What Ever Happened to the Happy Days TV Show Cast?
The Happy Days TV show was one of the defining shows of the ’70s and as such, it sure needed a truckload of characters! Over the course of 11 years, die-hard fans of the show got to know the extended Cunningham clan as well as the students of Jefferson High, and the fine patrons of Arnold’s Drive-In (a few characters even disappeared into thin air!). But what happened to all the beloved actors after the show came to an end? While some of them went on to become famed directors and actors, others pursued different successful avenues in life. So read on if you’re curious to find out what ever happened to the show’s unforgettable cast members.
1. Richie Cunningham by Ron Howard
Remember the kind-hearted, freckled redhead Richie Cunningham who always tried to do right by his family and friends and score a date with the girls? While “The Fonz” might have been the focal character of Happy Days, Cunningham always remained at the heart of the show for his candid coming of age story.
Actor Ron Howard first secured a name for himself for his roles on The Andy Griffith Show and then Happy Days, but went on to attain iconic Hollywood status for his impeccable directing skills. Howard has already bagged two Academy Awards for the film A Beautiful Mind and is co-chairman of the film and television production company, Imagine Entertainment. His latest project is the 2018 movie Solo: A Star Wars Story.
2. Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli by Henry Winkler
If there is only one thing fans remember about Happy Days, it’s Fonzie’s legendary leather jacket. Arthur Fonzarelli, a.k.a. “The Fonz,” could have had you fooled with his tough greaser and auto mechanic look, but he had a heart of gold. And let’s not forget Fonzie “jumping the shark” while he was water-skiing, clad in nothing but his leather jacket and swim trunks!
After Happy Days, Actor Henry Winkler also explored the avenues of directing and producing and established the production company Winkler-Rich Production, responsible for shows MacGyver, So Weird, and Mr. Sunshine. He returned to the silver screen for his roles in Little Nicky, Click, and The Waterboy, as well as the TV shows Children’s Hospital and Arrested Development, among others. But did you know that Winkler is also an author? He has written a series of children’s books about Hank Zipzer “the world’s greatest underachiever,” based on Winkler’s own struggle with dyslexia.
3. Warren “Potsie” Weber by Anson Williams: The Happy Days Clown
Anson Williams landed the role as the gullible but lovable Potsie (bet you forgot the character’s full name – Warren Weber) despite a huge setback. He arrived hours late for the audition when his car broke down, but secured his role as the show’s subject of ridicule for all 11 seasons. “You’re such a Potsie” might not be a compliment, but playing the dimwitted character earned Williams a Golden Globe.
After the curtain closed on the Happy Days sitcom, Williams directed No Greater Gift and The Drug Knot, both afternoon special short programs for adolescents. He is also renowned for directing episodes for many well-known TV shows like 7th Heaven, Beverly Hills 90210, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Williams also founded the now-defunct chain of diners called Big Al’s with fellow Happy Days cast member Al Molinaro. He also started the Starmaker Products cosmetics company.
4. Howard “Mr. C” Cunningham by Tom Bosley
Mr. C was anything but your stereotypical sitcom father figure. Instead of playing the obscure man who runs the household, fans came to know and love Mr. Cunningham for putting his family first before anything. Happy Days wouldn’t have been the same without Mr. C’s traditional family values and his store, Cunningham Hardware.
Tom Bosley went on to enjoy a successful acting career on both the screen and stage. He landed the title role on the NBC/ABC series Father Dowling Mysteries and played a recurring role on the show Murder, She Wrote. The actor also bagged a Tony Award for his part in the Broadway musical, Fiorello! Sadly, Bosley lost his battle with lung cancer and passed away on October 19, 2010, just 18 days after his 83rd birthday.
5. Marion “Mrs. C” Cunningham by Marion Ross
Probably the sweetest mother figure in TV history, Marion Cunningham, lovingly referred to as Mrs. C, made the best housewife and matriarch of the Cunningham clan. Only Mrs. C could get away with calling Fonzie “Arthur”! And how about the time she tried her hand at waitressing when she felt she needed a break from her housewife role? Only Mrs. C!
After the Happy Days TV show ended, Marion Ross continued to act in the TV shows The Love Boat, MacGyver, and Night Court, but mostly as a guest star. She was nominated for two Emmy Awards for her role on the Brooklyn Bridge TV series and appeared on That ’70s Show, Two and a Half Men, Gilmore Girls, and Brothers & Sisters. Ross is also well-known for her voiceover work on SpongeBob SquarePants as Grandma Spongepants.
