Gary Friedkin, who starred for director Garry Marshall in the movies Young Doctors in Love and Mother’s Day, passed away on Friday at a hospice facility in Youngstown, Ohio, as a result of complications from COVID-19, according to his family. He was 70.
On three episodes of the Marshall-produced Happy Days in 1982, Friedkin played Clarence, a cook at Arnold’s restaurant. In a recurring joke, the character was mentioned but never appeared until the 10th season of the ABC comedy.
Friedkin also had the opportunity to engage in combat with Harrison Ford while portraying a member of a biker gang in Blade Runner (1982) and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi as an Ewok (1983).
Gary Jay Friedkin, one of four children, was born in Youngstown on November 23, 1952. After graduating from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University in 1970, he spent his high school years at The Rayen School playing the piano and percussion instruments in bands.
Gary Friedkin, Actor in ‘Young Doctors in Love,’ Dies at 70 https://t.co/zzIKh57Sp3 via @thr
— Mike Barnes (@MikeBarnes4) December 9, 2022
He traveled to Los Angeles and made his cinematic debut in Under the Rainbow (1981), a comedy starring Chevy Chase, Carrie Fisher, and Wizard of Oz actor Jerry Maren.
In the soap opera parody Young Doctors in Love (1982), Friedkin played Dr. Milton Chamberlain alongside Michael McKean, Sean Young, Ted McGinley, Harry Dean Stanton, and Dabney Coleman. She later featured in Mother’s Day (2016), which was Marshall’s last film.
Friedkin, who stood at 4 feet tall, actively participated in Little People of America and frequently attended conferences where he made friends with people from all across the country and introduced them to the group, according to his relatives.
“While Gary may have been diminutive of stature, he was a giant amongst his family and friends,” they stated.
His sister Carol, brother Alan, nephews Nathan and Aaron, and niece Sara are all living survivors.
Youngstown State has created a scholarship in his honor. People with disabilities and people who specialize in the performing arts will receive special consideration. Donations can be sent to the YSU Foundation at 655 Wick Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio, 44502 for the Gary Friedkin Scholarship.
This spring, a memorial service will be performed in honor of him.