‘Happy Days’: Tom Bosley Broke Character in the Series Final Episode to Do This

by Katie Maloney

After 11 successful seasons, fans wanted Happy Days characters to speak to them directly. And that’s exactly what Tom Bosley did.

Set in the 1950s-60s Milwaukee, Happy Days follows the Cunningham family and friends. Believe it or not, the show was not very successful during its first season. So, the show’s creator, Gary Marshall, decided to focus more on the comedy of the show. He also chose to give the show’s minor character Fonzie, more screentime. The changes worked and Happy Days became the number-one program on television during its second season. Additionally, Fonzie became one of the most merchandised characters of the 1970s.

After 10 years of success, the cast wanted a way to give back to their dedicated fans. So, actor Tom Bosley who played Howard Cunningham on the show, improvised a bit during the series finale. During the final episode, Bosley stepped out of character and turned to the camera to thank the viewers for being part of the Cunningham family for so many years.

Tom Bosley Says Happy Days Co-Star Marion Ross is ‘A Rare One’

If you have to play someone’s husband or wife for 10 years, hopefully, you like them. Luckily, that was the case for Tom Bosley and Marion Ross. Ross played Bosley’s wife, Marion Cunningham, on Happy Days. Ross had made appearances in several other shows including Sabrina, The Glenn Miller Story, and The Lone Ranger. However, it wasn’t until she landed the role next to Bosley as two of the most beloved television parents that her career really took off. Ross received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for her work on the show. She also reprised her role as Marion Cunningham for the spin-off series Joanie Loves Chachi.

During an interview, Bosley shared what it was like working with his onscreen wife for all of those years.

“Well, she’s a rare one. If I had to name actresses that I enjoyed working with in my entire life, I think she’d be in the top three,” said Bosley. “Thank God, that from the time the show went off the air she was involved with some wonderful, wonderful work. So there is a lot of great recognition for her ability. She’s a happy person. She acted before the show but she wasn’t too well-known. And Happy Days made her a star. And she’s just a wonderful person.”