Another piece of Happy Days goes away: the actor died at 70 Gavan O’Herlihy, famous as the Chuck Cunningham of the show, as reported by the newspaper “The Irish Echo”. Born on July 29, 1951 in Dublin, he was the son of Irish actor Dan O’Herlihy. As a young man he had studied at Trinity College and had also been a tennis champion. Moving to Los Angeles in 1973, he joined the Happy Days cast as the older brother of Richie (Ron Howard) and Joanie (Erin Moran). After the first series, perhaps due to the growth of Fonzie’s character and his hold on the public, the writers decided to eliminate his character by making him strangely disappear from the scene without a real explanation. This gave rise to what in the world of seriality is called the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.
O’Herlihy went on to star in many 1970s and 1980s TV series such as “The Bionic Woman” and “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “Pepper Anderson Special Agent”. He later also took part in an episode of Tales from the Crypt in 1990 and Inspector Barnaby in 2009. He also worked in film, appearing in supporting or antagonist roles in Robert Altman’s “A Marriage” (1978), “Never say never” (1983), “Superman III” (1983), “The executioner of the night 3” (1985), “Willow” directed by Ron Howard (1988), “Shooter – Attack in Prague” (1995) , “The Mystery of Prince Valiant” (1997), “The Casino of Fear” (1997) and “The Descent Part 2” (2009). Although more often in the role of “villain”, his portrayal of the heroic Captain Leroy in Sharpe’s Eagle was highly regarded.
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