Erin Moran

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Erin Moran
Moran in 2008
Erin Marie Moran

(1960-10-18)October 18, 1960
DiedApril 22, 2017(2017-04-22) (aged 56)
Other namesErin Marie Fleischmann
Years active1966–2012
Known forHappy Days
Joanie Loves Chachi
Rocky Ferguson
(m. 1987; div. 1993)
Steven Fleischmann
(m. 1993)
RelativesTony Moran (brother)

Erin Marie Moran-Fleischmann[1] (October 18, 1960 – April 22, 2017) was an American actress, best known for playing Joanie Cunningham on the television sitcom Happy Days and its spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Erin Marie Moran was born on October 18, 1960, in Burbank, California, near Los Angeles and raised in nearby North Hollywood.[4][5] She was the second youngest of six children born to Sharon and Edward Moran. Her father was a finance manager, and her interest in acting was supported by her mother, who signed her with a talent agent when she was five years old.[4] Two of her brothers are also actors, John Moran and Tony Moran, the latter of whom played the unmasked Michael Myers in the movie Halloween (1978).

She would publicly accuse her father of physical and mental abuse in 1992.[6]


Moran as Joanie Cunningham in 1976

Moran's first acting role was at the age of five in a television commercial for First Federal Bank.[4] At the age of seven, she was cast as Jenny Jones in the television series Daktari,[7] during its fourth and final season in 1968. She made her feature-film debut in How Sweet It Is! (1968) with Debbie Reynolds,[8] and made regular appearances on The Don Rickles Show in 1972, and guest appearances in The Courtship of Eddie's Father, My Three Sons, Bearcats!, Family Affair and in The Waltons, in an episode titled "The Song", in 1975. She also appeared in the television series Gunsmoke.[9]

In 1974, at the age of 13, Moran was cast to play her best-known role as Joanie Cunningham on the sitcom Happy Days, the younger sister of Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard). Moran continued the role in 1982 in the short-lived spin-off series Joanie Loves Chachi. Moran later stated that she had only reluctantly agreed to star in the series because she would have preferred to remain with Happy Days.[10][11] She won the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a New Television Series for her role.[12][13] After Joanie Loves Chachi's cancellation in 1983, she returned to Happy Days for its final season.[14]

In 1983, Moran said in an interview that the Happy Days producers had pressured her to change from about the age of 15: They "suddenly wanted me to lose weight and become this sexy thing."[11]

In the following years, Moran made several other television guest appearances, including The Love Boat, Murder, She Wrote,[14] and Diagnosis: Murder, and starred opposite Edward Albert in the cult sci-fi horror film Galaxy of Terror (1981).[15] She would become estranged from the Happy Days cast, with People claiming that she called them "evil" in an interview,[16] a statement she would deny on a later talk show.[6]

In 2008, she was a contestant on VH1's reality show Celebrity Fit Club.[17][18] Two years later, she made an appearance in the independent comedy feature Not Another B Movie (2010).[15]

Happy Days lawsuit[edit]

On April 19, 2011, Moran, three of her Happy Days co-stars—Don Most, Anson Williams, and Marion Ross—and the estate of Tom Bosley, who died in 2010, filed a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS, which owns the show. The suit claimed that cast members had not been paid merchandising revenues owed under their contracts. Revenues included those from show-related items such as comic books, T-shirts, scrapbooks, trading cards, games, lunch boxes, dolls, toy cars, magnets, greeting cards, and DVDs with cast members' likenesses on the box covers. Their contracts entitled the actors to be paid 5% of the net proceeds of merchandising if a single actor's likeness was used, and half that amount if the cast members were pictured in a group. CBS stated it owed the actors between $8,500 and $9,000 each, most of it from slot-machine revenues, but the group stated they were owed millions. The lawsuit was initiated after Ross was informed by a friend playing slots at a casino of a Happy Days machine on which players won the jackpot when five Marion Rosses were rolled.[19]

In October 2011, a judge rejected the group's claim of fraud, thereby eliminating the possibility of recouping millions of dollars in damages.[20] On June 5, 2012, a judge denied a motion to dismiss filed by CBS, which meant the case would go to trial on July 17 if not settled by then.[21] In July 2012, the actors settled their lawsuit with CBS; each received a payment of $65,000 and a promise from CBS to continue honoring the terms of their contracts.[22]

Personal life and death[edit]

In 1987, Moran married Rocky Ferguson. They divorced in 1993.[23] Later that year, she married Steven Fleischmann.[24]

After Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi were canceled, Moran moved from Los Angeles to the California mountains. She said in 1988 that she suffered from depression and was unable to get acting roles.[4] Moran confirmed news reports that her California home was foreclosed on in 2010,[25] following media claims that she had been served eviction papers and moved into her mother-in-law's trailer home in Indiana.[26] In 2017, Variety wrote that she "had fallen on hard times in recent years. She was reportedly kicked out of her trailer-park home in Indiana because of her hard-partying ways."[27]

On April 22, 2017, authorities in Corydon, Indiana, were alerted about an unresponsive female, later identified as Moran. She later was pronounced dead at the age of 56.[5][28] An autopsy report from the Harrison County coroner indicated the cause of death to be complications of stage four squamous cell carcinoma of the throat.[29][30] Toxicology testing showed that no illegal narcotics were involved in her death, and no illegal substances were found in Moran's home.[31] Moran's husband, in an open letter released through her co-star Scott Baio, confirmed that she had first experienced symptoms of throat cancer around Thanksgiving 2016 and deteriorated rapidly from that point, and that the facilities that had unsuccessfully attempted to treat her cancer had not made anyone aware of how badly the cancer had metastasized.[32]



Year Title Role Notes
1967 Who's Minding the Mint? Little Girl on Tricycle Uncredited
1968 How Sweet It Is! Laurie
1969 80 Steps to Jonah Kim
1969 The Happy Ending Marge Wilson as a Child Uncredited
1970 Watermelon Man Janice Gerber
1977 Grand Theft Auto Debbie Hedgeworth
1981 Galaxy of Terror Alluma
1996 Dear God Erin Moran
1998 Desperation Boulevard Erin Moran
2003 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Erin Moran
2008 Broken Promise Mrs. Watkins
2010 Not Another B Movie Mrs. Klien
2012 The Deceit Mrs. Shephard Final film role


Year Title Role Notes
1968 Stanley vs. the System TV movie
1968–1969 Daktari Jenny Jones Main cast, season 4 (15 episodes)
1969 Death Valley Days Mary Tugwell / Mary Elizabeth 2 episodes
1970–1973 The F.B.I. Vickie Florea / Cindy Marot / Morrie Prager's daughter 3 episodes
1970–1971 Family Affair Amy / Mary Ellen / Janet 3 episodes
1970 The Courtship of Eddie's Father Emily Ruth Gustafson Episode: "How Do You Know If It's Really Love?"
1970 My Three Sons Victoria Lewis Episode: "Dodie's Dilemma"
1971 The Smith Family Julie Keefer / Little Girl 2 episodes
1971 Gunsmoke Rachel Parker / Jenny 2 episodes
1971 O'Hara, U.S. Treasury Little Girl Episode: "Operation: Bribery"
1971 Bearcats! Elisa Tillman Episode: "Hostages"
1971 The Strange Monster of Strawberry Cove Student at Camp TV movie
1972 The Don Rickles Show Janie Robinson Main cast (13 episodes)
1973 Lisa, Bright and Dark Tracy Schilling TV movie
1974–1984 Happy Days Joanie Cunningham Main cast (234 episodes)
1975 The Waltons Sally Ann Harper Episode: "The Song"
1979 Greatest Heroes of the Bible Tova Episode: "Tower of Babel"
1979 $weepstake$ Episode: "Lynn and Grover and Joey"
1980–1985 The Love Boat Carrie Walker / Joanne Morgan / Barbara Blatnick / Janet Reynolds 6 episodes
1981 Twirl Bonnie Lee Jordan TV movie
1982–1983 Joanie Loves Chachi Joanie Cunningham Lead role (17 episodes)
1983 Hotel Karen Donnelly Episode: "Hotel"
1984 Glitter Caroline Mason Episode: "In Tennis, Love Means Nothing"
1986 Murder, She Wrote Maggie Roberts Episode: "Unfinished Business"
1998 Diagnosis: Murder Cynthia Bennett Episode: "Food Fight"
1999 Good vs. Evil Herself Episode: "Gee Your Hair Smells Evil"
2005 Happy Days: 30th Anniversary Reunion Herself TV special
2007 Scott Baio is 45 and Single Herself Episode: "Scott Baio Hires a Life Coach" (Part 1)"
2009 The Bold and the Beautiful Kelly DeMartin Episode: "Episode #1.5691"



Year Title Song(s) performed
2003 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star "Child Stars on Your Television" (with other child actors)


