At 89 years old, actress Marion Ross has finally given her fans the autobiography they have been waiting for. It took some persuasion for her to share her story. That story most famously includes her tenure as Marion Cunningham on the TV show Happy Days.
In My Days: Happy and Otherwise, Marion reveals the challenges she overcame to achieve her dream. There are contributions from some of her co-stars. Director/producer Ron Howard wrote the foreword to the book and an interview with the late, great Gary Marshall – who directed Happy Days – includes his thoughts on Marion’s acting work.
Aside from Happy Days, Ms. Ross starred in a variety of TV shows and movies. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in the film The Evening Star, alongside actress Shirley MacLaine. Her story makes for a great read. In our roughly 30 minute CYInterview, Marion shares many stories about her life and career. Featured columnist Jay Bildstein joiined us for this segment.
You can listen to the entire CYInterview below:
Listen to the entire Marion Ross CYInterview:
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During a challenging time in her life, Marion landed a non-speaking role in the movie Airport. Little did she know at the time that the role would lead to her getting her big break on a TV show called Happy Days:
“My life was coming apart. I was getting divorced; nobody had a job; I had two children to raise. So I went to George Seaton and I said, ‘Can I be in Airport? Can I just be in Airport?’ He said, ‘Sure.’ This was a non-speaking role. And I was paid less than minimum. But I didn’t care. And because of that, it’s funny, it’s a life lesson. I had to step way, way back, way back to be in Airport. Because of that, I met Sandra Gould, she was also on that plane and then she said, because I cried every day, she said, ‘Come to dinner.’ And she had Millie Gusse the casting woman for dinner and Millie said, ‘Marion, you’d be good for the very small part of the mother on this thing called Happy Days.’ So that led to that led to that. Isn’t that a wonderful trail?”
In film, arguably some of Marion’s best work can be seen in her portrayal of Rosie Dunlop in The Evening Star, opposite Shirley MacLaine. The part, in the sequel to Terms of Endearment, earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She says Shirley brought out the best in her acting abilities:
“I thought, ‘You know, if she weren’t here, would I be this good? I wonder.’ But she was watching me all the time. So I had to give her a lot of credit for putting the pressure on me.”
On what she wants people to know about her, Ms. Ross says she is someone who loves to positively encourage people to reach their dreams:
“You can follow your dreams. You know, to share that with everybody. If you have a dream, I always say go for it. You know, go on, you can do it, come on. I like to encourage people.”
You can find more information and purchase a copy of Marion Ross’s book My Days: Happy and Otherwise clicking here