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He has over thirty screen credits to his name, most of them in villainous or antagonistic roles such as Never Say Never Again, Superman III, Death Wish 3 and The Last Outlaw. His role as Airk Thaughbaer in the 1988 fantasy Willow is one of the few heroic roles that the burly, fair-haired Gavan has managed to get, as well as that of the dashing British officer from Virginia Captain Leroy in Sharpe's Eagle.
He appeared in Rich Man, Poor Man and Tales From The Crypt. In 1994, he starred as John Garrideb in "The Mazarin Stone" from Granada TV's Sherlock Holmes series. The events of the story were rewritten and merged with The Adventure of the Three Garridebs.
He was cast as the eldest sibling, Chuck Cunningham, on Happy Days. He was eventually replaced by Randolph Roberts until the episode "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas". O'Herlihy did not want to become stuck in television roles, preferring films. He played a warrior in the George Lucas production, Willow, directed by his Happy Days brother, Ron Howard. He also appeared in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Voyager, "Caretaker", as the Kazon First Maje, Jabin. He also appeared in The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman television series.
Gavan was cast as sadistic killer Dan Suggs in the 1989 miniseries Lonesome Dove.
- The California Kid (1974) - Tom
- A Death in Canaan (1978) - Father Mark
- A Wedding (1978) - Wilson Briggs
- We'll Meet Again (1982) - Captain "Red" Berwash
- Superman III (1983) - Brad Wilson
- Never Say Never Again (1983) - Captain Jack Petachi
- The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission (1985, TV Movie) - Conrad E. Perkins
- Death Wish 3 (1985) - Manny Fraker
- A Killing on the Exchange (1987)
- Willow (1988) - Airk Thaughbaer
- Space Riders (1989) - Ron Harris
- Lonesome Dove (1989) - Dan Suggs
- Conagher (1991) - Chris Mahler
- The Last Outlaw (1993) - Marshal Sharp
- Sharpe's Eagle (1993) - Captain Leroy
- The Shooter (1995) - Dick Powell
- Prince Valiant (1997) - King Thane
- Top of the World (1997) - Lieutenant Logan
- Command Approved (2000) - Arms Dealer
- Butterfly Man (2002) - Bill Kincaid
- Seven Days of Grace (2006) - MacNab
- The Descent Part 2 (2009) - Vaines
- Lynch, Donal (2013-09-16). "happy daYS in dublin: Gavan O'Herlihy talks about 'Waiting For Godot' and why he passed up the chance of being a millionaire by 24". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
- Brant, Marley (2006). Happier Days: Paramount Television's Classic Sitcoms, 1974-1984. Billboard Books. p. 32. ISBN 9780823089338.
- What happened to Richie's brother "Chuck" from "Happy Days?"
| Charles "Chuck" Cunningham Actor
January 15 – March 26, 1974
| Brad Wilson Actor
(from Superman III)
as Major François Derval
| Jack Petachi Actor
(from Never Say Never Again)
(In a radio play)
as Giuseppe Petacchi