6. Charles “Chachi” Arcola by Scott Baio
Charles “Chachi” Arcola not only made fans nostalgic for the ’50s on Happy Days; he also represented the teenagers of the ’70s for his role as an aspiring musician. Chachi was more than just the cousin of Fonzie. He managed to win the heart of Joanie Cunningham. In fact he was such a heartthrob that Scott Baio received around 5,000 letters and pieces of fan mail every single week during the running of the show.
Baio continued to pull at those heartstrings of female fans into adulthood when he starred in the popular Charles in Charge TV series and the ’80s Happy Days spin off, Joanie Loves Chachi. The actor also played Dr. Jack Stewart in Diagnosis: Murder and was nominated for two Emmy Awards for his role in All the Kids Do It. His more recent ventures include his roles in two VH1 celebrity reality series TV shows and the Nick at Nite sitcom See Dad Run, which featured Happy Days creator Gary Marshall as a guest star.
7. Joanie Cunningham by Erin Moran
What would the Happy Days TV series have been without that nosy sister who tattletales and butts into your business all the time? Yep, that’s Joanie Cunningham, Richie’s younger sister. This persona was short-lived as Joanie grew from a young woman in high school into a mature woman who was the wife of Chachi. Come to think of it, Happy Days is so much about her coming of age than any other character.
Erin Moran starred alongside Scott Baio in the spin off Joanie Loves Chachi, and after that was cancelled, she acted in several TV shows including The Love Boat, Murder She Wrote, and Diagnosis: Murder. In 2008, Moran was a contestant on the VH1 reality show Celebrity Fit Club. On April 22, 2017, Moran died at the age of just 56 years old. She started experiencing throat cancer symptoms around Thanksgiving 2016 and her condition deteriorated rapidly after that.
8. Ralph Hector Malph by Don Most
Were you Team Postie or Team Malph? If you can’t recall, Ralph Hector Malph, better known as just Malph, was Postie’s close buddy. At the start of the Happy Days series, Malph was portrayed as the hot-rod driver and cool kid of the Gems gang, but then he transformed into the class clown. By the end of the show, Malph recruited to the Army and then decided to study Optometry, following in his dad’s footsteps.
Don Most continued to star in movies and television series. He starred alongside Scott Baio in the TV show Charles in Charge, while his movie credits include EDtv, Planting Melvin, and The Great Buck Howard. Over the years, Most also appeared as a regular guest star on the TV shows Emergency!, Baywatch, The Love Boat, Diagnosis: Murder, and Glee. As of 2017, Most was touring around the U.S. with a 7-piece backing band called “Donny Most Sings and Swings”, performing ’50s swing music.
9. Al Delvecchio by Al Molinaro
Al Delvecchio started off as quite the minor character as the cook at Arnold’s Drive-In who replaced Arnold after he got hitched, but he morphed into the major player when he tied the knot with Chachi’s mother. People were was always hanging out with Al, who’d use his catchphrase “Yeeep, yep, yep, yep, yep” when things didn’t quite go his way.
Other than his claim to fame as Al on the Happy Days TV show, Al Molinaro was also renowned as Officer Murray Greshler on The Odd Couple, as grandfather Joe Alberghetti on CBS’s sitcom The Family Man, and for his appearances in On-Cor frozen dinner television commercials. On October 30, 2015, Molinaro passed away at the ripe age of 96.
10. Ashley Pfister by Linda Purl
Starting in Season 10, Fonzie’s long-term girlfriend was Ashley Pfister, a divorced mother with a feisty personality and adorable daughter. But only a diehard Happy Days fan would know this fun fact: actress Linda Purl originally appeared in Season 2 of Happy Days as Richie’s girlfriend, Gloria.
Purl is best known for her role as Sheila Munroe in the film Visiting Hours (1982) and for her appearance on the first season of the legal drama TV series, Matlock in which she portrays Ben Matlock’s daughter, Charlene Matlock. Purl is also a regular theater performer for the play Seven Deadly Sins Four Deadly Sinners. In 2008, the actress played Amanda in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie at the Cleveland Play House in Cleveland, Ohio.
11. Charles “Chuck” Cunningham by Gavan O’Herlihy and Randolph Roberts
Ah the missing Cunningham! Yes, it turns out that Richie and Joanie had an older brother. Apparently, he wasn’t really needed, seeing that the Fonz was around and was a far more popular character than Charles “Chuck” Cunningham. The college student and basketball player vanished into thin air in Season 2 with absolutely no explanation.
