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Gavan O’Herlihy (1951–2021), played Chuck on “Happy Days”

by Linnea Crowther

Gavan O’Herlihy was an actor known for playing Chuck Cunningham in the first season of “Happy Days.”

Acting career

“Happy Days” was one of the Irish-born O’Herlihy’s first roles. He played older brother Chuck Cunningham on several episodes of the first season of “Happy Days,” before bowing out of the small role. Chuck was recast and played by Randolph Roberts before being written out of the show in season two. O’Herlihy went on to a movie career, playing heavies and villains in films including “Superman III,” “Never Say Never Again,” and “Death Wish 3.” He played a warrior in “Willow,” directed by his former “Happy Days” co-star, Ron Howard. O’Herlihy played Dan Suggs in the TV miniseries “Lonesome Dove,” with other TV appearances including “Twin Peaks,” “Tarzan,” and “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.”

O’Herlihy on why he left “Happy Days”

“I was going to come in, grunt, 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.” —from a 2007 interview for TwentyFour7TV

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Tributes to Gavan O’Herlihy

Full obituary: USA Today

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