‘Happy Days’ Star Marion Ross Voiced Fan-Favorite Character on ‘Spongebob Squarepants’

by Quentin Blount

If you are a fan of the 1970s sitcom Happy Days, then you know probably remember Marion Ross as Marion Cunningham. But did you know that she also appeared on the popular Nickelodeon show, SpongeBob SquarePants?

Ross starred on Happy Days for 11 seasons from 1974 until 1984. Marion Cunningham was a family matriarch, and the mother of Richie, Joanie, and Chuck. She even earned two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for her role on the classic TV show. Ross’ Mrs. Cunningham character is one of just three that remained on the show for all 11 seasons. She is also one of three characters to be portrayed by the same actors on Happy Days as well as American Style (the others were Richie and Potsie).

Ross also reprised the role of Marion Cunningham on the spin-off series Joanie Loves Chachi and on Family Guy.

So, there is no doubt that will be the show that she is best remembered for. With that said, a younger generation of viewers will know Ross for her voiceover work. What particularly stands out is her role as “Grandma Squarepants” on SpongeBob SquarePants.

The 92-year-old voiced Grandma Squarepants — the paternal grandmother of SpongeBob — on the insanely popular children’s show. Her character made appearances in several episodes. Some of those include, “Grandma’s Kisses,” “BlackJack,” “The Abrasive Side,” and “Pet Sitter Pat” and the video game SpongeBob SquarePants: Employee of the Month.

Nowadays, however, Marion Ross is enjoying retirement. The Happy Days and SpongeBob SquarePants actress walked away from the profession back in 2018.

Where Was the ‘Happy Days’ Star Prior to Her Big Roles?

Prior to her work on SpongeBob SquarePants or on Happy Days, Marion Ross made appearances in a variety of different film roles. You may recognize her signature head of red hair in classic movies such as The Glenn Miller Story (1954), Sabrina (1954), Lust for Life (1956), Teacher’s Pet (1958), Some Came Running (1958), Operation Petticoat (1959), and Honky (1971).

Ross also had a few minor roles on television shows prior to starring on Happy Days. One of those was the popular Western, The Lone Ranger (1954). She also starred in the 1996 film, The Evening Star, for which she earned a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

More recently, however, the talented actress has had recurring roles on shows like The Drew Carey Show. She played Drew Carey’s mother during an episode in which she was referred to as her Happy Days character Mrs. Cunningham. And fans of That ’70s Show may recall that Marion Ross played the mean grandmother Bernice Forman in the hilarious series.

In the ’90s and early 2000s, Ross became very active in voiceover work. Not only did she appear in SpongeBob SquarePants, but she was also in King of the Hill, Kung Fu Pand, The Wild Thornberrys, and Scooby-Doo!

Safe to say that Marion Ross has been around the block a time or two. She was literally acting until she was almost 90 years old!