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."

Highlights
Marion Ross on working on Ford Star Jubilee's production of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" opposite Lauren Bacall and Claudette Colbert
05:22
Marion Ross on the early stigma attached to television for actors
01:06
Marion Ross on her Happy Days character, "Marion Cunningham"
03:12
Marion Ross on the Happy Days softball team
03:18
Marion Ross on the disappearance of "Chuck Cunningham" on Happy Days
00:42
Marion Ross on how she would like to be remembered
00:42
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
16:48
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
11:16

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
11:28
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
07:12
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
03:33
On appearing on The Brady Bunch; on being cast on Happy Days; on the basic premise of Happy Days
07:57

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"
12:50
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
05:02
On Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days; on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days
02:10
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
10:04

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
06:21
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
02:35
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
06:55
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
06:47
On guest-starring on MacGyver; on guest-starring on Night Court; on playing "Sophie Berger" on Brooklyn Bridge, created by Gary David Goldberg
07:46

Chapter 5

On playing "Sophie Berger" on Brooklyn Bridge
04:45
On her appearances on The Drew Carey Show, Touched by an Angel, and Gilmore Girls
07:50
On the craft of acting; on the longevity of her career; on her proudest achievements and on how she would like to be remembered
14:01
Shows

Alfred Hitchcock Presents aka The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on Alfred Hitchcock Presents
00:56

Brady Bunch, The

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Marion Ross on appearing on The Brady Bunch
00:47

Brooklyn Bridge (1991-93)

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Marion Ross on playing "Sophie Berger" on Brooklyn Bridge, created by Gary David Goldberg
05:25
Marion Ross on her role as "Sophie Berger" in Brooklyn Bridge
04:45

Dr. Kildare

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on Dr. Kildare with Richard Chamberlin
00:30

Drew Carey Show, The

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Marion Ross on guest starring as "Drew's" mother on The Drew Carey Show
03:45

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
05:22

George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
01:04

Gilmore Girls

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Marion Ross on her guest appearances on Gilmore Girls
01:09

Happy Days

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Marion Ross on being cast on Happy Days
04:34
Marion Ross on the basic premise of Happy Days
02:36
Marion Ross on her Happy Days character, "Marion Cunningham"
03:12
Marion Ross on comparing her own life to the life of "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:44
Marion Ross on how her Happy Days character, "Marion Cunningham," developed over time
01:49
Marion Ross on learning the place of her character, "Marion Cunningham," on Happy Days
01:01
Marion Ross on "Marion Cunningham's" relationship with "Ritchie Cunningham" (Ron Howard) on Happy Days
03:13
Marion Ross on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days and on "Marion's" friendship with "Fonzie"
01:49
Marion Ross on Anson Williams as "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days
03:01
Marion Ross on Scott Baio as "Chachi Arcola" on Happy Days
01:14
Marion Ross on Pat Morita as "Arnold" and Al Molinaro as "Al" on Happy Days
00:47
Marion Ross on Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:02
Marion Ross on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:07
Marion Ross on how the young cast of Happy Days dealt with fame
02:26
Marion Ross on Garry Marshall's producing style on Happy Days
03:03
Marion Ross on Jerry Paris as director on Happy Days
04:35
Marion Ross on Happy Days director Jerry Paris and his working relationship with Garry Marshall
01:30
Marion Ross on the Happy Days softball team
03:18
Marion Ross on the Happy Days fan mail
01:33
Marion Ross on "Marion Cunningham" dancing with "Fonzie" on Happy Days
00:59
Marion Ross on the disappearance of "Chuck Cunningham" on Happy Days
00:42
Marion Ross on Happy Days losing Donny Most and Ron Howard
00:52
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"
01:24
Marion Ross on Happy Days' many spin-offs, including Mork & Mindy
02:00
Marion Ross on where "Marion Cunningham" of Happy Days might be in the then-present
01:12
Marion Ross on the legacy of Happy Days
00:54

Hawaii Five-O

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Marion Ross on Jack Lord being difficult to work with on Hawaii Five-O
01:11

Life With Father

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Marion Ross on her first television role, on Life with Father starring Leon Ames
03:37

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"
03:57
Marion Ross on working with the cast of The Love Boat
01:54

MacGyver

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on MacGyver
00:53

Mork & Mindy

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Marion Ross on Happy Days' many spin-offs, including Mork & Mindy
02:00

Mr. Novak

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Marion Ross on appearing on Mr. Novak
00:26

Mrs. G. Goes to College

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Marion Ross on brief role on Mrs. G. Goes to College
01:28

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
04:21

Night Court

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on Night Court
01:28

Outer Limits, The (1963-65)

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Marion Ross on her appearances on The Outer Limits and on The Fugitive
01:11

Rawhide

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Marion Ross on her guest roles on Rawhide
02:18

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
04:21

That '70s Show

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Marion Ross on her guest appearances on That '70s Show
02:03

Touched By an Angel

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Marion Ross on her guest appearances on Touched by an Angel
00:53
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Marion Ross on her Happy Days character, "Marion Cunningham"
03:12

