“Happy Days” Actress Erin Moran Has Died
The actress had fallen on hard times over the last few years.
Best known as Joanie "Shortcake" Cunningham on that '70's show, Happy Days, and the spinoff, Joanie Loves Chachi, actress Erin Moran has died. She was 56.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Harrison County dispatch officers in Indiana responded to an "unresponsive female" report. At the scene, officers identified Moran and she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Happy Days ran for ten years, from 1974 to 1984. Set in the '50's, Moran played younger sister to actor/director Ron Howard's Richie Cunningham. Created by the late, legendary Garry Marshall, the series was set to focus on Howard's character, until Henry Winkler's Fonzie caught viewer's attention. The focus of the series shifted to The Fonz, with the Cunningham family in supporting roles.
Learning of her death, Winkler Tweeted,
Her television older brother, Ron Howard also Tweeted his reaction.
Over the last few years, the actress, who had roles on The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder had fallen on hard times. Variety is reporting that she was recently kicked out of her trailer park home because of her hard partying.
Moran married her second husband, Steven Fleischmann, in 1993. Inquisitor is reporting that Fleischmann endured homelessness due to her addictions. The couple lost their home, and had been evicted from living with family, and finally from the trailer park home they shared.
Moran's Joanie married Scott Baio's Chachi in the Happy Days finale in 1984.
Moran is the most recent Happy Days cast member to pass away.
Series creator Garry Marshall died last July. Al Molinaro, who played diner owner Al, died in 2015. Moran's television father, Tom Bosley who played hardware store owner Howard Cunningham died in 2010. Pat Morita, original diner owner Arnold, died in 2005.
Here are a few Fun Facts about Happy Days:
- Happy Days had a number of spin-offs. Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Joanie Loves Chachi. Happy Days was kind of a spin-off itself. The show was based on a 1972 segment of Love, American Style, titled Love and the Television Set. The segment was re-titled Love and the Happy Days when it was shown in reruns.
- The sitcom featured an older brother, Chuck Cunningham. The character was played by two actors in eleven episodes over the first and second season. The character was written out of the series and never mentioned again until the series finale.
- Happy Days coined the phrase "Jumping The Shark". In 1977's Season Five, Fonzie joins the Cunninghams on their vacation to Hollywood, and through a series of wacky instances he ends up jumping his motorcycle over a confined shark. The phrase is used to describe a series that reaches a turning point that it doesn't come back from.