Everybody loved Joanie.
Stars from Happy Days reunited to pay their final respects to Erin Moran, the actress with the sweet smile who played Joanie Cunningham on the hit ’70s show. She died in her trailer home in New Salisbury, Ind., on April 22. The 56-year-old, who had a rough time handling her stardom after her early TV success, had been battling stage IV cancer.
Members of the Happy Days clan who attended the service were Scott Baio (Chachi), Cathy Silvers (Jenny Piccalo), Marion Ross (Mrs. Cunningham), Anson Williams (Potsie), Ron Howard (Richie), and Don Most (Ralph). They all got together for a group photo, which is sure to give viewers a shot of nostalgia.
— Scott Baio (@ScottBaio) May 3, 2017
Baio was one of the cast members to share the photo on social media. The actor, who co-starred with Moran on Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi, was widely criticized for saying the actress’s death may have been due to substance abuse problems. (“If you do drugs or drink, you’re going to die,” he told New York’s WABC radio. Authorities later determined she “likely succumbed to complications of stage IV cancer.” For his part, Baio blamed the backlash on liberals.)
Baio noted in his post that they were “celebrating the life of #ErinMoran.”
Moran’s husband, Steven Fleischmann, released an open letter about her final months and asked Erin’s famous friends to share it in hopes it would put rumors about her death to rest. He detailed her diagnosis last November after finding a “dime-size bloodstain on her pillowcase.” By mid-February, she “could no longer speak or eat or drink.” When she passed, she was holding his hand.
Anson Williams shared Erin’s husband Steven Fleischmann’s open letter:
Erin Moran's husband's loving letter explaining Erin's final days.Erin Moran's husband, Steven Fleischmann, says he…
Ron Howard, who went on from Happy Days to become one of the most well-known moviemakers in the world, talked about Moran during an interview on The Talk last week. He described Happy Days as a bit of “boys’ club,” but noted that Erin, who was looked at as the “kid” on the show, could hold her own when she needed to.
“I do remember a particular moment where we were in rehearsal … and somehow it was kinda turning into a shaving cream fight, and she did sneak up behind Henry Winkler with a pretty good shaving cream pie and get him,” Howard recalled. While he hinted at her troubled past, he said he’ll remember her as the “feisty, spirited girl” he knew on the set. “What a great, irrepressible spirit … and a wonderful talent.”
One of the Happy Days stars notably missing from the group photo was Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz. Extra reports he was busy with obligations related to promoting a new book. However, after Moran’s passing, he issued a statement remembering “her sweet smile that greeted me” when he walked onto the Happy Days set in 1974. He added that she “will always be locked in my heart.”
Also missing, of course, are Tom Bosley, who played Mr. C, and Al Molinaro, who played Al. They have both passed away over the last six years.
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