‘Happy Days’: Mrs. Cunningham Actress Marion Ross Guest-Starred on ‘The Lone Ranger’

by Joe Rutland

Marion Ross was a working actress in her years before she found success on “Happy Days.” She guest stars on a popular western, too.

Ross, who played Marion Cunningham on the popular ABC sitcom, finds herself in the middle of a fourth-season episode of “The Lone Ranger.”

In “Texas Draw,” she plays Virginia Thorpe, wife of Brother John Thorpe. Now, Brother John has some trouble on his hands as a fight breaks out between him and a gang. Who stops the melee from getting out of hand? Why, The Lone Ranger himself, played by Clayton Moore, stops the brouhaha. Helping “The Masked Man” stop the fight, of course, is Tonto, played by Jay Silverheels.

Besides her TV work on “Happy Days,” Ross, now retired at 92 years old, has appeared in films like “Sabrina,” “The Glenn Miller Story,” and “Operation Petticoat.”

But TV viewers all over the world know Ross as “Mrs. C,” as Arthur Fonzarelli, a.k.a. The Fonz, played by Henry Winkler, would call her. She played on “Happy Days” throughout its 11-season run on ABC. Ross co-starred with Ron Howard, Tom Bosley, Erin Moran, Anson Williams, and Don Most.

‘Happy Days’ Star Would Take TV Cast Experience And Use It At Home

When Ross was in “Happy Days,” she also was a working single, divorced mother. What she would do is take what she was doing on the set as Marion Cunningham and use it on her kids.

Ross talks about it in a 2011 interview with Next Kid Thing.

“It was very handy for me because I would practice at work and play ‘house’ with Richie [Howard] and Joanie [Moran], and my own children at home were about 3 years younger,” Ross says of her “Happy Days” costars. 

“So, my kids wouldn’t have had their ‘situations’ yet, and I could study it a bit, which help me a lot,” she says.  “I was always a step ahead of my kids.”

Ross said she is sure that she “would’ve been more nervous and panicky, but the writers always treated it as a journey—as a very ordinary thing.”

The casting of Ross and Bosley as the Cunninghams looks like it was perfect all the time. One thing she could never figure out, though, is why her “Happy Days” costar never liked her.

“I didn’t get along so well with Tom Bosley, my husband,” Ross said in a 2019 interview with Australian TV show Studio 10. When asked why this was so, she said, “I don’t know. He didn’t like me and I’m not used to being not liked.”

Despite that, though, they work well together as the camera focuses on them for the ABC sitcom. Bosley, though, died on Oct. 19, 2001, at 83 years old. His contributions on “Happy Days” and other shows aren’t forgotten by classic TV fans.