Year Title Song(s) performed Episode
1975 The Waltons "Will You Be Mine" (with Jon Walmsley) "The Song" (Season 3, Episode 23)
1977–1983 Happy Days "Faith of Our Fathers" (with Ron Howard, Anson Williams and Donny Most) "Fonzie's Baptism" (Season 4, Episode 25)
"Down by the Old Mill Stream" (with Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Ron Howard and Henry Winkler) "Requiem for a Malph" (Season 5, Episode 12)
"Beer Barrel Polka" (with Tom Bosley, Marion Ross and Henry Winkler)
"That Old Gang of Mine" (with Tom Bosley, Marion Ross and Ron Howard)
"Fonzie vs. The She-Devils" (Season 7, Episode 11)
"You Look at Me" (with Scott Baio) "Broadway It's Not" (Season 8, Episode 12)
"Long After You'll Always Have Me" (with Scott Baio) "American Musical" (Season 8, Episode 22)
"Lookin' Good, Feelin' Fine" (with Scott Baio) "No, Thank You" (Season 9, Episode 9)
"Call" (with Scott Baio) "To Beanie or Not to Beanie" (Season 9, Episode 12)
"How Am I Gonna Sing" (with Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Lynda Goodfriend, Ted McGinley and Pat O'Brien) "Grandma Nussbaum" (Season 9, Episode 14)
"Twistin' the Night Away" (with Scott Baio) "Poobah Doo Dah" (Season 9, Episode 15)
"Twist and Shout" (with Scott Baio) "A Touch of Classical" (Season 9, Episode 16)
"Time Turned Around" (with Scott Baio) "Great Expectations" (Season 9, Episode 18)
"Come Go With Me" (with Scott Baio) "Who Gives a Hootenanny?" (Season 10, Episode 6)
"The Loco-Motion" (with Scott Baio) "Life is More Important Than Show Business" (Season 10, Episode 15)
1982–1983 Joanie Loves Chachi "Too Young to Know" (with Scott Baio) "Chicago" (Season 1, Episode 1)
"Puttin' It All Together" (with Scott Baio) "The Performance" (Season 1, Episode 2)
"Too Young to Know" (with Scott Baio)
"I'll Take You Back" (with Scott Baio)
"I Do, I Don't, I Do" (Season 1, Episode 3)
"Lookin' Good, Feelin' Fine" (with Scott Baio)
"The Lasting Kind"
"College Days" (Season 1, Episode 4)
"Makin' Room for a Friend" (with Scott Baio)
"You and Me and Summer" (with Scott Baio)
"Fonzie's Visit" (Season 2, Episode 1)
"Our Love Was Meant to Be" (with Scott Baio) "One-on-One" (Season 2, Episode 3)
"That's My Kind of Lovin" (with Scott Baio) "No Nudes Is Good Nudes" (Season 2, Episode 4)
"That's Why I Love You" (with Scott Baio) "Everybody Loves Aunt Vanessa" (Season 2, Episode 5)
"I'll Take You Back" (with Scott Baio) "Goodbye Delvecchio's, Hello World" (Season 2, Episode 8)
"He's So Fine" "Term Paper" (Season 2, Episode 9)
"Love Me Tender" (with Scott Baio) "The Elopement" (Season 2, Episode 13)
1983 Hotel "Delta Dawn" (with Mel Tormé) "Hotel" (pilot episode)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Nominated work Category Result
1977 Photoplay Awards Gold Medal – Favorite Child Star Nominated
1983 Young Artist Award Joanie Loves Chachi Best Young Actress in a New Television Series Won
2006 TV Land Awards Happy Days Most Wonderful Wedding (shared with Scott Baio) Won


