Michael Hagerty has died. A veteran character actor and sketch comedian, known for his thick Chicago accent, thick Chicago mustache, and talent for bringing Midwestern charm to any number of blue-collar roles, Hagerty appeared on many of the most popular TV comedies of the last four decades—Cheers, Friends, Community, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and more. Per Variety, Hagerty’s death was announced on social media today by Bridgett Everett, whose HBO series Somebody Somewhere was Hagerty’s last major role. He was 67.
Born in Chicago, Hagerty got his start taking acting classes at the University of Illinois before an invitation from Jim Belushi brought him into the orbit of Second City. From there, Hagerty broke into TV and film, appearing early on in the films of his friend John Candy (most notably a small part in Brewster’s Millions) while also becoming a regular guest star in comedic TV, popping up any time a script called for a certain kind of burly Chicago energy—even in the distant future of space, courtesy of two different appearances on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Hagerty was, in fact, one of those guys whose face got pretty well burnt into the memory of a whole generation of TV and film fans, whether playing a laid-off worker in Wayne’s World, taking on one of his rare regular roles as a barfly on The George Carlin Show, or scoring a supporting role in the Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn vehicle Overboard. His roles often called on him to project anger, but he was just as capable of bringing a vulnerable sweetness to the table.
Hagerty scored one of his most high-profile role in 1995, when he got brought in for five episodes of Friends, then basically the most popular TV show on the planet. Playing building superintendent Mr. Treeger, Hagerty was mostly relegated to supporting roles, but got a spotlight episode, ballroom dancing with Matt LeBlanc in “The One With The Ballroom Dancing.”
Hagerty ultimately played more than 100 roles across his career, a mix of one-day stints and more regular appearances on shows like Lucky Louie, Mob City, and more. He ended his career on Somebody Somewhere, playing the father of Everett’s character, Sam, one of the few comforting presences in her life—a testament to the warmth Hagerty projected throughout his long career.