R.I.P. Gavan O’Herlihy, Richie’s older brother, Chuck, in Happy Days

He reunited with Ron Howard years later for the movie Willow and played the memorable gang leader in Death Wish 3.

The Everett Collection

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. 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.

 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

110 Comments

Post a comment
bagandwallyfan52 13 days ago
It is Bad Enough that Good Guy
Chuck Cunningham (Gavan O'
Herlihy and Randolph Roberts
And Ric Carrot from the Happy
Days Pilot on Love American Style) disappeared from Happy Days With No Explanation but
The Very Last Episode of Happy
Days called Passages would have been 100% BETTER if
Chuck Cunningham had been
At the wedding of Joanie Cunningham and Chachi Arcola.
I wish that Garry Marshall had
Asked one of the 3 actors who
Played Chuck(Gavan or Randolph or Ric Carrot) to RETURN as Chuck Cunningham
For the last episode.
I noticed that Tommy (Kevin
Sullivan ) and Bobby Melner (Harris Kal) were at the wedding.
Also it would have been a
Complete Reunion of Happy Days Cast Members if the
Following Characters Had been
Guests at the wedding:
Marsha Simms Wendy Trudy
Bag Zombroski Moose Flip
Phillips KC Cunningham
Eugene Belvin Melvin Belvin
And Spike. If Spike had been at
The wedding it would prove that
SPIKE and CHACHI were Not The
Same Person. Oh yeah Arnold
Should have also been one of the guests at the wedding.
Did I leave out any Happy Days
Cast Members!?/
Let me know if I left out any
Cast Members of Happy Days.
Oh yeah Jenny Piccalo Cathy Silvers was also
At the wedding of Joanie
And Chachi and that Jenny
Had become a Marine.
Sometimes Jenny Piccalo
Put Down Eugene Belvin (Denis Mandel) and sometimes Jenny liked
Eugene but there was one
Episode of Happy Days
Where Jenny liked a guy
Named BINGO(Robert Pierce) who was a member of Joanie and Chachi s
Band.
bagandwallyfan52 13 days ago
This Article Says That Chuck Cunningham 1 Gavan O Herlihy
Appeared in 7 Episodes of Happy Days. I hope that METV
Will show 5 of the Happy Days
Episodes that Gavan O Herlihy
Played CC in and call it CC WEEK in honor of GAVAN
Because several METV Viewers
And Happy Days viewers would
Like To remember Chuck Cunningham and Gavan O Herlihy . RIP Gavan O Herlihy.
Also Chuck Cunningham was
NOT the first character on HAPPY Days to disappear from Happy Days with no explanation.
Besides me does anyone out
There in METV Land know who
Was the FIRST CHARACTER on HAPPY Days To VANISH from
HD with no explanation,??!!!
Tresix 17 days ago
I practically saw “Never Say Never Again” and “Superman III” back-to-back. I felt sorry for his character in “Never”, especially having that thing put in his eye.
TownOfMayberry 18 days ago
This says he was a few months younger than Ron Howard. This is not true. He was born in 1951. Ron Howard was born in 1954. Someone didn’t fact check this article.
I saw that. Though his age given is 3 years older (70). Then below it states he was a few months younger then Ron Howard (67). Then saying he played his older brother. Makes no sense if 3 years older he would be 3 months older or younger even 😏. Maybe took a coffee break and came back to what he thought was something else, who knows .
bagandwallyfan52 18 days ago
Even though Chuck Cunningham (Gavan O Herlihy and Randolph Roberts) was a minor character
On Happy Days a lot of viewers
Liked Chuck Cunningham.
And a lot of viewers liked
Gavan O Herlihy .
After all there have been
97 Comments about Gavan
And Chuck .Several persons
have said that they wish that. Chuck Cunningham had stayed
On Happy Days. Gavan did a
Great job playing Chuck and
Brad in Superman 3.
Kenner 18 days ago
Chuck, we hardly knew ye. And, R.I.P. gaven.
CouchPotato987 18 days ago
Wow! I never knew that red head Leif Erickson look alike in Willow was Chuck from Happy Days. Lol
Never watched enough of the earlier Happy Days episodes to compare the two characters. Lol…Learn something new everyday.
Runeshaper 18 days ago
R.I.P. Gavan O’Herlihy. He was GREAT in Willow!
TheDavBow3 19 days ago
The best of "Happy Days" was when when O'Herlihy was part of the cast. I always wished Chuck was kept part of the show. In reading the article above, I'm just now realizing he played the character with the "eye" in "Never Say Never Again". That's neat! R.I.P., good sir.
The BEST of Happy Days was when BOTH Gavan O Herlihy (Chuck Cunningham) and
Neil J Schwartz (Bag Zombroski ) were part of
the cast. Gavan and Neil
BOTH did a great job playing their roles on HD.
It's too bad that Gavan O Herlihy left Happy Days at
the end of season one but
Randolph Roberts did a good job as Chuck Cunningham 2.
Gavan O Herlihy
Randolph Roberts
Neil J Schwartz and
Ted McGinley as Roger Phillips all did a wonderful job playing their roles on HD. It's too bad that Moose
(Barry Greenberg ) was on
Happy Days for season one
ONLY.Happy Days were sad
days when Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard)
Ralph Malph (Donny Most)
Bag Zombroski (Neil J. Schwartz) Marsha Simms
(Beatrice Colen) Wendy (Misty Rowe) Eugene Belvin (Denis Mandel) Al Delvecchio(Al Molinaro)
Spike (Danny Butcn) and
Melvin Belvin (Scott Bernstein) and Jenny Piccalo (Cathy Silvers)/all
Left Happy Days different
Years and times.
Ralph Malph and Bag Zombroski were both excellent practical jokers on HD and I enjoyed watching Eugene Belvin
Trying to get Jenny Piccalo
to go on a date with her.
Potsie(Anson Williams)
And Leather (Suzi Quatro)
Sang fantastic soft rock
Oldies and the episode
Where Richie Cunningham
Was accused of being the
Kissing Bandit was a very
Funny Episode of HD.
Jack 19 days ago
GOD Rest the Soul of Gavan O’Herlihy,, ... Amen - Alleluia!
MadMadMadWorld 20 days ago
Gavin O'Herlihy was not younger than Ron, but actually older--contradicting the article. Gavin was born on July 29, 1951, while Ron did not appear until Mar. 1, 1954, now 67. That makes Gavin 2 years and 7 months older. Gavin died on Sep. 15, in Bath, England at 70.
Chris 20 days ago
I appreciate the discourse below. The majority has spoken, keep Hogans Heros.
Pacificsun 20 days ago
Without a doubt, the disappearance of Chuck Cunningham has become a bigger story than the "disappearance of Chuck Cunningham." At least on this thread. How sad that his disappearance can be so dismissed, and yet how amusing that he was more popular in his absence than his presence.

