Erin Moran, who played Joanie Cunningham on TV’s “Happy Days”, died on Saturday, April 22nd, 2017. She was 56. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Authorities in Indiana received a call just after 4 pm on Saturday to check on an “unresponsive female”. When the EMT’s arrived on the scene, they found that Moran had already passed away. An autopsy is pending to try to determine the cause of death. (UPDATE: Moran likely died of cancer, according to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and the county coroner. In a statement released by authorities on Monday, the report said that an autopsy found that Moran “likely succumbed to complications of stage 4 cancer.” The statement did not say what kind of cancer she may have had. Toxicology tests were performed and results are pending, but “no illegal narcotics were found” at her residence.)
Moran started playing the role of Joanie when “Happy Days” premiered in 1974. She continued that role in 1982 in the spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi”, along with Scott Baio. That show lasted only one season.
Like many child actors, Moran had a tough time handling her stardom. Drinking and bizarre behavior eventually lead her to living in a trailer park in Salisbury, IN. She and her husband, Steve Fleischmann, were living in his mother’s trailer. Reports from 2012 said Moran had been thrown out of the trailer because of her partying. More recent reports suggest that Moran had run out of money and had been once again kicked out of the trailer.
Moran had roles on “Murder, She Wrote”, “Desperation Boulevard”, “The Love Boat”, “The Bold and the Beautiful”, and “Celebrity Fit Club”. According to one story, Henry Winkler, who played Fonzie on “Happy Days”, had been trying to develop a role for her on “Arrested Development” at one point.
In 2012, Moran and three of her “Happy Days” co-stars, Anson Williams, Marion Ross, Don Most and the widow of Tom Bosley, filed a $10 million lawsuit against CBS. The lawsuit claimed they never received merchandise royalties they were owed under their contracts. In July 2012, the actors settled their lawsuit with CBS. Each received a payment of $65,000 and a promise by CBS to continue honoring the terms of their contracts
To read more about Erin Moran here is her Wikipedia page.
Here is the complete opening theme song from the TV show “Joanie Loves Chachi”….