‘Happy Days’: Why Marion Ross Said She Loves ‘Being Rude and Bad’ in Her Roles

by Keeli Parkey
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When you think of actress Marion Ross the picture you most likely have in your mind is that of Mrs. Cunningham on “Happy Days.” As that character, Ross was kind and sweet and warm and welcoming.

However, according to the actress herself, she actually enjoys playing characters that are the opposite of kind and sweet and warm and welcoming. Turns out, she loves “being rude and bad.” Ross talked about this during a 2011 interview with Next Kid Thing.

Unsurprisingly, even though Ross likes playing characters that aren’t so nice, she is more like her “Happy Days” character in real life. And, the powers that be behind the show used those qualities for Mrs. C.

“I love being rude and bad, but my natural way was very much like my role in ‘Happy Days,’” Ross said during the interview. “The writers always wrote to your own personality, so it was never a stretch. They’d write the character around who you are.”

Ross also talked about some of the “rude and bad” characters she had played during her career. One of them was on the popular sitcom “That 70s Show.”

“I loved being in ‘That 70s Show’ where I played a rather rude grandmother,” Ross said. According to IMDb, she played the character of Granda Forman during 1998 and 1999. She appeared in four episodes of this show.

There were other characters the “Happy Days” now 92-year-old star also enjoyed playing.

“I also liked my character in (Gilmore) Girls, and Drew Carey’s mom was lovely, too,” Ross said in 2011.

Ross appeared on “The Drew Carey Show” from 1997 until 2004. She played the character of Beulah Carey for 16 episodes during that time. On “Gilmore Girls,” her roles were the characters Lorelai “Trix” Gilmore, Marilyn Gilmore, and Gran. Ross appeared in six episodes of that show from 2001 through 2005.

This “Happy Days” star also lent her voice to a role on a very popular cartoon – “Spongebob Squarepants.” Unsurprisingly, Ross played another grandmother figure in this series. She played the character of Grandma Squarepants in a few episodes from 2001 until 2011.

Her Role on ‘Happy Days’ Helped Marion Ross Prepare for Her Own Teens

In addition to gaining fame thanks to her role on “Happy Days,” actress Marion Ross also used the popular series to gain parenting wisdom. She was on the show for 11 seasons from 1974 until 1984. During that time, she was raising her own children. So, watching her on-screen children go through things helped prepare her for when her children experienced the same things.

“It was very handy for me because I would practice at work and play ‘house’ with Richie (Ron Howard) and Joanie (Erin Moran), and my own children at home were about three years younger. So, my kids wouldn’t have had their ‘situations’ yet, and I could study it a bit, which help me a lot. I was always a step ahead of my kids.”

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