Gavan O’Herlihy (pictured above) originally played Chuck, but he left Happy Days because he didn’t want to get stuck in TV roles and preferred film. He went on to play mostly villainous roles in Never Say Never Again, Superman III, and Death Wish 3. Actor Randolph Roberts replaced O’Herlihy for the last few episodes. Roberts was known for his lead role in 1973 feature film Wicked, Wicked, but he left acting and became an education supervisor for San Diego’s ITT Technical Institute.
12. Roger Phillips by Ted McGinley
After Richie Cunningham left the Happy Days TV series as a recurring character in 1980, along came Roger Phillips, Marion Cunningham’s nephew. He played the coach and teacher at Jefferson High until he became principal at Patton High.
Ted McGinley starred in some of the most canonical TV series of all time such as Dynasty, Married… with Children, Hope & Faith, and The Love Boat. The catch is that he wasn’t the original cast member for most of them. A former model and polo player, Phillips joined several series deep into their runs. McGinley’s most recent TV appearance was in 2008, as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
13. Bobby Melner by Harris Kal
Yeah, Bobby Melner, just your average high school kid that looked old enough to pass as one of the teachers. Harris Kal played the minor recurring role as Joanie and Chachi’s good friend and fellow band member. He was a student in Fonzie’s auto shop class and Roger’s health class, and at one point, was on the Jefferson High basketball team.
After his long history on the Happy Days TV Show and several other acting gigs, Harris Kal launched Harris Kal Productions in 1995, an events planning company that promises to turn anything from a picnic, birthday party, or corporate event into a memorable and special event.
14. Jenny Piccalo by Cathy Silvers
For that true teen throwback feeling, Happy Days featured Jenny Piccalo, the boy-crazed and charismatic best friend of Joanie Cunningham. She actually didn’t appear in person until the 1980 season, but was frequently referred to during episodes. Piccalo’s father appears in one episode of the show, played by none other than Cathy Silvers’s real father, comedy legend Phil Silvers.
After the Happy Days series, Silvers was cast on the comedy sitcom Foley Square as Assistant District Attorney Molly Dobbs, and she provided the voice for Marie Dodo on Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird. Silvers also wrote the book Happy Days Healthy Living: From Sit-Com Teen to the Heath-Food Scene, published in 2007.
15. Heather Pfister by Heather Michele O’Rourke
Heather Pfister, Ashley’s daughter, was supposedly the “Cousin Oliver” of Happy Days. Introduced as a character a younger audience could relate to, Heather didn’t get along with Fonzie at first, but eventually came to accept him as a father figure.
Heather Michele O’Rourke was actually discovered as a child by Steven Spielberg when she visited MGM’s studios. He cast her in the 1982 horror movie Poltergeist in which she portrays Carol Anne Freeling, who states the movie’s famous line: “They’re here!” After Happy Days, O’Rourke made several other TV guest appearances, but she tragically died in 1988 at the age of 12 from intestinal complications.
16. Lori Beth Allen-Cunningham by Lynda Goodfriend
The smart and witty Lori Beth Allen made the perfect match for Richie Cunningham, enough for the two to get married…by phone in season 8. In the episode “Little Baby Cunningham” in season 9, Fonzie helps Lori Beth deliver her baby.
After Happy Days, Lynda Goodfriend played Ethel “Sunshine” Akalino on the short-lived Happy Days spin off Blansky’s Beauties, alongside Scott Baio. The actress went on to play several roles in well-known Gary Marshall movies, one of which was Goodfriend playing a tourist in Pretty Woman. Her most recent project was in 2009 when she directed the short film The Perfect Crime.
17. Leopold “Flip” Phillips by Billy Warlock
Only Flip could sport a midriff T-shirt to show off his belly button. Besides for this strange retro fashion misdemeanor, Leopold Phillips was nothing more than Roger Phillips’s rebellious younger brother who went by the funny name, Flip.
While Flip might not be such a memorable character (besides for the T-Shirt), Billy Wardock is well-known for his role as lifeguard Eddie Kramer on Baywatch for the first three seasons and in the 2003 reunion movie, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding. His other roles include Frankie Brady on Days of Our Lives and A.J. Quatermaine on General Hospital.