To be celebrated is the fascinating dynamic that television has to offer, but especially through our adult perspective in looking back over classic favorites. Is it that the wisdom, or more likely the nostalgia, of our years, makes certain details more important than they were ever intended to be. Or is it a compliment to the imaginations of the creators who put something out there that grew beyond their expectations. Or the questioning of our own rationality in dwelling on them.

Just a thought ....
I agree with you that the
Character Chuck Cunningham became
MORE POPULAR after
Chuck disappeared from Happy Days than when
Gavan O Herlihy and Randolph Roberts were
ACTUALLY On Happy Days
Strange But True.
ABSENCE MAKES THE
HEART GROW FONDER.
I don't know who said
That expression but I believe it .
In Chuck Cunningham s
Case Absense Does Make
The Heart Grow Fonder .
I felt the same way when
Cpl. Boyle(Roy Stuart)
Of GP USMC and Ginger
(Charlene Salerno)
Of Ozzie and Harriet
Newt Kiley (Kay Kuter)
Or Green Acres and Don
Knott's(Barney Five) of
The Andy Griffith Show
Decided to leave the TV
Shows that they were on.
Ann Wedgeworth(Lana
Shields ) of Three's Company and Flora Mallorby(Alberta Nelson)
-Goobers Girlfriend on
The Andy Griffith Show
Both are victims of. Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.
You're misreading it. Chuck was a minor character, not memorable, but since he disappeared and people like you keep mentioning it, Chuck exists not as a character, but a chara cter that disappeared. It's a difference.
RkBke 20 days ago
gavin played one of the most brutal onscreen villans of all time in death wish 3
Chris 20 days ago
OK so Bernie Koppel never appeared on Hogan's. And I just learned, according to Wikipedia that 3-4 cast members that were in actual concentration camps....... So I guess there goes my argument for the insensitiveness of the material.

