‘Happy Days’: One Actor Explained Why They Thought Their Career Had Come to a ‘Standstill’ at Age 50

by Joe Rutland

Marion Ross found her career at a crossroads and didn’t know if she had a future. That’s before “Happy Days” called for Marion Cunningham.

Actually, Ross found herself not getting too many roles. She would go on auditions, not get roles, and think that the acting life was all over for her.

“It’s funny,” Ross said in a 2018 interview with Smashing Interviews. “Of course, I thought I had come to a total standstill at age 50.”

Ross Considers Becoming Teacher Before ‘Happy Days’ Success

Ross remembers saying something about it to her mother before she heard about “Happy Days.”

“I said to my mother who was a teacher, ‘Maybe I should get a credential and become a teacher,'” Ross said. “She said, ‘No! Don’t do that.’

“I tried so hard to turn the acting into a business,” she said. “I hired a press agent. (And) I could see that this was all about selling, that I was a product, and it was about selling and that the Brownies and the fairies were not going to come and find you. So isn’t that interesting?”

But Ross went out to audition for “Happy Days” in the motherly role of the Cunningham family. Her audition proved to be good enough for the show’s producers. From that point, Ross played Marion Cunningham for 11 seasons on ABC.

Actress Really Needed ‘Mrs. C’ Role To Work Out For Her Family

Why was it important for Ross to get the “Mrs. C.” role on “Happy Days”? She had two children to take care of at home.

In a 2018 interview with Zoomer, Ross opened up about her life behind the scenes. Besides being known as “America’s mom,” Ross also was juggling being a single mom to two children while filming one of television’s most popular shows. 

“It was a wonderful job and, at the time, I was divorced and had two children to feed,” she said. “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?”