Speed Reads

Rest in peace

Erin Moran, Joanie on Happy Days, is dead at 56

Former child star Erin Moran, best known for her role as Joanie Cunningham, little sister to Ron Howard's Richie Cunningham on Happy Days, was found dead Saturday at her home in Indiana. She was 56. Moran began acting when she was just 5, appearing in commercials and playing bit parts before she landed the role of Joanie at age 12. After 10 years of Happy Days, Moran and costar Scott Baio had a brief spinoff, Joanie Loves Chachi, but after that, Moran never had a leading role again.

Moran was born Oct. 18, 1960, in Burbank, California, the fourth of five children raised in North Hollywood by their finance manager father and a mother who encouraged Moran's acting career and got her an agent. After Happy Days, Moran said she had mixed feelings about being a child star, and she took a break from Hollywood in the mid-1980s. "Such sad sad news," Howard wrote on Twitter Saturday night. "RIP Erin. I'll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up TV screens." You can watch a short remembrance of Moran's career below, from USA Today. Peter Weber