Erin Moran Dies; Former Happy Days Star Was 56
Erin Moran, the actress best known for having portrayed Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days, was found dead on Saturday from causes unknown.
She was 56 years old.
According to TMZ sources, authorities in Indiana received a call just after 4 p.m. this afternoon from someone reporting he or she had come across an “unresponsive female.”
When emergency medical technicians arrived on the scene, they found Moran’s corpse.
Moran sky-rocketed to fame in the early 1970s when she was cast as the younger sister of Ron Howard’s beloved character on Happy Days.
In 1982, she went on to star opposite Scott Baio on the short-lived spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi.
It was canceled after just one season.
Following her quick rise to fame, however, Moran struggled in life.
She appeared to have a drinking problem and, after a series of bizarre incidents, eventually landed her in a trailer park in Indiana.
She had reportedly gone broke and was kicked out of the mobile home she shared with husband, Steve Fleischmann.
Along with her aforementioned legendary role, Moran appeared on episodes of Murder, She Wrote, Desperation Boulevard and VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club.
An autopsy has been scheduled to determined cause of death.
In 2011, Moran and three of her Happy Days costars (Don Most, Anson Williams and Marion Ross), along with the estate of Tom Bosley, who died in 2010, sued CBS for breach of contract, alleging that they had not been paid for merchandising relating to the series.
In 2012, CBS and the actors settled their lawsuit, with the group receiving and undisclosed amount of money.
A Burbank, California native, Moran started acting in television shows and movies before she was 10 years old.
She was just 14 when she caught her major break on Happy Days.
In response to this sad news, former co-stars of Moran’s took to social media and expressed their sadness. To wit:
Ron Howard: Such sad sad news. RIP Erin. I’ll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up tv screens.
Henry Winkler: OH Erin… now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth …Rest In It serenely now.. too soon.
Added Moran’s good friend, Erin Murphy, who played Tabitha on Bewitched:
“So sad to share that my friend Erin Moran has passed away. Rest In Peace, sweet girl.
Other stars also chimed in on Moran’s passing, such as Yvette Nicole Brown, who Tweeted:
“Such sad news. #RIP #ErinMoran #HappyDays Star Dead At 56. We all loved #JoanieCunningham.”
And Troy Hughes: “THIS JUST IN … Erin Moran who starred in “Happy Days” and “Joanie Loves Chachi” has died according to @TMZ … She was 56.”
We send along our condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of Erin Moran.