It's just come across the wires regarding the passing of actress-singer Erin Moran at 56. Causes unknown at this point, but it brings an end to a tragic post-career tale.
Erin was in her early teens when she was cast as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days, having already logged a resume that included appearances on Daktari and The Courtship of Eddie's Father, among other places. America, then, watched Erin grow up over the course of a decade. Erin found time to make a guest appearance on The Waltons during either season 2 or 3 of Happy Days. During the second half of the series run, Joanie was paired with Chachi Arcola (Scott Baio), leading to the short-lived spin-off, Joanie Loves Chachi, which lasted parts of 2 seasons (1982-3), before the couple returned to Days and were married off in the series finale.
Come to think of it, maybe that was when they should've tried the spin-off, don't ya think?
Erin's personal problems, including depression, led to her career going downhill. Her last film of note was "Not Another 'B' Movie", two years after she had appeared on VH1's Celebrity Fit Club.
We'll see if Me-TV or any other cabler with the rights to Happy Days does a Joanie-centric tribute marathon. Meantime, let's revisit the series premiere of Joanie Loves Chachi. Amazingly, it turns out that Erin really wasn't interested in doing the show when it aired. Maybe she had the same idea, that it should've waited until after Days ended, I don't know.
I echo the sentiments of Erin's castmates, including Henry Winkler & Anson Williams, when I say that Erin has found her peace at last. Rest in peace, shortcake. You'll be missed.