‘Happy Days’: Tom Bosley Emotionally Addressed the Issues Erin Moran Faced on Show, in Life

by Josh Lanier

Happy Days’ Tom Bosley said it was difficult to watch Erin Moran, who played Joanie Cunningham, struggle with her role and her life. She had problems on the show because producers were unsure how to use her, Bosley said. And her personal life was tumultuous.

Bosley, who died in 2010, opened up about some of the people he worked with on Happy Days to the Archive of American Television. When the interviewer gets to Erin Moran, Bosley tenses up.

“Producers brought Erin in, and she was wonderful,” Bosley said. “She was perfect. But as Erin grew up there were a lot of problems in her personal life, and her brother, family, and it’s hard to say what the accumulation of all of this did to her. But she really got sick. I think she also had a bad marriage and she sort of disappeared from the scene.

“… When we did a “Return to Happy Days,” or whatever you want to call it, that was about not too long after we were off the air. Maybe five or six years, and she wouldn’t appear. And all we said to all during the thing with Erin — we looked directly into the cameras and said — ‘we’re sorry you’re not here, sweetheart. We miss you very much.’ When Nick at Night put our show back on the air, Marian (Ross), and I and Erin went to New York for some press and a party. And I think Pat Morita was there. This was a wonderfully different gal.

“A gal that grew out of all the problems. Happily married to a wonderful guy,” he continued. “We flew back together on the plane and sat next to each other. She had a Bible in her hand almost the entire trip and was reading from it.”

‘Happy Day’s Erin Moran Died of Throat Cancer

Erin Moran struggled with fame. And she fell into deep depressions when Happy Days and its spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi were canceled, the Mercury News said. After which, she struggled to find work. Her life seemed to be in constant upheaval.

She had money troubles and was homeless for a time. She lost her home to foreclosure in 2010 and was forced to move in with her mother-in-law. But, reports said, a drunken brawl between the two ended with her and her second husband Steven Fleischmann living in motels for a time, The Mercury News said

She died in 2017 from complications of stage IV throat cancer, an autopsy report showed. She was only 56 years old.

“Erin always brought light into a room,” Happy Days co-star Anson Williams told People. “She always gave before she took, she was a very kind, generous person, but going through her own demons. Most of the time when I’d see Erin it would be an event, something kind of special, it would be a couple of days and quality time.”