Fame and Celebrity

View Topic
Marion Ross on her fame once she was cast on Happy Days
01:11
Marion Ross on how the young cast of Happy Days dealt with fame
02:26
Marion Ross on the Happy Days fan mail
01:33

First Big Break

View Topic
Actress Marion Ross on her first television role, on Life with Father starring Leon Ames
03:37

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Marion Ross on her very limited experience of the Hollywood Blacklist
01:22

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Marion Ross on her very limited experience of the Hollywood Blacklist
01:22

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
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"
01:24

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Actress Marion Ross on her first television role, on Life with Father starring Leon Ames
03:37

Pop Culture

View Topic
Marion Ross on her fame once she was cast on Happy Days
01:11
Marion Ross on her Happy Days character, "Marion Cunningham"
03:12
Marion Ross on how the young cast of Happy Days dealt with fame
02:26
Marion Ross on the Happy Days fan mail
01:33

Television Industry

View Topic
Marion Ross on her very limited experience of the Hollywood Blacklist
01:22
Marion Ross on her desire to continue working, and on ageism in the industry
02:32

We Cried

View Topic
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"
01:24
Professions

Actress

View Profession
Marion Ross on her process for learning her lines
01:32
Marion Ross on acting in front of an audience
00:45
Marion Ross on how she creates her characters
02:12
Marion Ross on important advice she's received as an actress, and on the importance of having an agent
01:31
Marion Ross on advice to an aspiring actor
00:50

Performers

View Profession
Marion Ross on her process for learning her lines
01:32
Marion Ross on acting in front of an audience
00:45
Marion Ross on how she creates her characters
02:12
Marion Ross on important advice she's received as an actress, and on the importance of having an agent
01:31
Marion Ross on advice to an aspiring actor
00:50
Genres

Adventure/Espionage Series

View Genre
Marion Ross on guest-starring on MacGyver
00:54

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Marion Ross on working on Ford Star Jubilee's production of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" opposite Lauren Bacall and Claudette Colbert
05:22
Marion Ross on guest-starring on Alfred Hitchcock Presents
00:56

Comedy Series

View Genre
Actress Marion Ross on her first television role, on Life with Father starring Leon Ames
03:37
Marion Ross on playing "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
30:06
Marion Ross on playing "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
15:52
Marion Ross on various guest-starring roles on Aaron Spelling's The Love Boat
05:51
Marion Ross on guest-starring on Night Court
01:28
Marion Ross on playing "Sophie Berger" on Brooklyn Bridge created by Gary David Goldberg
05:25
Marion Ross on guest starring as "Drew's" mother on The Drew Carey Show
03:45
Marion Ross on her guest appearances on That '70s Show
02:03

Drama Series

View Genre
Marion Ross on her role as "Sophie Berger" in Brooklyn Bridge
04:45

Western Series

View Genre
Marion Ross on her guest roles (and stunts) on Rawhide
01:23
People

Gracie Allen

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
01:06

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
05:22

Scott Baio

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Marion Ross on Scott Baio as "Chachi Arcola" on Happy Days
01:14

Tom Bosley

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Marion Ross on Tom Bosley as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:02

George Burns

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
01:06

Richard Chamberlain

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Marion Ross on guest-starring on Dr. Kildare, with Richard Chamberlin
00:30

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
05:22

Gary David Goldberg

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Marion Ross on playing "Sophie Berger" on Brooklyn Bridge, created by Gary David Goldberg
05:25

Ron Howard

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Marion Ross on "Marion Cunningham's" relationship with "Ritchie Cunningham" (Ron Howard) on Happy Days
03:13
Marion Ross on Happy Days losing Donny Most and Ron Howard
00:52

Ted Lange

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Marion Ross on working with the cast of The Love Boat, including Ted Lange
01:54

Jack Lord

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Marion Ross on Jack Lord being difficult to work with on Hawaii Five-O
01:11

Garry Marshall

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Marion Ross on Garry Marshall's producing style on Happy Days
03:03
Marion Ross on Happy Days director Jerry Paris and his working relationship with Garry Marshall
01:30

Al Molinaro

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Marion Ross on Pat Morita as "Arnold" and Al Molinaro as "Al" on Happy Days
00:47

Erin Moran

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Marion Ross on Erin Moran as "Joanie Cunningham" on Happy Days
01:07

Pat Morita

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Marion Ross on Pat Morita as "Arnold" and Al Molinaro as "Al" on Happy Days
00:47

Donny Most

View Person Page
Marion Ross on Happy Days losing Donny Most and Ron Howard
00:52

Jerry Paris

View Person Page
Marion Ross on Jerry Paris as director on Happy Days
04:35
Marion Ross on Happy Days director Jerry Paris and his working relationship with Garry Marshall
01:30

Lauren Tewes

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Marion Ross on working with the cast of The Love Boat, including Lauren Tewes
01:54

Anson Williams

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Marion Ross on Anson Williams as "Potsie Webber" on Happy Days
03:01

Henry Winkler

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Marion Ross on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days and on "Marion's" friendship with "Fonzie"
01:49

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