'70s TV - Catching up with the Cast of Happy Days
If you are a child of the 80s, there is no doubt you grew up with the cast of crazy characters from the TV show, “Happy Days.” Even if you did not grow up in the 70s or 80s, you still may have some idea of who “The Fonz” is.
“Happy Days” was one of those wholesome TV sitcoms that presented a superficial issue, took us through about 23 minutes of teenage angst in the midst of the issue, then resolved the issue and wrapped it up in a tidy bow at the end of the thirty-minute segment.
Much time has passed since the final episode (1984) of the iconic 70s show about the 50s, so let us catch up with some of the key cast members who will forever remain in the collective heart of the Generation X crowd.
Mr. & Mrs. Cunningham (Tom Bosley & Marion Ross)
Mr. Cunningham was the level-headed father who kept everyone else in line.He had an even temper, and an understated firm hand - he was the kind of dad everyone would like to have.
Mrs. Cunningham (or “Mrs. C” as the Fonz called her) was one of the greatest TV moms ever!She baked, she was friendly, and she was cool with all of her kids’ friends (you know…she was the “neighborhood mom”).I hope the future for Mr. & Mrs. C held many grandkids, great-grands, and a long and healthful life together on 565 North Clinton Drive in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Marion Ross is 82 years of age in 2011, and she is still active in television roles. If you missed it, try to Netflix her memorable guest starring spot on “Nurse Jackie” from 2010. Sadly, Tom Bosley passed away in 2010; he was 83 years old.
Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard)
Come on now - I am sure we do not need to get into this one, but just in case you have been under a rock for the last 20 years, I will give you a mini update of sorts.
The somewhat nerdy Ron Howard may have been a slice of homemade white bread, but he got the last laugh, because he went on to become one of the most accomplished and prolific director/producers in Hollywood history.
Richie Cunningham went on to marry Lori-Beth and probably have loads of little red-headed grandchildren.However, it would be more interesting if the “Family Guy” homage was true… Richie finally admitted that he was gay and he went on to have a long relationship with Mike Brady from the Brady Bunch.
Arthur Fonzarelli/The Fonz/Fonzie (Henry Winkler)
Just so that no one gets it twisted, The Fonz was the star of the show.He became a household name & his tagline “Aye” with the thumbs up sign is now the universal symbol of “cool” everywhere.
He had a gelled pompadour, a black leather jacket with boots to match, he drove a motorcycle, and school and wholesomeness were not his things…he was my kind of guy!Even though he always did the “right thing” at the close of each episode, we forgave him because we knew that it was only because of the influence of his goody-goody friends (ie, Richie Cunningham).Oh yea, and nobody called him “Arthur” (and lived to tell about it) except for the beloved Mrs. C.
These days Henry Winkler can be seen all over the small screen. He has some particularly funny roles on the Adult Swim medical satire show “Children’s Hospital,” and you can also catch him in the yet to be released TV series “Hillers” - I hope the show does well - we all still love “The Fonz.”
Joannie Cunningham (Erin Moran)
Pretty much through most of the show, Joannie Cunningham was Richie’s annoying little sister, who wanted to follow her brother and his friends around everywhere (typical).Then, she grew up…when she turned into a young woman, she began a romance that would end up becoming one of the most celebrated TV romances of all time (Joannie & Chachi).
The pair became so popular, that they broke out into their own TV show - it (Joannie Loves Chachi) was a dud, but it did exist.Joanie Cunningham probably crumbled under the pressure of her perfect big brother & became strung-out on alcohol and drugs.
Erin Moran has been mostly silent since her days on “Happy Days.”She puttered around Hollywood & did the obligatory 80s TV show guest spots (“The Love Boat” and “Hotel”) and she also made appearances on some extremely unforgettable TV movies since then, but other than that… it looks like “Happy Days” was her heyday.
However, you never know, it ain’t over til the fat lady sings, and at only 50 years of age (yes, little Joanie Cunningham is 50 years old…), Erin Moran can still make a comeback - we’re waiting, Erin…
Warren “Potsie” Weber (Anson Williams)
While the world was crushing on The Fonz, some of us were crushing on Potsie Weber (please tell me I was not the only one) -- no, do not ask us why, because Potsie was a bit of a nerd, but we thought he was a cutie.
He was kind of slow, and a bit of a pushover, but somehow he went on to become a psychiatrist (a real doctor, and not just a “book doctor” like a psychologist) at the end of the series - it works for me.
Anson Williams was another one of the “Happy Days” alum that did not stay in front of the camera after the show ended.However, he has been very active over the years in a directorial capacity, with successful gigs on “Beverly Hills 90210” (original), “Lizzie McGuire,” and currently “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”
Ralph Malph (Don Most)
Ralph Malph was the "other redhead" on the show, and he will go down as one of the most annoying TV characters in history.He was always cruising for girls and making silly jokes (what he called jokes…).
For all of his silliness, he always seemed to be more successful than Richie and Potsie with members of the opposite sex, but no one seems to know why because he lacked any semblance of sex appeal or even normality…
Don Most has been sporadic in his acting appearances since the end of “Happy Days,” his most highly profiled roles were in other 80s shows like “Teen Wolf” and “Dungeons and Dragons.”
Watch the Final Episode of Happy Days
OK, so if you didn't enjoy my personal predictions for how the characters of Happy Days should end up, you can watch the first part of the final episode below.
You can also watch the series finale in its entirety if you want to mosey on over to YouTube. But for now, just click on the video below to get a 6 minute Happy Days Fix.