18. Matsuo “Arnold” Takahashi by Pat Morita
Arnold set the tone for all future owners of TV hangouts with his confrontational yet big-hearted personality. He appeared regularly on the Happy Days TV show in the first three seasons as the owner of Arnold’s Drive-In. He moonlighted as a self-defense and martial arts instructor after hours. Matsuo Takahashi actually gained the name “Arnold” by accident because it was too expensive to buy more letters to rename the restaurant Takahashi. Arnold returned as a recurring character when Al Molinaro left the show in 1982.
Happy Days paved the way for Pat Morita as a comedian. Before the show, he was just a struggling stand-up comedian, but his role in Happy Days changed all that. He became a movie star and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid movie series. Morita’s other notable roles include Ah Chew in Sanford and Son and the Emperor of China in Disney’s Mulan. Morita died from kidney failure on November 24, 2005.
19. Raymond “Spike” Fonzarelli by Danny Butch
Did someone say mini-me? Spike was nothing more than Fonzie’s little 12 year-old delinquent copycat cousin. The other characters often referred to him as Fonzie’s nephew because Spike called him uncle, but Fonzie explained how that couldn’t be possible as he himself was only a child.
In addition to the Happy Days sitcom, Danny Butch appeared in two short-lived TV series, namely the 1970s show Big John, Little John and the CBS series Bret Maverick. The actor went on to star in the 1982 movie Yes, Giorgio.
20. Tommy by Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Tommy was another friend of Joanie and Chachi, and much like Bobby, he also enrolled in Fonzie’s auto shop class and Roger Phillips’s health class. And what do you know, he also performed in the band and joined the Jefferson High basketball team.
Kevin Rodney Sullivan went on to become a major force in the Hollywood scene, directing How Stella Got Her Groove Back, which won the NAACP image award for outstanding picture in 1998. Sullivan’s next major film was Conviction (2002) and then Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004). His latest major film production was the 2005 movie Guess Who.
21. “Bag” Zombroski by Neil J. Schwartz
You just gotta love his name, don’t you?! Bag Zombroski led the gang dubbed the Demons for nine early episodes of Happy Days. He was everything you wanted in a schoolmate, mainly because of his humorous name, which really made no sense at all.
In addition to Neil J. Schwartz’s brief appearance on the Happy Days TV show, the actor also made several guest appearances during the ’70s on shows like All in the Family, Medical Center, Barney Miller, What’s Happening!, and Maude. He also acted in the films Get To Know Your Rabbit, Steambath, and To Be or Not to Be before he retired from acting and pursed a successful career as a realtor in Nevada and southern California.
22. Eugene Belvin by Denis Mandel
In case you couldn’t tell by his tortoise shell framed glasses and argyle-patterned sweaters, Eugene Belvin was the class nerd and stooge at Jefferson High who had a crush on Jenny Piccalo in Fonzie’s auto shop class. The writers also gave him a twin brother Melvin for some odd reason.
The actor, Denis Mandel, is known for playing in the TV series Knots Landing, Homefront, and CHiPs, as well as his roles in the films Brush with Death and Mortuary. Mandel was also nominated for The James Writing Prize for “Highway 56” in 1997 and won second place in the Arizona Authors Association National Literary Content in 2002 for his story “Slugger.”
23. Marsha Simms by Beatrice Colen
Beatrice Colen played Marsha Simms, the sassiest carhop in Wisconsin during seasons 1 and 2 of the Happy Days TV show. Simms disappeared in Season 3 of the show, but she returned in the episode “Our Gang” for a flashback guest appearance in Season 5.
Besides her role as Marsha Simms on the show, Colen is famous for her role as Wonder Woman’s best friend, Etta Candy, in the Wonder Woman TV show. She only appeared during the first season of the show, which was set during World War II. After the series was reset in modern times, the role of Candy was dropped. Before Colen retired from acting, she appeared in a 1997 episode of Nickelodeon’s The Secret World of Alex Mack. She died two years later of lung cancer.
24. Carol “Pinky” Tuscadero by Roz Kelly
Throughout Happy Days, Fonzie had many love interests. One of them was Carol Tuscadero, but everyone referred to her as “Pinky” for rocking those pink sweaters under her leather jacket. She could seriously pop a wheelie on her motorcycle and was supposed to be Fonzie’s long-term girlfriend after just three episodes, but Pinky was cut from the show as she didn’t really get on with the cast members and producers.
