‘Happy Days’ Icon Ron Howard Mourns the Loss of Costar Gavan O’Herlihy

by Matthew Memrick

Director Ron Howard memorialized a fellow “Happy Days” actor recently and reflected on his time with late co-star Gavan O’Herlihy.

Howard retweeted a link to the Irish Echo newspaper. The publication had a short blurb on the actor’s death and promised to gather more for a story in an upcoming print edition.

Howard reflected on his wild bond with O’Herlihy. He played the lost son “Chuck Cunningham” in the first season of “Happy Days” and is younger than Howard by a couple of months. Later, Howard directed O’Herlihy in a small part in Willow (1988).

While O’Herlihy’s death occurred in October, the paper only recently got word of the actor’s death.  

O’Herlihy’s last film was 2009’s “The Descent Part 2.” According to IMDb, another film, Queen of the Redwood Mountains, is in post-production. In it, he looks to have the lead role.

O’Herlihy also starred in the James Bond flick “Never Say Never Again.”

Fans reflected on the actor along with Howard’s Tweet. One said they loved him in Willow while another remembered his Superman role.

Ami Atwal said, “I remember seeing him in Superman at the class reunion & again in the film as a security guard who drinks till he drops with Richard Pryor… Great actor.” 

Howard Reveals He Got ‘Happy Days’ Cold Shoulder After Fonz

In a soon-to-be-released interview that Yahoo! News learned about, Howard said once Henry Winkler’s Fonz character took off on “Happy Days,” he felt disrespect from studio executives.

Howard was the show’s lead, however, things soon changed. Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli became more popular than his character, Richie Cunningham.

On “The Graham Norton Show,” Howard explained that Cunningham was “the undeniable lead” of the show, but Winkler was “remarkable.”

Howard did not mean to be disrespectful of Winkler. The two are still great friends, and Winkler is the godfather of Howard’s four children, including actress Bryce Dallas Howard.

But I guess his “Happy Days” time still stings all these years later.

Howard said “the studio heads” and “network heads” started “really treating me with a lot of disrespect from a business standpoint, just in terms of interaction.”

The actor-director said the press asked him about becoming a “second-class citizen” on his own show. Howard refuted that claim, saying he didn’t feel it in the show’s “workspace.”

But Howard was not deterred as “Happy Days” pushed him to take acting more seriously. He soon transitioned to directorial and producing work, where he’s won Academy Awards for his movies.

While the “Happy Days’ experience turned somewhat sour for Howard, Winkler told the Insider website in October that he got passed over for comedy roles because of his time as The Fonz.