Marion Ross

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, actress Marion Ross describes her early career, including her appearance as a regular on the 1950s sitcom Life With Father and appearing as a guest on The Lone Ranger, where she uttered the line, "Who was that masked man?" She describes being a struggling actress for many years, and discusses several of her television appearances  in the 1960s, including guest parts on Dr. Kildare and The Brady Bunch. Ross then looks back on the role with which she is most closely associated, "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days. She also speaks in detail about her regular role of "Sophie Berger" on Brooklyn Bridge, relating how she created the character's European accent. Ross also talks about recurring roles she played on The Love Boat and The Drew Carey Show. Karen Herman conducted the interview on December 9, 2002 in Woodland Hills, CA.

"I love being one of television's favorite moms. When people say, 'Do you mind when they call you Mrs. C.?' I say no. How lucky I am."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Marion Ross on working on Ford Star Jubilee's production of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" opposite Lauren Bacall and Claudette Colbert
Marion Ross on the early stigma attached to television for actors
Marion Ross on her Happy Days character, "Marion Cunningham"
Marion Ross on the Happy Days softball team
Marion Ross on the disappearance of "Chuck Cunningham" on Happy Days
Marion Ross on how she would like to be remembered
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on deciding to become an actress; on going to Hollywood and being signed by Paramount as a contract player
On her earliest memories of television; on her first television role, on Life with Father starring Leon Ames; on working on Ford Star Jubilee's production of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" opposite Lauren Bacall and Claudette Colbert

Chapter 2

On performing on Matinee Theater, and on what it was like to perform on live television on shows like Studio One; on the experience of being a working mother in the 1950s; on the types of acting roles she got early in her career
On guest-starring on various series, including The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and Rawhide; on her very limited experience of the Hollywood Blacklist; on appearing on various series including Mrs. G. Goes to College, Mr. Novak, and Dr. Kildare
On guest-starring on Dr. Kildare with Richard Chamberlin; on Jack Lord being difficult to work with on Hawaii Five-O; on her fame once she was cast on Happy Days
On appearing on The Brady Bunch; on being cast on Happy Days; on the basic premise of Happy Days

Chapter 3

On her Happy Days character, "Marion Cunningham"; on "Marion Cunningham's" relationship with "Ritchie Cunningham" (Ron Howard) on Happy Days; on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days and on "Marion's" friendship with "Fonzie"
On Anson Williams as "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days; on Scott Baio as "Chachi Arcola" on Happy Days; on Pat Morita as "Arnold" and Al Molinaro as "Al" on Happy Days
On Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days; on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days
On how the young cast of Happy Days dealt with fame; on Garry Marshall's producing style on Happy Days; on Jerry Paris as director on Happy Days

Chapter 4

On Happy Days director Jerry Paris and his working relationship with Garry Marshall; on the Happy Days softball team; on the Happy Days fan mail
On "Marion Cunningham" dancing with "Fonzie" on Happy Days; on the disappearance of "Chuck Cunningham" on Happy Days; on the show losing Donny Most and Ron Howard
On the final episode of Happy Days, which featured the marriage of "Joanie" and "Chachi," and the return of Ron Howard as "Ritchie Cunningham"; on Happy Days' many spin-offs, including Mork & Mindy; on the legacy of Happy Days
On various guest-starring roles on Aaron Spelling's The Love Boat, including as the Captain's wife, "Emily Stubing"; on guest-starring on Alfred Hitchcock Presents
On guest-starring on MacGyver; on guest-starring on Night Court; on playing "Sophie Berger" on Brooklyn Bridge, created by Gary David Goldberg

Chapter 5

On playing "Sophie Berger" on Brooklyn Bridge
On her appearances on The Drew Carey Show, Touched by an Angel, and Gilmore Girls
On the craft of acting; on the longevity of her career; on her proudest achievements and on how she would like to be remembered
Shows

Alfred Hitchcock Presents aka The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Brady Bunch, The

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Marion Ross on appearing on The Brady Bunch

Brooklyn Bridge (1991-93)

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Marion Ross on playing "Sophie Berger" on Brooklyn Bridge, created by Gary David Goldberg
Marion Ross on her role as "Sophie Berger" in Brooklyn Bridge

