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Despite the fact that it originally aired when some of us were either too young or not yet even born, we’re sure that like us, many of you enjoyed watching Happy Days repeat episodes that were shown well into the 1980s and beyond.
Almost cancelled after the first season due to low ratings, Happy Days ultimately became America’s no.1 show after Henry Winkler’s popular Fonzie was made a main character. The show ran for 11 seasons before finally ending in 1984.
Take a look below to find out what the Happy Days cast looks like these days, as well as finding out about which members of the cast are sadly no longer with us. What are your memories of this legendary American sitcom?
Ron Howard (Played Richie Cunningham)
Played by Ron Howard, Richie Cunningham is the wholesome Happy Days teen who was the original lead character. Richie wasn’t even Howard’s first major TV role. He was a child actor, starring as Opie Taylor in The Andy Griffith Show before he was cast in Happy Days, remaining on the show for seven seasons.
He also starred in a George Lucas movie one year before Happy Days. American Graffiti, a coming-of-age drama, was released to critical acclaim in 1973 and featured Howard as Steve Bolander.
Ron Howard left Happy Days so he could become a film director. Within the show, Richie Cunningham’s departure was explained by the character joining the Army and heading off to Greenland.
Howard’s early works include Grand Theft Auto (1977), Skyward and Night Shift – the latter of which included his old co-star Henry Winkler.
He also worked as the executive producer and narrator of Arrested Development, which also starred Winkler. In later series of this show, Howard stars as a fictionalized version of himself.
Other movies Ron Howard has directed include Cocoon, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind (for which he won the Best Director Oscar), The Da Vinci Code, and more recently Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Henry Winkler (Played Arthur ‘Fonzie’ Fonzarelli)
Due to his dyslexia (which wasn’t actually diagnosed until he was 31), Henry Winkler struggled to read the 6 lines he was given at his Happy Days audition, so apparently he made them up instead!
He’s noted that Fonzie was totally unlike his real personality: “The Fonz was everybody I wasn’t,” he said of his Happy Days character. “He was everybody I wanted to be.”
Happy Days made a household name of Henry Winkler, who was 28 when he first appeared in the show as the 16-year-old Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli. Fonz’s classic catchphrase, a simple “Aayyy!”, punctuated his unshakeably cool demeanour. Winkler’s brilliant and hilarious performance earned him 2 Golden Globe Awards, as well as 3 Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
Lady’s man Fonzie never got married, but he did adopt the orphaned Danny Corrigan Jr in the show’s final season, settling down into family life as a single father.
While still starring in Happy Days, Henry Winkler scored another Golden Globe nomination for the lead role in the 1982 movie Night Shift directed by Ron Howard.
He went on to win roles in Parks and Recreation, Childrens Hospital, Royal Pains, Arrested Development and Barry.
In nine episodes of Parks and Recreation, Winkler plays Dr. Saperstein – father of Jean-Ralphio and Mona-Lisa.
Since Happy Days, like co-star Ron Howard, Winkler became a film director. He has directed two films and starred in dozens more, including The Waterboy, Holes and Scream.
Tom Bosley (Played Howard Cunningham)
Tom Bosley was absolutely brilliant in the role of Howard Cunningham in Happy Days.
It may surprise you to learn that Tom Bosley joined Happy Days as a Tony Award winner. He was the first ever star of the Broadway musical Fiorello!, and he won the 1960 Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical.
Bosley wasn’t the only musical star on Happy Days: the Broadway star Warren Berlinger, who passed away from cancer in 2020, starred as the belligerent Sergeant Betchler in 1977.
Howard Cunningham is a stereotypical all-American dad, who loves golf and sticks to old-fashioned values.
Bosley went on to star as Sheriff Amos Tupper on Murder, She Wrote for a total of 19 episodes. Murder, She Wrote ran from 1984 to 1996.
Aside from Happy Days, Bosley’s best-known role was the hero of Father Dowling Mysteries, which was his next major TV role after Murder, She Wrote.
Sadly Bosley passed away in 2010 after a long battle with lung cancer.
Marion Ross (Played Marion Cunningham)
Played by Marion Ross, Marion Cunningham was the matriarch of Happy Days. Thanks to Ross, Marion became one of the best-loved figures on TV – and she earned 2 Primetime Emmy Award nominations in this role.
Before she starred in Happy Days, Marion Ross was also seen in a number of films. These include The Glenn Miller Story, Sabrina, Lust for Life, Teacher’s Pet, Some Came Running, Operation Petticoat and Honky.
Marion Ross also appeared in 1977’s Grand Theft Auto, directed by her onscreen Happy Days son Ron Howard.
She reprised her Happy Days role for the spinoff series Joanie Loves Chachi, as well as a 2005 episode of Family Guy.
Ross has enjoyed a successful career as a voice actor since Happy Days. You can hear and see her in King of the Hill, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Drew Carey Show, Gilmore Girls and Brothers & Sisters.
In The Drew Carey Show, she plays the titular character’s mother. In one episode, her character is referred to as Mrs Cunningham – an deliberate change that was part of a competition for viewers.
Erin Moran (Played Joanie Cunningham)
As well as starring as Joanie Cunningham (Richie’s little sister) among the Happy Days cast, Erin Moran also starred in the spinoff show called Joanie Loves Chachi.
Moran was a child star before Happy Days, featuring in the Debbie Reynolds movie How Sweet It Is! as well as the TV show Daktari. She joined Happy Days at the age of 13.
