Calm, gentle, and truly talented, Erin Moran was an American actress who left a mark in the 1970s and 1980s when she rose to great acclaim with powerful performances in popular TV series, including Happy Days and its spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi. The actress was the toast of directors and garnered a massive fanbase at the height of her popularity.
Having kicked off her acting career at a tender age, Moran made appearances in numerous movies and television series and remained in the industry for more than four decades from 1967 to 2012. However, even though she found immense success early in her career, she didn’t quite end it the way many fans anticipated as her last career days were bedevilled with a lack of work.
‘Who’s Minding the Mint?’ Kickstarted Her Career At 7
Born on the 18th of October, 1960 into the family of Edward and Sharon Moran in Burbank, California, the United States, Erin Moran discovered her love for acting very early in life and started out in the industry even before she turned 10. As a matter of fact, Moran’s first acting opportunity came when she was 5 years old after she was chosen to star in a television commercial for First Federal Bank.
Eventually, she kickstarted her career in Hollywood when she was 7 years old after she was cast to play a very minor role in Who’s Minding the Mint? – a crime comedy film. Moran hit the ground running because just one year after, in 1968, she landed a much bigger role when she was cast to play Jenny Jones in the American family drama series, Daktari. Moran starred on the show from 1968 to 1969 across 15 episodes, gaining valuable experience and the needed exposure.
She landed another role in the 1968 comedy film, How Sweet It Is! where she played the character of Laurie, starring alongside James Garner and Debbie Reynolds. She also appeared in the short film, Stanley vs. The System. In 1969, Erin Moran portrayed Mary Tugwell in Death Valley Days and Kim in 80 Steps to Jonah. All this time, she was still below 10 years old but already gaining steam in Hollywood.
Moran’s Hollywood Adventure From 1970 to 1974
In 1970, Erin Moran turned 10 years old. That year, she landed a role in three TV series; she portrayed Emily Ruth Gustafson in The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Victoria Lewis in My Three Sons, and Janet in Family Affair. She also starred in the comedy film, Watermelon Man.
In 1971, the actress landed roles in O’Hara, U.S. Treasury, The Smith Family, Bearcats!, and Gunsmoke before making appearances in The Don Rickles Show in 1972, playing Janie Robinson.
By the time she turned a teenager in 1973, Erin Moran had already starred in nearly 20 series and films. That year, she landed a role in the TV movie, Lisa, Bright and Dark, playing the character of Tracy Schilling.
How ‘Happy Days’ Completely Changed Erin Moran’s Life
In 1974 when she was 14 years old, Erin Moran’s career took a new turn following her biggest role ever after she joined the cast of Happy Days, an American sitcom television series that made a lot of buzz in the ’70s. In fact, it is generally considered to be one of the most successful shows of the 1970s.
Erin Moran starred in Happy Days for 10 years from 1974 to 1984 and gained massive popularity for the show. It was her best-known role and it launched her to global renown as a child prodigy. In the series, Moran played the main role of Joanie Cunningham. Her performance earned her a TV Land Award.
While starring in Happy Days, Moran also appeared in a spinoff of the show, Joanie Loves Chachi from 1982 to 1983 across 17 episodes. She did very well on the spinoff as well, bagging the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a New Television Series in 1982.
‘Murder, She Wrote’ And Other Roles After ‘Happy Days’
After her work on Happy Days was done, Erin Moran moved on to other projects. In 1986, she played Maggie Roberts in Murder, She Wrote. Years later in 1998, she portrayed Cynthia Bennett in Diagnosis Murder.
In 2008, Erin Moran played Mrs. Watkins in Broken Promise before landing the role of Kelly DeMartin in The Bold and the Beautiful. In 2010, she played Mrs. Klien in Not Another B Movie. Her last recorded TV role was in Celebrity Ghost Stories in 2012.
Did She Make A Lot Of Money From Acting?
Erin Moran made a lot of money while she was playing the role of Joanie Cunningham in Happy Days. Reliable reports show that she earned between $650 and $900 per episode in the first three seasons of the show. She also raked in lots of money from her appearances in other TV series and movies.
However, she fell on hard times starting from the 1990s to the 2000s when she started having difficulties landing acting roles in TV productions. This affected her so much that some media reports claimed her home was foreclosed in 2010 and she had to go live with her mother-in-law in Indiana.
By the time she died in 2017, Erin Moran was reportedly left with just $50,000 as her net worth.
Inside Erin Moran’s Marriage To Steven Fleischmann
At the time she died, Erin Moran was married to a man called Steven Fleischmann. The couple was very much in love and they remained married for an amazing 25 years. Fleischmann reportedly worked at Wal-Mart situated in the garden center near Salisbury in Indiana.
Erin Moran and Steven Fleischmann got married in 1993. Information about how they met and started their romance is not readily available. However, no reports of problems between them were given during their time together. They remained married until Moran passed on. The marriage did not produce any child.
Before Steven Fleischmann, There Was Rocky Ferguson
Before she met and married Steven Fleischmann, Erin Moran was first married to a man called Rocky Ferguson. The couple tied the knot as husband and wife in 1987.
However, the union came crashing down six years after their wedding in 1993 when they decided to get divorced. Erin Moran later opened up about her short-lived marriage, explaining that she was abused by Ferguson. It was shortly after divorcing him that she married Steven Fleischmann.
Erin Moran Died Of Throat Cancer At 56
In a really devastating development, Erin Moran passed away on the 22nd of April, 2017, in New Salisbury, Indiana. She was just 56 years old at the time.
After she passed, her husband released a public note revealing how she died. According to Fleischmann, the actress was diagnosed with throat cancer before her tragic death. She went for chemotherapy but it was too late and she died just months after her diagnosis.
According to Steven Fleischmann, his wife died holding his hands in their home.