Dr. Kildare

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on Dr. Kildare with Richard Chamberlin

Drew Carey Show, The

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Marion Ross on guest starring as "Drew's" mother on The Drew Carey Show

Ford Star Jubilee

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Marion Ross on working on Ford Star Jubilee's production of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" opposite Lauren Bacall and Claudette Colbert

George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show

Gilmore Girls

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Marion Ross on her guest appearances on Gilmore Girls

Happy Days

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Marion Ross on being cast on Happy Days
Marion Ross on the basic premise of Happy Days
Marion Ross on her Happy Days character, "Marion Cunningham"
Marion Ross on comparing her own life to the life of "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
Marion Ross on how her Happy Days character, "Marion Cunningham," developed over time
Marion Ross on learning the place of her character, "Marion Cunningham," on Happy Days
Marion Ross on "Marion Cunningham's" relationship with "Ritchie Cunningham" (Ron Howard) on Happy Days
Marion Ross on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days and on "Marion's" friendship with "Fonzie"
Marion Ross on Anson Williams as "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days
Marion Ross on Scott Baio as "Chachi Arcola" on Happy Days
Marion Ross on Pat Morita as "Arnold" and Al Molinaro as "Al" on Happy Days
Marion Ross on Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
Marion Ross on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days
Marion Ross on how the young cast of Happy Days dealt with fame
Marion Ross on Garry Marshall's producing style on Happy Days
Marion Ross on Jerry Paris as director on Happy Days
Marion Ross on Happy Days director Jerry Paris and his working relationship with Garry Marshall
Marion Ross on the Happy Days softball team
Marion Ross on the Happy Days fan mail
Marion Ross on "Marion Cunningham" dancing with "Fonzie" on Happy Days
Marion Ross on the disappearance of "Chuck Cunningham" on Happy Days
Marion Ross on Happy Days losing Donny Most and Ron Howard
Marion Ross on the final episode of Happy Days, which featured the marriage of "Joanie" and "Chachi," and the return of Ron Howard as "Ritchie Cunningham"
Marion Ross on Happy Days' many spin-offs, including Mork & Mindy
Marion Ross on where "Marion Cunningham" of Happy Days might be in the then-present
Marion Ross on the legacy of Happy Days

Hawaii Five-O

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Marion Ross on Jack Lord being difficult to work with on Hawaii Five-O

Life With Father

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Marion Ross on her first television role, on Life with Father starring Leon Ames

Love Boat, The

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Marion Ross on various guest-starring roles on Aaron Spelling's The Love Boat, including as the Captain's wife, "Emily Stubing"
Marion Ross on working with the cast of The Love Boat

MacGyver

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on MacGyver

Mork & Mindy

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Marion Ross on Happy Days' many spin-offs, including Mork & Mindy

Mr. Novak

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Marion Ross on appearing on Mr. Novak

Mrs. G. Goes to College

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Marion Ross on brief role on Mrs. G. Goes to College

NBC Matinee Theater

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Marion Ross on performing on Matinee Theater, and on what it was like to perform on live television on shows like Studio One

Night Court

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on Night Court

Outer Limits, The (1963-65)

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Marion Ross on her appearances on The Outer Limits and on The Fugitive

Rawhide

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Marion Ross on her guest roles on Rawhide

Studio One

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Marion Ross on performing on Matinee Theater and on what it was like to perform on live television on shows like Studio One

That '70s Show

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Marion Ross on her guest appearances on That '70s Show

Touched By an Angel

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Marion Ross on her guest appearances on Touched by an Angel
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

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Marion Ross on her Happy Days character, "Marion Cunningham"

Fame and Celebrity

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Marion Ross on her fame once she was cast on Happy Days
Marion Ross on how the young cast of Happy Days dealt with fame
Marion Ross on the Happy Days fan mail

First Big Break

View Topic
Actress Marion Ross on her first television role, on Life with Father starring Leon Ames

Hollywood Blacklist

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Marion Ross on her very limited experience of the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

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Marion Ross on her very limited experience of the Hollywood Blacklist

Memorable Moments on Television

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Marion Ross on the final episode of Happy Days, which featured the marriage of "Joanie" and "Chachi," and the return of Ron Howard as "Ritchie Cunningham"