Joanie becomes an aspiring musician along with her boyfriend Chachi, which is the theme of Joanie Loves Chachi. However, Erin Moran later noted that she was reluctant to move from Happy Days to Joanie Loves Chachi, which only lasted two seasons.
After these shows ended, Erin Moran relocated from Los Angeles to a mountainous part of California. There was a rumour she would reunite with her Happy Days co-stars Henry Winkler, Ron Howard and Scott Baio within Season Four episodes of Arrested Development in 2013, but this never transpired.
Sadly, three decades after she appeared in Happy Days, Erin Moran died in 2017 following a short battle with throat cancer.
Anson Williams (Played Warren ‘Potsie’ Weber)
Who didn’t love the gorgeous Anson Williams in the role of Warren ‘Potsie’ Weber?
Potsie has plenty of romantic interests, but he finds a steady girlfriend in Jennifer Jerome, and asserts that he wants to marry her after their very first date.
Jennifer, played by Lorrie Mahaffey, fades out of the series without explanation – but Mahaffey and Williams actually became a couple in real life. They married in 1978, but divorced eight years later.
In later series of Happy Days, despite his somewhat bumbling and naive persona, Potsie enters medical school and trains to become a psychiatrist.
Since his time in the Happy Days cast, Anson Williams has become a successful TV director on shows such as Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Lizzie McGuire and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
In one 2003 episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, he even appears as his old Happy Days character Potsie in a dream sequence.
Aside from show business, Anson Williams teamed up with his Happy Days co-star Al Molinaro to create a now-defunct diner chain called Big Al’s. He also founded a cosmetics company called Starmaker Products.
Anson Williams has also penned a book, entitled Singing to a Bulldog: From Happy Days to Hollywood Director, and the Unlikely Mentor Who Got Me There.
Don Most (Played Ralph Malph)
Don Most is of course mainly known for his role as Ralph Malph in the Happy Days cast. It was his first major TV role. Ralph is a prankster and a member of the gang The Gems.
From the start of the series, he’s often seen in the company of Potsie, played by Anson Williams.The duo end up becoming roommates after high school.
However, in real life there is a four year age gap between Anson Williams and the younger Don Most.
Most went on to launch a career in music, with his self-titled album released in 1976. A few of his songs feature in the soundtrack for the movie Leo and Loree (which stars Happy Days actress Linda Purl.)
More recently, Most has specialised in 50s swing music, and and he toured the USA with his show named Donny Most Sings and Swings.
Scott Baio (Played Charles ‘Chachi’ Arcola)
The dashing Scott Baio played Charles ‘Chachi’ Arcola in Happy Days as well as its spinoff show Joanie Loves Chachi.
Aged 16, Scott Baio joined the series as The Fonz’s younger cousin. Before Happy Days, Scott Baio also starred in the 1976 movie Bugsy Malone with a young Jodie Foster. He’s said this experience got him “hooked” on show business.
In total, Ralph Malph appears in 130 episodes of Happy Days and all 17 episodes of Joanie Loves Chachi.
Alongside his work in this franchise, Scott Baio earned two Emmy nominations for his lead roles in the films Stoned and All the Kids Do It.
In addition to Happy Days, Scott Baio played the title character on the sitcom Charles in Charge.
Baio went on to play Jack Stewart in Diagnosis: Murder. Diagnosis: Murder has also featured Don Most.
Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita (played Arnold Takahashi)
Noriyuki ‘Pat’ Morita features in the show as Arnold Takahashi, the owner and manager of Arnold’s Diner. His restaurant becomes a favourite haunt of Richie’s circle.
Before he became a celebrated actor and comedian, Morita had a very difficult childhood. Born in 1932 to a Japanese American family, he developed spinal tuberculosis as a toddler and spent most of his youth in hospitals. He learned to walk and was released from hospital at the age of 11, only to be sent straight to a WW2 internment camp in Arizona where his family was imprisoned.
Released after the war, Morita’s family opened a restaurant in Sacramento, California, where Morita first showed his talent for performance by entertaining guests, acting as a master of ceremonies for larger parties.
After his father’s sudden death, Morita supported his family by working as a data processor, and eventually worked his way up to become a head of department for an aerospace firm.
However, Morita later quit his desk job to become a stand-up comedian. He secured roles in 1967’s Thoroughly Modern Millie and M*A*S*H before joining the Happy Days cast in 1975.
After Happy Days’ third season, Morita left the show and was replaced by Al Molinaro, who took over Arnold’s Diner in the role of chef-turned-owner Al Delvecchio. Funnily enough, Pat Morita then rejoined the Happy Days cast after Molinaro was recruited for the part of Garry Marshall in Joanie Loves Chachi.
Morita went on to play the inventor Taro Takahashi in a new show, Mr T and Tina., the first ever Asian-American sitcom on any US network. However, it was cancelled shortly afterwards.
Undeterred, Morita found a recurring role on the show Sanford and Son in the 70s, and was eventually cast as Mr Miyagi in 1984’s Karate Kid.
This famous role secured Morita nominations in both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and he returned to the character for three sequels. He learned karate from scratch for this franchise.
Morita’s later roles included the movies Amos, Captive Hearts, Mulan and Only The Brave. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 73.
Who was your favourite member of the Happy Days cast? And whose transformation has surprised you the most?