R.I.P. Gavan O’Herlihy, Richie’s older brother, Chuck, in Happy Days
Though he only appeared in seven episodes of the first season, many Happy Days fans remember Richie’s original older brother, Chuck. The antagonistic sibling was played by actor Gavan O’Herlihy, who recently passed away at the age of 70.
O’Herlihy made his screen debut as Josh McBride in the Mary Tyler Moore Show episode “Son of ‘But Seriously Folks’” in 1973.
A year later, his second gig seemed to be a big break – getting cast as a family member in a major sitcom. Though he was actually a few months younger than Ron Howard, the tall actor played his older brother. Unfortunately, Chuck’s time on Happy Days didn’t last long.
But that was far from his last appearance on television. O’Herlihy guest starred in shows like Marcus Welby, M.D., The Six Million Dollar Man and the Disney TV movie The Ghost of Cypress Swamp.
The son of Irish actor Dan O’Herlihy, Gavan appeared with his father in the 1979 PBS special Mark Twain: Beneath the Laughter. They both played the title character, with Gavan as the renowned author when he was a young man known as Samuel Clemens.
Gavan O’Herlihy had a small role in Robert Altman’s A Wedding starring Carol Burnett, Mia Farrow and Desi Arnaz Jr. He can also be seen in Superman III, Bond film Never Say Never Again and as memorable gang leader Fraker in Death Wish 3.
In 1988, O’Herlihy reunited with Ron Howard for the movie Willow. Howard directed the fantasy film while his former TV brother played warrior Airk Thaughbaer.
In a tweet remembering O’Herlihy, Howard called him “A talented actor with a big free spirit.”
In the 1990s, O’Herlihy appeared in Tales from the Crypt, Twin Peaks and Star Trek: Voyager as well as the 1993 TV movie The Last Outlaw alongside Mickey Rourke, Ted Levine and Steve Buscemi.