  1. ^ Puente, Maria. (April 24, 2017). Autopsy: 'Happy Days' actress Erin Moran likely died of cancer. USA Today. Retrieved April 27, 2017. "Erin Moran-Fleischmann, who was best known for playing Joanie Cunningham ..."
  2. ^ Heldman, Breanne (April 22, 2017). "Erin Moran, Happy Days star, dies at 56". Entertainment Weekly. New York City. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  3. ^ "Actress Erin Moran of 'Happy Days' Dies at 56". Washington, D.C.: Voice of America. Associated Press. April 22, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Haag, Matthew (April 22, 2017). "Erin Moran, Who Played Joanie on 'Happy Days,' Dies at 56". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Italie, Hillel (April 22, 2017). "Erin Moran, Joanie Cunningham in "Happy Days," dies at 56". New York City: Board of Directors of AP. Associated Press. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Erin Moran: 'Happy Days' Weren't Too Happy". Newsday (Nassau Edition). Hempstead NY. March 12, 1992. p. 9.
  7. ^ Rossi, Rosemary (April 22, 2017). "Erin Moran, of 'Happy Days' and 'Joanie Loves Chachi', Dead at 56". United States: MSN. Archived from the original on April 23, 2017. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  8. ^ Newman, Jason (April 22, 2017). "Erin Moran, Joanie in 'Happy Days,' Dead at 56". Rolling Stone. New York City: Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  9. ^ Sterling, Joe; Marco, Tony (April 22, 2017). "Erin Moran, 'Happy Days' actress, dead at 56". Atlanta: CNN. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  10. ^ Helsel, Phil; Dicasimirro, Gemma (April 22, 2017). "Erin Moran, Who Played Joanie on 'Happy Days', Dead at 56". NBC News. New York City. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Ellis-Petersen, Hannah; Collins, Pádraig (April 23, 2017). "Erin Moran, actor who played Joanie Cunningham in Happy Days, dies at 56". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  12. ^ Crouse 2005, pp. 42–43.
  13. ^ "Joanie Loves Chachi: Season 1". United States: Metacritic. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Aiello, McKenna (April 22, 2017). "Happy Days Star Erin Moran Dead at 56". Los Angeles: E!. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Calvario, Liz (April 22, 2017). "Erin Moran Dies: 'Happy Days' Actress Was 56". Deadline Hollywood. United States. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  16. ^ Peterson, Bettelou (April 22, 1992). "Celebrity Q&A -- Where's Erin Moran?". The Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Lake City UT. p. 2 EV.
  17. ^ Deerwester, Jayme (April 22, 2017). "'Happy Days' star Erin Moran dies at 56". USA Today. McLean, Virginia. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  18. ^ Bowman, Emma (April 22, 2017). "Actress Erin Moran, Joanie Of 'Happy Days,' Dies At 56". Washington, D.C.: NPR. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  19. ^ Zamost, Scott (April 20, 2011). "'Happy Days' actors claim fraud, money owed for merchandising". Atlanta: CNN. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  20. ^ Gardner, Eriq (June 5, 2012). "'Happy Days' Actors Win Key Ruling in CBS Lawsuit". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  21. ^ Zamost, Scott (June 5, 2012). "'Happy Days' cast members' lawsuit heading for trial". Atlanta: CNN. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  22. ^ Zamost, Scott (July 7, 2012). "'Happy Days' actors settle lawsuit with CBS". Atlanta: CNN. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  23. ^ Petit, Stephanie (April 23, 2017). "Erin Moran Said Her First Husband Struggled with Her Fame, Wanted Her to be 'Unrecognizable'". People Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  24. ^ De Nunzio, Miriam (April 23, 2017). "Erin Moran, starred as Joanie on 'Happy Days,' has died". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago: Sun-Times Media Group (Wrapports LLC). Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  25. ^ Chaney, Jen (April 19, 2011). "'Happy Days' cast members file lawsuit". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  26. ^ Marikar, Sheila (June 8, 2012). "'Happy Days' Star Erin Moran Living in Trailer to Help Ailing Mother-in-Law". Good Morning America. ABC News. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  27. ^ Oldham, Stuart (April 22, 2017). "'Happy Days' Star Erin Moran Dies at 56". Variety. Los Angeles. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  28. ^ "'Happy Days' Star Erin Moran Dead At 56". TMZ. Los Angeles. April 22, 2017. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  29. ^ Nolasco, Stephanie (April 25, 2017). "Erin Moran's husband reveals her tragic final days with skin cancer". Fox News Channel. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  30. ^ Warner, Kara (April 24, 2017). "Erin Moran's Happy Days Costar Anson Williams Reveals She Was Unable to Speak Due to Throat Cancer: 'We All Kept Quiet out of Respect'". People. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  31. ^ Sayers, Justin (April 24, 2017). "'Happy Days' star Erin Moran likely died of cancer, Harrison County coroner says". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  32. ^ Nolasco, Stephanie (April 25, 2017). "Erin Moran's husband reveals her tragic final days with skin cancer". Fox News Channel. Retrieved April 27, 2017.

Further reading[edit]

Crouse, Richard (2005). Reel Winners: Movie Award Trivia. Toronto: Dundurn Press. pp. 42–43. ISBN 978-1550025743.

External links[edit]