Gary Friedkin, ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Star Wars’ Actor, Dies After Battling Covid

Gary Friedkin
Newsmakers

Gary Friedkin, an actor known for roles in the likes of Happy Days, Star Wars, and Young Doctors in Love, has died. He was 70.

He passed away on Friday, December 2, at a hospice facility in Youngstown, Ohio, according to an obituary from his family in the Tribune Chronicle. The obituary states he was in the hospital for three-and-a-half weeks and died due to COVID-19 complications. Friedkin’s family thanked friends and fans, as well as the hospital staff, doctors, and nurses at St Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital MICU.

Born in Youngstown on November 23, 1952. He made his acting debut in 1981’s Under the Rainbow. He would go on to play Dr. Milton Chamberlain in Young Doctors in Love and Clarence the Cook in Happy Days, becoming a running joke in the hit sitcom series.

The 4-foot tall actor, who was an active member of Little People of America, also had memorable appearances in Blade Runner as a member of a biker gang and as an Ewok in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. His other TV work included The Twilight Zone, The Practice, and Chicago Hope. Friedkin made his last onscreen appearance as Shorty in Garry Marshall‘s 2016 film Mother’s Day.

“[Friedkin] was a gift to all who knew him as an amazing son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, great-uncle and friend,” his obituary reads. “Gary lived his life to the absolute fullest, bringing endless laughs to his family and many friends, while never letting the obstacles he faced get in his way. Gary put countless smiles on people’s faces and left so many with their own special ‘Gary story.'”

“While Gary may have been short of stature, he was a giant amongst his family and friends,” the obituary continues. “His legacy will live on as stories are told and retold for years to come by all who loved him.”