“Happy Days” Cast Sues CBS
Some unhappy days lie ahead for four Happy Days cast members, who have filed a lawsuit against CBS over lost revenue from merchandise sales. The plaintiffs include Anson Williams (Potsie Weber), Marion Ross (Marion Cunningham), Don Most (Ralph Malph) and Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham), as well as Patricia Bosley, who was married to Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham), who passed away last October.
According to the suit, the issue arose when Paramount Television, the show’s producer promised the actors that they would be paid when “name, voice, likeness or endorsement was used in connection with merchandising rights.”
However the actors claim that they were eliminated from nearly $10 million dollars worth of merchandise sold over the years. The merchandise included typical memorabilia like DVDs, board games, T-shirts and greeting cards as well as some drinking glasses and even gambling machines. According to the lawsuit, CBS has yet to show them revenue reports.
A few of the actors have suffered from not seeing any of this moneyas Marion Ross recently lost her home to foreclosure and Erin Moran is the process of losing hers.
However, rather than refusing to acknowledge the actors’ discontent, CBS released a statement on Tuesday saying, “We agree that funds are owed to the actors and have been working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue.”
Happy Days was a show that aired from 1974 to 1984 about an idyllic 1950’s family living in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It prominently featured Ron Howard in the role of Richie Cunningham, as well as Henry Winkler as Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli, and Scott Baio as his younger cousin, Charles “Chachi” Arcola. (None of the three men are involved in the lawsuit.) The show later led to the creation of three spin offs; Joanie Loves Chachi, Laverne and Shirley, and Mork and Mindy.