‘Happy Days’: How One of Richie’s Girlfriend’s Actors Grew Up With Dad Like Mr. C

by Chase Thomas

Happy Days was an iconic show for its era. It saw Ron Howard in his second huge role as a kid, first on The Andy Griffith Show, and now on Happy Days years later. Howard’s Richie Cunningham was one of the more memorable characters of that timeframe, even though he had to share a lot of the spotlight with The Fonz as Henry Winkler’s character broke out into stardom on the program. However, did you how that one of Richie’s girlfriend’s actors grew up with a father just like Mr. C?

Well, electing to become an actor is hard work. It’s incredibly hard for one to make a career in Hollywood, as you need a whole lot of talent and a little bit of luck, too. Well, one of Richie’s early girlfriends on the show, played by Laurette Sprang, had a long, winding road to stardom in Hollywood. Yes, the actor originally went to college where she struggled, which resulted in her father pulling the financial plug that resulted in Sprang heading back home.

However, Sprang ended up taking on four jobs at once, which earned the approval and respect of her father so much so that he paid for her acting school and move to New York City. Sprang was discovered not too long after. Although she was originally quite upset with her dad about the move back home, Sprang said,”I realized he was right.” It was tough love, similar to Mr. C and she knew he was right about it all in the end.

Ron Howard on ‘Happy Days’

Howard found himself in a difficult spot early on in Happy Days. It was a show that caught fire, yes, but Richie quickly became secondary to The Fonz. It was a tough spot as Henry Winkler’s character quickly became the star of the program and a national figure. However, the two could not have been more cordial and friendly with one another. Ron Howard said of Winkler, “We immediately bonded and became great friends.” He continued, “We were a fantastic ensemble — we all got along great.”

Howard enjoyed working with Winkler and the same was true on the other side of things. Howard continued, “The press kept saying: ‘What’s it like? Do you feel that you’ve become a second-class citizen on your own show?’ and these kinds of things.” This had to be hard for Howard during Happy Days. It just had to be. He concluded, “Which I didn’t feel within the workspace. And I certainly didn’t feel it within our friendship, which endures to this day.”

Still, it’s great to see that it did not permeate onto the set and his friendship with Henry Winkler on Happy Days.