Just one month after the death of Penny Marshall, the Happy Days family has lost another beloved star. Actor Kristoff St. John was found dead in his San Fernando Valley home on Sunday, as previously shared by the Inquisitr. St. John’s cause of death has not been revealed but no foul play is suspected.
The 52-year-old actor was best known for his role as Neil Winter on the CBS soap opera The Young & The Restless. But long before that, Kristoff St. John was a child star who guested on one of the most memorable episodes of the hit sitcom Happy Days in the 1970s.
In 1976, Kristoff St. John appeared in the “Football Frolics” episode of the hit ABC comedy, per IMDB. The child actor shared scenes with Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, Ron Howard, and Henry Winkler in a Happy Days episode that ran during the heyday of the long-running sitcom.
In “Football Frolics,” Kristoff played a streetwise boy named Booker Brown who was dropped off by Marshall’s Laverne DeFazio at an overnight babysitting camp run by Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and his friends. Winkler’s Fonzie noted that “everyone” who was cool knew who Booker Brown was.
After Penny Marshall’s death in December, Kristoff St. John recalled working with the TV and movie icon on the famous Happy Days episode.
St. John took to Instagram to write that years after he taped the Happy Days episode as a child, he ran into Marshall who not only recognized him but noted that he had continued on with acting. St. John revealed that when he began to reintroduce himself to Marshall, the former Laverne & Shirley star stopped him and said, “Booker Brown! I’ve seen you on TV a lot since then!”
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I posted this 1975 clip of Happy Days with Penny Marshall earlier this year. Many years later I ran into her. Thinking she wouldn’t remember me, I re-introduced myself, She stopped me and said, “Booker Brown! I’ve seen you on TV a lot since then!” I was stunned. Her memory impressed me, and so did her genius comedy and outstanding directing. But the most valuable thing she possessed was her soulful spirit and down to earth personality. I will miss you Laverne...
The Happy Days cast has suffered a lot of heartache in recent years. In addition to Marshall, whose Laverne character proved to be so popular that she scored a spinoff series, Happy Days alum Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham) died in 2017 and show creator Garry Marshall, who was Penny Marshall’s brother, died in 2016.
Happy Days was Kristoff St. John’s second TV role. St. John, who was credited as Christoff in his early career, got his start on TV when he was just 8-years-old with a role on the sitcom That’s My Mama. He also appeared on episodes of Wonder Woman and The Cosby Show and played a pre-teen Alex Haley in the miniseries sequel Roots: The Next Generation before starting his Emmy-winning soap career on Y&R in the early 1990s.
You can see Kristoff St. John as Booker Brown in the Happy Days scene below.