Gary Friedkin, the beloved actor who famously appeared in Happy Days and Star Wars, has died at the age of 70, with a statement revealing the cause as “complications of COVID-19”.

The accomplished actor passed away on December 2 in hospice care with his brother and sister-in-law by his side. He faced a “difficult three-and-a-half weeks in the medical intensive care unit at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, due to complications of COVID-19.”

Tributes are now pouring in for the actor, with former Happy Days co-star Anson Williams telling The Post “Gary was a light of joy and inspiration that will be evergreen to all who see his work for generations to come. Garry Marshall once said, ‘Gary makes my heart smile’.”

Friedkin, also known as “Kishka” to family friends, began his four-decade long career in Hollywood with the Chevy Chase comedy Under the Rainbow in 1981.

Standing at 1.2 metres tall, Friedkin was a dedicated and treasured member of Little People of America. He attended many conventions and made lifelong friendships through the organisation.

Some notable highlights from his acting days include his role as Clarence, a cook at Arnold’s restaurant, on Happy Days, as well as an Ewok in Star Wars. He also appeared in many blockbusters such as Blade Runner and on TV in episodes of The Twilight Zone, The Practice and Chicago Hope.

“While Gary may have been short of stature, he was a giant amongst his family and friends,” reads his obituary.

“His legacy will live on as stories are told and retold for years to come by all who loved him.”

Image: ABC

This article first appeared on OverSixty.