Erin Moran was found dead on Saturday at the age of 56. The actress, best known for her role as Joanie Cunningham on the television sitcom “Happy Days,” struggled in her final years as she reportedly relocated several times in Indiana’s Harrison County.
According to the Indianapolis Star, she had been living at a Holiday Inn Express in Corydon after residing in a trailer park with her husband, Steve Fleischmann, and his sick mother.
Distance from her former, fellow child actors who live in California could have been a factor in her struggles, according to Paul Petersen of the child-actor advocacy group, A Minor Consideration. He said the group tried to reach out to help Moran.
“She was so far away in Indiana,” Petersen said in a Facebook post on Sunday. “The help she ran from was right here, as close as a call.”
Petersen, himself a former child star on “The Donna Reed Show,” said, “I am proud of our efforts over the years to help Erin Moran whose troubles were many and complex. Don’t doubt for a moment that we tried…sincerely tried through time and treasure…to give comfort to one of our own.”
He went on to say, “At least a half-dozen [former child stars] were actively reaching out to Erin in the last week of her life… From Paris to London, from New York to LA, our members were in there pitching, doing what they could to help. Do not doubt that for a minute. Erin had friends and she knew it. Abandonment was not the issue… We did our best with the resources available to us, but it was a very dark room. Some don’t find the light switch in time.”
In an interview with Xfinity in 2009, Moran said she considered the members of the sitcom cast her family.
“What happened with all of us was, like, we were this family. It was so surreal with all the cast members … they were my family, get it?” she said.
In the interview, Moran also said she had been working on a memoir titled, “Happy Days, Depressing Nights.”
“OH Erin… now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth,” co-star Henry Winkler, who played Fonzie, tweeted Saturday. “Rest In It serenely now.. too soon.”
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
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