Erin Moran, Happy Days’ Joanie, Dead at 56

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The Happy Days cast. Erin Moran is second from left in the bottom row

Update (April 24): Moran most likely died of stage-four cancer, according to an autopsy report. The cause of death was released on Monday in a joint statement from the Harrison County Coroner’s office and sheriff’s department.

Our original report…
Erin Moran, the actress best known for playing Joanie Cunningham on TV’s Happy Days, was reportedly found dead in Indiana Saturday afternoon (April 22). First responders following up a 911 call found the actress unresponsive and declared her deceased. The cause of death is as yet unknown, pending an autopsy. She was 56.

Moran played the younger sister of Ron Howard’s character, Richie Cunningham, on the enormously popular sitcom, which ran from 1974-84. She also starred as Joanie in a spinoff, Joanie Loves Chachi, in the 1980s.

Moran had reportedly been going through difficult times in recent years. She was said to have been homeless after being kicked out of her trailer park home in Indiana, due to her “hard-partying ways,” as several news reports stated. She had been living there with her husband and mother-in-law.

In 2008, Moran appeared on VH1’s Celebrity Fit Club but had landed few roles in recent years.

In 2012, the Happy Days cast settled a royalties lawsuit that awarded Moran and five of her co-stars $65,000 each.

Related: Happy Days creator Garry Marshall dies

Following the announcement of Moran’s death, Henry Winkler, who starred opposite Moran as The Fonz on Happy Days, tweeted: “OH Erin…now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth. Rest In It serenely now…too soon.”

Erin Moran in a recent photo

Howard tweeted, “Such sad sad news. RIP Erin. I’ll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up tv screens.”

And Anson Williams, who played Potsie on the show, tweeted, “Erin was a person who made everyone around her feel better. She truly cared about others first, a true angel. I will miss her so much, but know that she is in God’s hands. RIP sweet angel.”

Moran was only 14 when she signed on to play Joanie Cunningham. Born October 18, 1960, in Burbank, California, her first professional acting gig was in a TV commercial. She appeared in a number of films and TV series prior to landing the Happy Days role.

Watch a scene from Happy Days featuring Moran

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  1. Dancesintherain
    #1 Dancesintherain 23 April, 2017, 16:08

    R.I.P. Hard to believe.. You’ll be greatly missed.

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