglades lover in one of our strangest China Beach episodes, Juice,” she wrote on Twitter. 

“Happy Days” actor Ron Howard wrote: “RIP Gavan. 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.” 



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