‘Happy Days’ Mrs. Cunningham Actor Explained Need for Show’s Success: ‘Two Children to Feed’

by Emily Morgan
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From 1974 to 1984, Marion Ross won millions of hearts when she starred as Mrs. Cunningham on the ABC sitcom “Happy Days.” Even though you would never know it, off-screen, Ross was worried about her life at home.

During an interview with Zoomer from 2018, Ross opened up about her life behind the scenes. According to Ross, besides being known as “America’s mom,” she was also juggling being a single mom to two children while filming one of the most popular shows at the time. 

“It was a wonderful job and, at the time, I was divorced and had two children to feed,” she said at the time. “All of a sudden, we had a show that was a hit. I didn’t realize at the time that it would be my home for the next 11 years, but it was. It allowed me to raise my children, buy a home, you know?”

Even though the work was grueling, Ross’ ability to work on the successful show empowered her to provide for her family in ways she never dreamed of. For the decade that “Happy Days” was on the air, it followed 1950s Milwaukee teens Richie Cunningham and his friends, Ralph Malph, Potsie Webber, and cool-guy Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli. 

Ross Credits ‘Happy Days’ Creator With Keeping Cast Close

For Ross, she had a critical part in the show. Even though the sitcom was a light-hearted comedy, she brought a motherly warmth that kept fans tuning in each week. Ross added that the show’s creator, Garry Marshall is responsible for keeping the on-screen family close off the camera. 

“I want to give Garry Marshall a great deal of credit because he created the show and was concerned that we all get along,” she said at the time. “We were a wonderful family. We were all on a softball team together. He created a world for us. They all wanted to be a part of my book. Isn’t that wonderful to have had that kind of relationship? And now our show is pretty damn old, but we’re still all bonded together. Very unusual, very rare.”

While her time on “Happy Days” may have come to an end, Ross is still working as an actress. According to her IMDB page, Ross recently starred in a “mockumentary” comedy, Senior Entourage. She stars alongside Ed Asner, Helen Reddy, Charlie Robinson, and Mark Rydell. Before then, she played Mrs. Grant in the television series short, “Please Tell Me I’m Adopted,” from 2017 to 2020. 

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