Let me try this, ITS NOT FUNNY!!! Replace with a different 60's or 70's show!!
Load previous comments
Pacificsun Pacificsun 19 days ago
Edit: I have not investigated which awards were won.
Moody Chris 18 days ago
Here's a thought - don't watch if you don't like it. Nobody is forcing you. Judging from your comments about the show I doubt you have watched it much at all too understand what it was about.
Snickers Pacificsun 17 days ago
Very well put sir, Bravo!
Snickers Chris 17 days ago
Don't like it don't watch!!!!
Jeffrey 20 days ago
He, Gavan O'Herlihy, was NOT a few months younger than Ron Howard, He was 3 to 4 years OLDER than Ron. I am the same age as Ron Howard, 67, and O'Herlihy was 70. So get your facts straight before you publish a story like this.
Pacificsun Jeffrey 20 days ago
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavan_O%27Herlihy (1951)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Howard (1954)

How hard is it for people to use wikipedia?
Chris 20 days ago
appeal
Snickers Chris 17 days ago
We don't need another T.V censer. Don't like the show don't watch.
Chris 20 days ago
Please unit MeTVers to appel to MeTV to stop showing the lighter side of man's inhumanity to man.
Snickers Chris 20 days ago
Inhumanity to man? Your talking about a T.V show where POW's make fun of the Nazis. The real inhumanity to man is the millions who were gassed and shot in concentration camps during world war two. The inhumanity to man is native Americans being herded on to reservations and the internment of Japanese Americans during WW2.
Moody Snickers 18 days ago
The treatment of POWs by the Japanese in WWII & the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War was a monstrous inhumanity.
Snickers Moody 17 days ago
Totally agree.
texasluva Chris 17 days ago
What makes you think your pleas are what 90% or even 50% of other MeTv viewers? Then to post this same message over and over until it becomes apparent you have some personal problems. The show is a comedy. The same as 100's of others that poke fun at others or even the masses. You can not undue what has already been done like it or not. In fact you can actually point fingers if wished at most every movie that has been ever made since most are fiction in most part. SNL blasts others in fun. Okay you don't like Hogan's Hero's. What is the big deal. Making your point is fine but to just blast it over the whole MeTV site is ridiculous. 12 times to be exact. Should we mark our calendars a year from now when you return? 🙄
Chris 20 days ago
Hogan's Heros is insensitive and the funniest comedians of the day (like Bernie Koppel) do not make swastikas any funnier.
madvincent Chris 20 days ago
Almost everything on T V today is insensitive to someone ...they preach not to bully people but that’s all they do on today’s sitcoms and let the kids talk down to the parents
Tell me a movie in the last 10 years, other that the Harry Potter movies THAT DIDN’T HAVE A GUN IN IT .......if your on a mission to remove HH I suggest you watch a different channel
The reason it’s on for soooo long is because PEOPLE LIKE IT
Snickers madvincent 20 days ago
Totally agree, If you don't like a show change the channel, no one is forcing Chris to watch HH and if you don't like it change stations. Much like I do when Monk comes on, hate the show so I change the channel
Snickers Chris 20 days ago
And yet you don't think Nazi flag waving, swastika wearing white racist aren't insensitive? And on a side note, Bernie Koppel was never on Hogan's Hero's
HopeDuchaine 20 days ago
I love the articles on special actors that have shaped our childhood lives. I will remember them fondly.
I will always Remember
Gavan O Herlihy and Randolph Roberts as Chuck Cunningham and all of
The rest of the Cast Of
HAPPY DAYS.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?