Erin Moran, aka Joanie Cunningham from the 1970s hit television show “Happy Days” was found dead today at age 56 in Indiana. Sources say Erin and her husband Steven Fleischmann, 48, had been living in his elderly mother’s trailer after their home in California had went into floreclosure. Fleischmann’s mother eventually evicted them because of their hard partying ways.
Henry Winkler, the actor who played “Fonzy” in the “Happy Days” sitcom met the California born Moran when “she was only nine years old. She was like my little daughter.” The program began in 1974, with 14-year-old Moran cast as the young sister of Ron Howard’s Ritchie Cunningham role. She continued the part in a spinoff, “Joanie Loves Chachi” with Scott Baio in 1982.
Moran won the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a New Television Series for her role. After the cancellation of “Joanie Loves Chachi” in 1983, she returned to “Happy Days” for its final season.
Before “Happy Days,” Moran was just 4 when she was cast in the role of Jenny Jones in the TV series “Dakari” from 1966 to 1969. She had guest appearances in such television classics as “My Three Sons,” “Family Affair,” and “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.” Later, she appeared in “The Love Boat,” “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and “Murder, She Wrote.”
Her feature-film debut was in 1968’s “How Sweet It Is!” with Debbie Reynolds. She most recently appeared on VH1 reality show “Celebrity Fit Club” in 2008.