Erin Moran, who for 11 years played younger sister Joanie Cunningham on the hugely popular (at the time) Happy Days, died broke and homeless last week at the age of 56. In light of Erin’s tragic death, fans are curious if the other living members of the Happy Days cast, some of whom haven’t been visible in show business for years, are doing these days. The Inquisitr is here to help you sort it all out.
Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham) Is One Of The Biggest Directors In Hollywood
Originally, Ron Howard and his character, Richie Cunningham, were intended to be the star of Happy Days, according to Biography. However, by the later seasons, Henry Winkler (Fonzie) was the breakout star. Howard saw the writing on the wall and left the show late in the show’s run, and the show’s producers had Richie join the Army. It was a wise career move: Howard went into directing, and as you are undoubtedly aware, he’s one of the biggest and most powerful directors in the movie industry.
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A listing of the movies and TV shows Howard has produced and directed would easily make this article run into thousands of words, so instead a list of the highlights will have to do. Those include Apollo 13, Cinderella Man, Splash, and The Da Vinci Code, to name a few.
Henry Winkler (Fonzie) Sells Things To Old People
Originally seen as a one-off character, Henry Winkler’s Arthur Fonzerelli (The Fonz, or Fonzie, as he was also called) became the breakout star of Happy Days, to the point that, by the series’ end, the show might as well have been called “The Fonzie Show.” Like his co-star Ron Howard, Winkler saw the writing on the wall. Moreover, while Howard left the show in pursuit of other opportunities, Winkler leveraged his star power for a juicy contract. As Biography reports, he turned down a bigger paycheck in exchange for a share of the show’s syndication profits, a decision that made him a multi-millionaire.
One Reverse Mortgage – Simply Henry
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Since Happy Days, Winkler has been active in the industry as an actor, producer, writer, and whatever else. He’s also instantly recognizable to anyone with the misfortune of watching daytime TV: at 71, he’s entered an age where he’s relatable to people who watch a lot of daytime TV (read: old people). As such, he’s developed a later career as a pitchman for things the elderly might need, such as reverse mortgages and term life insurance.
Marion Ross (Mrs. Cunningham) Is Retired And Taking It Easy
Most people who come to Hollywood looking for their Big Break don’t find it, and after a few years, give up. Marion Ross, however, kept at it, finally getting her big break at age 46! Sure, she’d gotten by doing bit parts here and there for decades until Happy Days, but the role of Mrs. Cunningham launched her to superstardom.
After Happy Days, she continued to work as a respected actress, even earning a couple of Emmy nominations.
Now pushing 90, Ross is mostly taking it easy, living the life of a wealthy and civic-minded old lady in Encinitas, California.
Anson Williams (Potsie) Is A Successful Businessman, Don Most (Ralph Malph) Has A Lounge Act
Anson Williams (“Potsie”), like his colleague Ron Howard, went behind the camera after Happy Days, forging a career as a director. He’s also branched out into business: back when Happy Days was still a thing, he and [now-deceased] co-star Al Molinari opened up a chain of diners based on Big Al’s called, not surprisingly, Big Al’s. Nowadays he owns a cosmetics company (Starmaker Cosmetics) as well as Physicians Prefer, a line of “drug-free solutions to debilitating problems.”
Anson Williams (born September 25, 1949) is 67 years old today! Best known for his role as gullible but well-intent… pic.twitter.com/blNOtXbi3a
— RetroVision (@FBRetroVision) September 25, 2016
Meanwhile, Don Most (“Ralph Malph”), also stayed active in the business after Happy Days, getting roles here and there. In addition to acting, Most devotes much of his time to his first love: singing. In fact, Most’s Facebook Page hardly mentions acting at all, but is instead filled with photos and videos of him performing with his band.
Scott Baio (Chachi) Is A Republican
While not quite packing the star power of other Hollywood conservatives, such as Tom Selleck or Clint Eastwood, Baio’s conservative bent got him featured on stage with Donald Trump at the 2016 Republican Presidential Convention. Whether or not that was beneficial to his career (which, post-Happy Days, has consisted mostly of bit parts and guest appearances), will be left to the reader to decide.
Bonus Entry: Randolph Roberts and Gavan O’Herlihy (Chuck Cunningham (Who?)) Are Nobodies, Like Chuck
Chuck Cunningham is one of those television characters who existed for a time and then was forgotten about. Richie Cunningham’s older brother, Chuck, failed to score with the audiences, and by the second season of Happy Days, he had disappeared from the series, never to be mentioned again.
Like the character they played, the two actors who played Chuck Cunningham also disappeared forever. Roberts, according to Sitcoms Online, got a nine-to-five job in academia after his acting career fizzled, while O’Herlihy continued to work, having never achieved widespread fame.