Before Happy Days, Roz Kelly took pictures of celebrities for New York Magazine until she landed her role on the TV sitcom. Kelly landed the small but memorable role in the horror film Curse of the Black Widow and played Diane Sullivan in New Year’s Evil. The actress also appeared as a guest star on Starsky & Hutch, The Love Boat, Dukes of Hazzard, and Charlie’s Angels, among other shows.
25. K.C. Cunningham by Crystal Bernard
Her Texas drawl seriously made fans feel like K.C. Cunningham didn’t get the memo and was on the wrong show. Nevertheless, K.C., Howard’s niece, moved in with Howard and Marion after her all-girls boarding school in Texas closed down and after Joanie left for Chicago. K.C. befriended Jenny Piccalo and dated the twin Melvin Belvin.
Crystal Bernard went on to star on the NBC sitcom Wings for eight years as the determined airport lunch-counter worker Helen Chappel Hackett. Bernard also pursued a career in music as a gospel and country singer and songwriter releasing the albums The Girl Next Door in 1996 and Don’t Touch Me There in 1999.
26. Laverne De Fazio by Penny Marshall
Another dating interest of Fonzie, Laverne De Fazio appeared in three episodes during Season 3 alongside her friend Shirley Feeny and made some guest appearances in seasons 6 and 7. The two actresses had such chemistry on screen as a duo that they went to star in the own show Laverne & Shirley.
The spin off show Laverne & Shirley, in which actress Penny Marshall reprised her role as Laverne, became a hit in its own rite, running from 1976 to 1983 She was nominated for three Golden Globe awards for her role in the sitcom. Marshall then progressed to directing films such as Big, Awakening, and A League of Their Own and produced the 2005 films Cinderella Man and Bewitched, as well as episodes of the show According to Jim.
27. Shirley Feeney by Cindy Williams
Shirley Feeney played the best friend of Laverne De Fazio, Fonzie’s love interest, for just three episodes. Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams then starred in their own spin off series of Happy Days called Laverne & Shirley.
Cindy Williams was already well-known for playing Lauri Henderson in the 1973 coming-of-age comedy film American Graffiti and her role as mysterious Ann in the 1974 mystery thriller film The Conversation. Williams also performed on Broadway and theater and penned the 2015 memoir, Shirley, I Jest! A Storied Life.
28. Leather Tuscadero by Suzi Quatro
It must be the name, but Leather Tuscadero just oozed cool and knew exactly how to rock and roll her leather clothing both on and off set (which probably earned the character that name). Leather, Pinky Tuscadero’s younger sister, morphed into a successful musician forming her own girl group, Leather and the Suedes, after her wild days as a juvenile delinquent.
Only real-life rocker like Suzi Quatro could pull off Leather Tuscadero’s dynamic character. The singer and songwriter was the first female bass player to earn a name as a major rock star, selling over 50 million albums. Quatro continues to perform live concerts around the world.
29. Louisa Arcola-Delvecchio by Ellen Travolta
Remember how sweet it was when Louisa Arcola, Chachi’s mother, married the owner and cook of Arnold’s Drive-In, Al Delvecchio? After the two got hitched, the pair moved to Chicago and left the Happy Days TV show. She might have played a minor role in the show, but she definitely deserved a mention.
Ellen Travolta is probably best known for playing Louisa Arcola-Delvecchio on the Happy Days sitcom. She also reprised the role with the spin off show Joanie Loves Chachi. Afterward, she played the mother of her co-star Scott Baio on the comedy sitcom Charles in Charge from the years 1987 to 1990. Travolta also played Mrs. Horshack-O’Hara for three episodes on Welcome Back, Kotter and Marion Keisker in the made-for-tv movie Elvis.
30. Police Officer Kirk/ Army Reserve Major Kirk by Ed Peck
Come on, you can all agree that the Fonz needed a foil, and Police Officer Kirk was there for the win as Fonzie’s antagonist and nemesis, always calling him out for what he thought was Fonzie’s inflated sense of authority. And who could forget how Officer Kirk was always on the lookout for delinquents and “pinkos” (communists).
Who would’ve guessed that actor Ed Peck was already renowned for playing military and police officers on TV shows? Peck played a police officer in one episode of All in the Family and portrayed the role of patrolman Frank Slater in two episodes of Barney Miller. The actor also guest starred in many television series, some of which were The Untouchables, Get Smart, Star Trek, and Bonanza. His role as Officer Kirk was Peck’s most memorable and after the show ended, the actor retired from acting. Peck died on September 12, 1992.
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