HomeAmerican EntertainmentPeopleGary Friedkin, ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Young Doctors in Love’ Actor, Dead at 70

Gary Friedkin, ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Young Doctors in Love’ Actor, Dead at 70

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Newsmakers)

Actor Gary Friedkin, who appeared in the films Young Doctors in Love and Mother’s Day for director Garry Marshall, has died. Friedkin died on Dec. 2 of complications from COVID-19 at a hospice facility in Youngstown, Ohio, his family has announced. He was 70.

Friedkin also played Clarence, who was a cook at Arnold’s restaurant, on three 1982 episodes of the Marshall-created Happy Days, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In a running gag, the character gets talked about. But he’s never actually seen until Friedkin showed up during the ABC sitcom’s 10th season. Friedkin also fought Harrison Ford as a member of a biker gang in Blade Runner (1982) and played an Ewok in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983).

Gary Friedkin Moved From Ohio To Los Angeles For His Career

One of four kids, Gary Jay Friedkin was born in Youngstown on Nov. 23, 1952. He played piano and percussion instruments in bands while attending high school at The Rayen School. Friedkin graduated from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University in 1970. But he ultimately moved to Los Angeles and made his onscreen debut in Under the Rainbow (1981), a comedy starring Chevy Chase, Carrie Fisher, and Wizard of Oz actor Jerry Maren.

Friedkin would play Dr. Milton Chamberlain in a soap opera spoof titled Young Doctors in Love (1982). He was part of a cast that included Michael McKean, Sean Young, Ted McGinley, Harry Dean Stanton, and Dabney Coleman. Friedkin then appeared in Mother’s Day (2016), Marshall’s final movie. Standing 4-foot tall, Friedkin was an active member of Little People of America and attended many conventions, where he connected with people across the U.S. and introduced others to the organization, his family noted.

“While Gary may have been short of stature, he was a giant amongst his family and friends,” they said. Survivors include his brother, Alan; sister-in-law Carol; nephews Nathan and Aaron; and niece Sara. Meanwhile, a scholarship has been established in his name at Youngstown State. Attention, though, will be given to those with a disability or a concentration in the performing arts. Donations can be made to the Gary Friedkin Scholarship; YSU Foundation; 655 Wick Ave.; Youngstown, OH 44502. A celebration of his life will be held this spring.