Star Wars Actor Gary Friedkin Dead at 70 from COVID Complications: 'He Was a Gift to All Who Knew Him'

Gary Friedkin
Gary Friedkin

Newsmakers via Getty Gary Friedkin

Star Wars and Happy Days actor Gary Friedkin is dead after contracting COVID and spending over three weeks in intensive care. He was 70.

According to an obituary, Friedkin died "peacefully" last Friday, Dec. 2, at hospice care in Ohio "with his brother Alan and sister-in-law Carol by his side. He endured a difficult three-and-a-half weeks in the medical intensive care unit at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, due to complications of COVID-19."

Friedkin is known for roles like his three-episode arc as Clarence on Happy Days in 1982, and as an Ewok in 1983's Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.

He was also credited in movies like Young Doctors in Love and Cool World. Friedkin appeared on shows like Chicago Hope and The Practice, and his most recent credit was Mother's Day in 2016.

"Gary was born to entertain," his loved ones wrote in the obituary. "While in high school, he was a member of multiple school and local bands, including the rock band, The Solars."

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star wars return of the jedi
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"He was a gift to all who knew him as an amazing son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, great-uncle and friend," they added. "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.' "

Gary Friedkin
Gary Friedkin

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

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

The family set up a scholarship in Friedkin's name at Youngstown State University for "those with a disability or a concentration in the performing arts." A celebration of life will be held in the spring.

The obituary added, "The family thanks you in advance for respecting their privacy at this time and encourages everyone to get vaccinated and boosted to protect their family and community."