Actor Gavan O’Herlihy, best known for his brief role as the Cunninghams’ eldest son in the sitcom “Happy Days,” died at age 70, his agent said.
“He was a wonderful actor with a long and distinguished career in film, television and theater and was respected as a direct, sincere and honest man,” Michael Emptage told CNN.
Emptage said O’Herlihy died in Bath, England, on September 15, although his death was not publicly confirmed until Friday (12).
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Irishman O’Herlihy was part of a showbiz family – son of singer and actor Dan O’Herlihy – and grew up in the United States. When the nostalgic sitcom “Happy Days” went into production in 1974, O’Herlihy got his big break as Chuck Cunningham, the eldest son of the family. Chuck was a college athlete whose defining characteristic was his habit of dribbling his basketball around the house, much to the annoyance of his father, Howard, played by Tom Bosley.
In a 2007 interview with YouTube channel TwentyFour7TV, O’Herlihy said the character was too shallow to maintain his interest, and left the show in season one.
“I was going to come in, grunt, throw a basketball once every two weeks for probably three or four years, and at 20, that’s not the show you want to do,” he said.
Actor Randolph Roberts briefly assumed the role on the show’s second season before Chuck simply stopped appearing on the show, becoming the perfect example of a character who disappears from a television show without any explanation.
In contrast to his healthy beginnings on the small screen, O’Herlihy later specialized in playing heavy roles, including Sean Connery’s latest James Bond film Never Again.
His character, Jack Petachi, memorably used a false eye to trick security at a nuclear facility before being murdered in a car accident.
Former “Happy Days” co-star Ron Howard, who played Chuck’s brother Richie Cunningham, mourned O’Herlihy’s passing on Twitter. “A talented actor with a great free spirit,” said Howard, who also directed O’Herlihy in the 1988 movie “Willow – In the Land of Magic”.
O’Herlihy’s family did not reveal the cause of his death.
“Gavan was bigger than life itself and is much loved by everyone who knew him, most particularly by his beloved wife and family,” said Emptage.
Translated text. Read the original in English.
Reference: CNN Brasil