‘Happy Days’: One Actor Said Erin Moran Had a ‘Really Harsh Upbringing’

by Chris Haney

Happy Days actress Erin Moran passed away in April 2017, and her co-star Anson Williams spoke about “reeling” from her death a few months later.

Moran, who played Joanie Cunningham on the hit sitcom, died at the age of 56. The previous year, doctors diagnosed her with throat cancer around Thanksgiving. Only months later, Moran’s health deteriorated significantly because of the disease. She eventually passed away due to complications stemming from her throat cancer.

Later that summer, Williams opened up about his Happy Days co-star’s abrupt death. The actor who portrayed Potsie on the hit show knew Moran since she was only 12 years old. Additionally, Williams is who suggested her for the role.

“I’m still reeling from that,” Williams explained to Smashing Interviews. “In Lisa, Bright and Dark, Erin played Kay’s sister. She was 12 years old and she was just adorable. When I was hired again for the second pilot of Happy Days, they were recasting Joanie and I recommended her. I said, ‘Hey, I just worked with this wonderful young actress.’ They brought her in, read her, and she got the part.”

‘Happy Days’ Star Anson Williams Opens up About Moran’s Death

During the same interview, Anson Williams said he didn’t want to get into Moran’s past. But he shared that the Happy Days star had a less than perfect childhood. In fact, he claims that her life growing up in a broken home was extremely rough because of her family.

“I don’t want to get into her personal life, but Erin had a really harsh upbringing,” Williams said somberly. “No child should have the family she had. She didn’t get the upbringing a child should have, which really makes life hard. She had a lot of problems for a lot of years, but then she and her wonderful husband, Steve, really straightened themselves out beautifully. They were really back on track when this cancer hit her.”

Moran struggled with depression and partied hard following the end of Happy Days and its spin-off series Joanie Loves Chachi. She had trouble finding other acting roles and eventually moved out of California to Indiana.

Williams said Moran was doing much better around the time she received her cancer diagnosis. The two would text each other and the actor thought his former co-star was “beating” the disease. Therefore, when Moran passed away so suddenly, Williams was devastated.

“She couldn’t talk so we would text. I’d give her encouragement. I really thought she was beating it. I was thrown for a loop when she passed, I just cried. It was devastating,” Williams said of Moran’s passing.