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Actress Marion Ross on her first television role, on Life with Father starring Leon Ames

Pop Culture

View Topic
Marion Ross on her fame once she was cast on Happy Days
Marion Ross on her Happy Days character, "Marion Cunningham"
Marion Ross on how the young cast of Happy Days dealt with fame
Marion Ross on the Happy Days fan mail

Television Industry

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Marion Ross on her very limited experience of the Hollywood Blacklist
Marion Ross on her desire to continue working, and on ageism in the industry

We Cried

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Marion Ross on the final episode of Happy Days, which featured the marriage of "Joanie" and "Chachi," and the return of Ron Howard as "Ritchie Cunningham"
Professions

Actress

View Profession
Marion Ross on her process for learning her lines
Marion Ross on acting in front of an audience
Marion Ross on how she creates her characters
Marion Ross on important advice she's received as an actress, and on the importance of having an agent
Marion Ross on advice to an aspiring actor

Performers

View Profession
Marion Ross on her process for learning her lines
Marion Ross on acting in front of an audience
Marion Ross on how she creates her characters
Marion Ross on important advice she's received as an actress, and on the importance of having an agent
Marion Ross on advice to an aspiring actor
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on MacGyver

Classic Anthology Series

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Marion Ross on working on Ford Star Jubilee's production of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" opposite Lauren Bacall and Claudette Colbert
Marion Ross on guest-starring on Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Comedy Series

View Genre
Actress Marion Ross on her first television role, on Life with Father starring Leon Ames
Marion Ross on playing "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
Marion Ross on playing "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
Marion Ross on various guest-starring roles on Aaron Spelling's The Love Boat
Marion Ross on guest-starring on Night Court
Marion Ross on playing "Sophie Berger" on Brooklyn Bridge created by Gary David Goldberg
Marion Ross on guest starring as "Drew's" mother on The Drew Carey Show
Marion Ross on her guest appearances on That '70s Show

Drama Series

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Marion Ross on her role as "Sophie Berger" in Brooklyn Bridge

Western Series

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Marion Ross on her guest roles (and stunts) on Rawhide
People

Gracie Allen

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show

Lauren Bacall

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Marion Ross on working on Ford Star Jubilee's production of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" opposite Lauren Bacall and Claudette Colbert

Scott Baio

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Marion Ross on Scott Baio as "Chachi Arcola" on Happy Days

Tom Bosley

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Marion Ross on Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days

George Burns

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show

Richard Chamberlain

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on Dr. Kildare, with Richard Chamberlin

Noel Coward

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Marion Ross on working on Ford Star Jubilee's production of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" opposite Lauren Bacall and Claudette Colbert

Gary David Goldberg

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Marion Ross on playing "Sophie Berger" on Brooklyn Bridge, created by Gary David Goldberg

Ron Howard

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Marion Ross on "Marion Cunningham's" relationship with "Ritchie Cunningham" (Ron Howard) on Happy Days
Marion Ross on Happy Days losing Donny Most and Ron Howard

Ted Lange

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Marion Ross on working with the cast of The Love Boat, including Ted Lange

Jack Lord

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Marion Ross on Jack Lord being difficult to work with on Hawaii Five-O

Garry Marshall

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Marion Ross on Garry Marshall's producing style on Happy Days
Marion Ross on Happy Days director Jerry Paris and his working relationship with Garry Marshall

Al Molinaro

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Marion Ross on Pat Morita as "Arnold" and Al Molinaro as "Al" on Happy Days

Erin Moran

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Marion Ross on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days

Pat Morita

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Marion Ross on Pat Morita as "Arnold" and Al Molinaro as "Al" on Happy Days

Donny Most

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Marion Ross on Happy Days losing Donny Most and Ron Howard

Jerry Paris

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Marion Ross on Jerry Paris as director on Happy Days
Marion Ross on Happy Days director Jerry Paris and his working relationship with Garry Marshall

Lauren Tewes

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Marion Ross on working with the cast of The Love Boat, including Lauren Tewes

Anson Williams

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Marion Ross on Anson Williams as "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days

Henry Winkler

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Marion Ross on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days and on "Marion's" friendship with "Fonzie"

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