Joe Flaherty, ‘Freaks and Geeks’ and ‘SCTV’ Star, Dies at 82

The actor also had small but memorable roles in “Happy Gilmore” and “Back to the Future Part II”

Photo by Jim Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Joe Flaherty, the actor best known for playing Harold Weir on the acclaimed one-season series “Freaks and Geeks,” has died. He was 82 years old.

Actor Joel Murray first shared the news on X on Monday, mourning the loss of “another of my idols,” prompting actress Jennifer Tilly to post a tribute as well. The actress played Flaherty’s daughter in “The Wrong Guy.”

Flaherty’s daughter confirmed her father’s death in a statement through Comedic Artists Alliance, saying he died Monday after a brief illness.

Flaherty was, of course, equally well known for playing various different roles on the sketch comedy show “SCTV,” starring in all but three episodes of the entire series. Later in his career, Flaherty had long runs on shows including “Maniac Mansion,” “Police Academy: The Series” and then as Sam Weir’s father on Judd Apatow and Paul Feig’s “Freaks and Geeks.”

The actor found himself in a handful of major films too. He had small but memorable parts in both “Happy Gilmore” and “Back to the Future Part II,” as well as the Will Ferrell hit “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and Disney’s “Home on the Range.”

Flaherty was born on June 21, 1941 in Pittsburgh, and prior to his acting career, he served in the Air Force. When he returned, he moved to Chicago to get his acting start with the famed Second City Theater.

In 2004, he began teaching a comedy writing course at Humber College, where he also served on the advisory committee for the program.

Legendary director Martin Scorsese, who directed “An Afternoon with SCTV,” an upcoming reunion film, mourned the loss of Flaherty on Tuesday afternoon, calling the actor truly “great.”

“I had the chance to meet Joe Flaherty on a few occasions, and I hope that I was able to express my admiration and my love for his work on SCTV and beyond,” Scorsese said in a statement.

“I’ve always been drawn to comedians and comic actors—they have to be disciplined, observant, practiced… it’s no exaggeration to say that they pretty much have to be great. And Joe was great, a true master of his art.” 

Flaherty’s last credited role came in 2014 as a character named Count Floyd in a short called “Night Life.”


One response to “Joe Flaherty, ‘Freaks and Geeks’ and ‘SCTV’ Star, Dies at 82”

  1. cadavra Avatar

    So wait, was he best-known for “Freaks and Geeks” or best-known for “SCTV?”
    Please hire a copy editor.

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