Happy Days star Gavan O'Herlihy dies aged 70

Happy Days actor Gavan O’Herlihy dies aged 70: Sitcom co-star Ron Howard pays tribute to ‘talented’ and ‘spirited’ Irish star

Happy Days star Gavan O’Herlihy has died aged 70.

The news was confirmed by Gavan’s brother Cormac, who told The Hollywood Reporter that he had passed away on September 15 in Bath, England, but did not reveal a cause of death.

Gavan’s co-star in the American sitcom which kickstarted his career, Ron Howard, paid tribute to the ‘talented and spirited’ Irish actor in a Twitter post after the news of his passing broke online.

Sad news: Happy Days star Gavan O’Herlihy has died aged 70

He 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.’

Gavan appeared in the first seven episodes of Happy Days in 1974 as Chuck Cunningham, the eldest of the Cunningham siblings. 

Gavan’s character Chuck famously disappeared from the show without explanation and was later replaced by another actor, before being written out all together. 

Confirmed: The news was confirmed by Gavan’s brother Cormac, who told The Hollywood Reporter that he had passed away on September 15 in Bath, England, but did not reveal a cause of death

Previously discussing his decision to quit the show, Gavan said: ‘I pulled out of it, I didn’t want to do it. They had me at college, I was going to grunt and bounce a basketball once every couple of weeks for probably three or four years. 

‘And at 20 years old, that’s not the gig you want to be doing. But that was my big break; that got me established around town as a kid who got hot in a hurry.’

Happy Days told the story of his brother Richie Cunningham and their family.

Tribute: Gavan’s co-star in the American sitcom which kickstarted his career, Ron Howard, paid tribute to the ‘talented and spirited’ Irish actor in a Twitter post after the news of his passing broke online

Co-stars: Gavan pictured with Ron in Happy Days in 1973

His father Howard owned a hardware store while his mother Marion was a homemaker and his brother Chuck was a highschool basketball star.

He also had a younger sister called Joanie.

Gavan’s break on the silver screen came when he starred in Robert Altman’s A Wedding as character Wilson Briggs in 1989.

Five years later he played Jack Petachi in Irvin Kershner’s James Bond film Never Say Never Again.

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