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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 August, 2004, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
Remembering Happy Days
By Darren Waters
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Happy Days, the 1970s US sitcom set in 1950s mid-West America is celebrating 30 years since it first launched. BBC News Online looks at what happened to the stars.


Richie Cunningham was the original star of Happy Days, the goofy High School student growing up amid close-knit family and friends.

As the show developed Howard's character became increasingly marginalised by the appeal of the Fonz. Howard left the show in 1980.

His career stalled initially but the global success of his film Splash, which he directed in 1984, put his career back on track.

His directorial career has been a mix of hits and flops - it includes A Beautiful Mind, for which he won an Oscar, Apollo 13, Far and Away, Cocoon and Willow.


Since hanging up his leather jacket as the irrepressibly cool but geeky Fonz, Winkler has had a succession of bit parts in TV and movies, often appearing as a High School principal in films such as Scream.

Forgettable movie roles include a bartender in I Shaved My Legs For This, chef Ray Connelly in Down to You and Edward Crow in PUNKS. He is best known as a TV producer and director, responsible for MacGyver and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.


Seventy-six year old actor Tom Bosley was the all-American father Howard Cunningham with the ever-present hound-dog expression. His role brought him the dubious honour of being ranked ninth in US magazine TV Guide's list of the 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.

Since Happy Days, Bosley has made guest appearances in more than a dozen US series, including ER, Walker:Texas Ranger and The Love Boat. His most notable role has been as Father Frank Dowling in the eponymous detective series which mixes Murder She Wrote with The Name of the Rose.


Marion Cunningham was the housewife with a seemingly pharmaceutically-induced level of happiness. For 10 years she tended hearth and home.

Like many of the Happy Days cast, she has found consistent work on a number of TV series, including Hart to Hart, and as the mother of Drew Carey in his eponymous sitcom series.

More recently she provided the voice of Grandma in the cult cartoon series SpongeBob Squarepants.


Moran spent her entire teenage years on Happy Days, playing Joanie, a boisterous High School student whose romance with Chachi captured US TV viewers hearts. Their love story spawned a disastrous spin-off series, Joanie Loves Chachi which lasted just one year.

Her career has been mostly a succession of guest appearances on shows such as Murder She Wrote and Diagnosis Murder.


Williams played Warren "Potsie" Weber, Richie Cunningham's best friend at High School. He was slightly more worldly than the ingenue Richie and he quickly moved from being one of the show's leading characters to a bit part, as the Fonz became the focus of the show.

Since Happy Days he has found work directing several episodes of Star Trek spin-offs, SeaQuest DSV, episodes of Xena Warrior Princess and Hercules, as well as Charmed and Beverly Hills 90210.


Ralph Malph was the High School klutz in Happy Days - the loser with the gormless smile. He left Happy Days, along with Ron Howard, in 1980, last seen heading off to Greenland in the army.

Aside from a couple of appearances on Star Trek: Voyager he is probably best known for his voice work on the 1980s fantasy cartoon series Dungeons and Dragons, as Eric the cavalier.

He made his feature film directing debut with an independent film The Last Best Sunday. The film was screened at The Seattle International Film Festival and it was the feature film winner at the Telluride Indiefest.

His former Happy Days colleague Ron Howard cast him in 1999's Ed TV.


Molinaro took over the role of Al, owner of Arnold's diner, in 1976, two years into the series' run and quickly became an established character. He took over from Pat Morita, who went on to find fame as Mr Miyagi in the Karate Kid series.

Not seen on screen in comedy or dramas since 1990, Molinaro is best known for doing commercials. He has also set up a chain of diners in the mid-West with Anson Williams called Al's.


Baio joined Happy Days in 1977, playing Charles "Chachi" Arcola, a cousin of the Fonz. His romance with Joanie led to a short-lived spin off. Since then he has appeared regularly in Diagnosis: Murder and Perry Mason, and was the lead actor in sitcom Charles in Charge, which ran for six years from 1984. He appeared in the movies Face Value, Face to Face, and Dumb Luck in 2001 and in Baby Geniuses 2: Superbabies in 2002.

Supporting cast members


Laverne de Fazio appeared in a few episodes as a date for Richie. Her character, and that of Shirley Feeney, proved popular enough to warrant their own show.

Penny Marshall went on to prove herself as a director, making Big, A League of their Own and The Preacher's Wife. She is currently producing The Cinderella Man, which is being directed by Ron Howard.


Shirley Feeney in Laverne and Shirley, Williams has made a career as a guest star in TV series such as Law and Order, Perry Mason and sitcom 8 Simple Rules.


Robin Williams made his sitcom debut in Happy Days, playing Mork from Ork in 1978. The character was such a success that a spin-off, Mork and Mindy, was created.

Robin Williams has since gone on to be one of the world's best-known actors and comics.

Happy Days can be seen in the UK on Paramount Comedy daily at 10am

Howard talks back
19 Mar 02  |  Oscars 2002
Ron Howard's happy days
23 Jan 02  |  Oscars 2002


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