Erin Moran: actor who played Joanie Cunningham in Happy Days dies at 56

Moran, who played Ron Howards Richie Cunningham characters sister in the sitcom set in 1950s, had endured numerous struggles in recent years

Erin Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi, has died.

She was 56, and the cause of death has not been determined.

A statement from the sheriffs department in Harrison County, Indiana, said the dispatcher received a 911 call about an unresponsive female. Upon arrival of first responders, it was determined that Erin Moran Fleischmann was deceased. An autopsy is pending.

Garry Marshall, Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Erin Moran, Henry Winkler and Anson Williams of the television show Happy Days, pose after Ross received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Photograph: E.J. Flynn/AP

A Burbank, California native, she began acting in TV and movies before she was 10 years old. She had nearly a decades worth of experience when she was cast in 1974 in Happy Days as Joanie Cunningham, the kid sister to high school student Richie Cunningham, played by Ron Howard.

Debuting at a time of nostalgia for the seemingly innocent 1950s, the sitcom was set in Milwaukee and soon became a hit. Howard and Henry Winkler, who played tough guy Arthur The Fonz Fonzarelli, were the shows biggest stars, but Moran also became popular. In 1982, she was paired off with fellow Happy Days performer Scott Baio in the short-lived Joanie Loves Chachi.

Her more recent credits included The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote, but she never approached the success of Happy Days and was more often in the news for her personal struggles.

Howard tweeted his condolences. Such sad sad news. RIP Erin. Ill always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up tv screens.

Winkler also tweeted, saying OH Erin… now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth …Rest In It serenely now.. too soon.

Willie Aames (@WAames)

RIP to my old colleague and childhood friend ERIN MORAN. So Saddened to hear you have passed. #Erinmoran pic.twitter.com/8zpGorArzO

April 23, 2017

More to come…

Associated Press contributed to this report

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/apr/23/erin-moran-actor-who-played-joanie-cunningham-in-happy-days-dies-at-56

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