HomeAmerican EntertainmentPeopleCliff Emmich, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actor & Clint Eastwood Costar, Dead at 85

Cliff Emmich, ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Actor & Clint Eastwood Costar, Dead at 85

by Emily Morgan
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Photo by: Albert L. Ortega / Contributor

Cliff Emmich, known for acting in films and TV shows such as PaydayThunderbolt and LightfootHalloween II, and “Little House on the Prairie,” has passed away. He was 85.

According to rep Steve Stevens, he died Monday at his home in Los Angeles, California, per MSN. He had endured a long battle with lung cancer.  In one of his critically acclaimed roles, Emmich played the driver Chicago, who drove the Cadillac sedan in 1973’s Payday. 

One year later, he starred in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. He played a Western Union security guard. Then, he played another security guard. This time, he became one of Michael Myer’s victims in Halloween II in 1981).

However, many think he made his most significant mark on the industry in the fifth season of “Little House on The Prairie.” In the series, he played a middle-aged in the episode “The Man Inside.” In fact, Michael Landon wrote the episode in hopes that Emmich would play the character. 

Before he shared the camera with Landon, Emmich was born in Cincinnati on Dec. 13, 1936. However, his family later moved to Los Angeles. His dad, also named Clifford, worked as an exotic foreign car salesman. 

After Emmich finished high school in Pasadena, California, he served in the U.S. Air Force. Then, after his service, he made a career change and began studying acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. He also toured with the American Repertory Players.

In 1969, he booked his first film role when he starred in an uncredited role in Norman Jewison’s Gaily, Gaily. 

Later, in 1979, he took on the role of the counterfeiter known as “The Candy Man” during the two-part “Happy Days” episode “Fonzie’s Funeral.”

Cliff Emmich remembered by many for always being in a ‘joyous mood’

His long list of acting credits also included starring in  Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973), Jackson County Jail (1976), Barracuda (1978), Hellhole (1985) and Digital Man (1995.)

On TV, he held roles in everything from “The Odd Couple,” “Ironside,” “The FBI,” “Starsky and Hutch,” and “Night Court,” to “Murder, She Wrote,” “Coach,” “Nash Bridges,” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

Emmich’s survivors include his nephews, Chuck, Mark, and James, and his niece, Shirley.

His friends and family also noted that Emmich always made time to support his colleagues in the industry. 

According to them, he “never missed a party, a lunch or an Academy screening. And he was always in a joyous mood, filled with wonderful memories of growing up in Hollywood and his acting exploits. He also had the biggest and most infectious laughter of anyone.”

Cliff Emmich has also joined a long list of actors we’ve lost in 2022, including Olivia Newton-John, James Caan, and Ray Liotta. 

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