"Happy Days" Star Marion Ross Opens Up About Losing Erin Moran

Last April, Erin Moran, best known for her role as Joanie Cunnigham in the 70s sitcom Happy Days, suddenly passed away at age 56 following complications of Stage IV cancer.


In the days after her death, Scott Baio, who played Chachi alongside Moran in the Happy Days spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi wrote a Facebook post to shut down the nasty rumors surrounding the circumstances of her death.

"I'm also trying to process this loss. Erin was my very first real girlfriend," Baio wrote in the post. "I'm very heartbroken over her passing, especially since it was cancer."

A few weeks later, Moran's costars, including Baio, Anson Williams, Cathy Silvers, Ron Howard, Don Most and Marion Ross, reunited at a memorial to celebrate her life.

Now, the cast has once again reunited, and Ross, who played Moran's mother on the show for 11 seasons, took the opportunity to reflect on their loss. She revealed to CountryLiving.com that she and the rest of the cast would be getting together to honor Howard's late father Rance, but Moran's absence would definitely be felt.


"It will just be the family without Erin," she said. "I was very close to her and she was a very dear, precious girl."

Ross also had an important message to share as the one year anniversary of the actress's death approaches.

Moran hid her battle with cancer from the public, but after people began speculating about the role drugs and alcohol may have played in her death, the Sheriff's office released the autopsy results and it stated that "standard toxicology tests were performed and the results are pending, however no illegal narcotics were found at the residence."

However, the actress did battle an addiction for years prior, and Ross believes it is a consequence of growing up as a child star in Hollywood. She imparted some advice to those who are considering putting their kids in the entertainment industry.

"My warning would be for parents who put their kids in show business—be very careful of that," Ross said.


She continued, "Ron Howard’s parents just took him off the set and [took him] straight home. I think sometimes it’s the parents that break, not the child. She was such a smart little girl and to see her end up this way was tragic for everyone."

Ross also commented on her relationship with Baio, who has recently been in the media after his Charles in Charge co-star Nicole Eggert accused him of sexual misconduct. Baio has since denied all allegations made against him.

"Scott seems to end up in the news all the time," she admitted. "We [don't] bring it up. The press is always moving fast, and they’re always looking for something. The best [thing to do] is to laugh it off, make fun of it. I have no idea. I don’t pay any attention to this whatsoever. I’m not interested."


89-year-old Ross has retired from acting "for the last two years," but she has written a book titled My Days: Happy and Otherwise, and it will hit shelves on March 27. According to Ross, Howard wrote the foreword, while the rest of the cast each wrote a chapter.

No matter how much time has passed Moran will be missed by all.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.