Marion Ross held the title of America’s favorite “mom” while starring as Marion Cunningham on award-winning television series “Happy Days.” But, as it turns out, her personal life was nothing but “happy” during her early acting career.
Before Marion Ross played the role of “Mrs. C” on the 70s and 90s staple “Happy Days,” she was a struggling actress with a theater degree and nothing else. Luckily for her, her first big break came when she was still in her early 20s with her 1953 film debut, “Forever Female.”
For the next 20 years, Marion seemed to be living the high life, sharing the stage with big names like Audrey Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, and Clark Gable. But her life was anything but perfect off-camera, with an imminent divorce looming and offers drying up by the time she reached her forties. As she seemingly overnight became a single mother of two kids struggling to make ends meet, things were not looking great for America’s quintessential matriarch.
But her luck was about to turn around. After taking a small role in “Airplane,” a chain of events was set into motion that would eventually lead her to a long fulfilling career on “Happy Days.” Her struggle proves that hard work really does pay off, and the world wouldn’t be the same today without Marion Ross’ sacrifice and grit.