Erin Moran, Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi‘s Joanie Cunningham, has passed away at the age of 56. The Associated Press reported that Moran passed away Saturday afternoon in Indiana. No cause of death has been reported, and the Harrison County sheriff’s department said that an autopsy is pending.
Moran, born in Burbank, California in 1960, began booking TV and movie roles at a very young age. She appeared in her first feature film, the James Gardner and Debbie Reynolds-starring How Sweet It Is!, at eight years old. Just a few years later, Moran was launched into child stardom with her role as Richie Cunningham’s (Ron Howard) younger sister Joanie on Happy Days. The series ran for 11 seasons on CBS from 1974 to 1984, and Moran also starred in the short-lived spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi along with Scott Baio. In 1983 Moran won a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress In a New Television Series for Joanie Loves Chachi, even though the show was not well-received.
Moran has a long list of TV and film projects that include Daktari, Gunsmoke, The Love Boat, Family Affair, Galaxy of Terror, The Bold and the Beautiful and Murder, She Wrote. Moran also played herself in David Spade’s Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.
Don Most, Happy Days‘ Ralph Malph, released a statement about Moran’s passing, TheWest reports. “I am so incredibly sad to hear about Erin. She was a wonderful, sweet, caring, talented woman,” Most said in the statement. “As I write this I can’t really comprehend this right now. A very painful loss. It gives me some comfort to know that she’s with Tom, Al, Pat and Garry. Rest In Peace, sweet Erin.”
“Erin was a person who made everyone around her feel better,” said former co-star Anson Williams, who played Potsie on the show. “She truly cared about others first, a true angel. I will miss her so much, but know that she is in God’s hands. RIP sweet angel.”
Such sad sad news. RIP Erin. I'll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up tv screens. https://t.co/8HmdL0JKlf
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) April 23, 2017
OH Erin… now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth …Rest In It serenely now.. too soon
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) April 23, 2017