Saturday, September 21, 2013

Erin Moran

Erin Moran is a former child star best known for her role on the hit 1970s-1980s sitcom, Happy Days.  Moran went from one of the hottest young TV stars in the early 1980s until Happy Days was cancelled, at which point her career completely derailed until she attempted an-ill advised comeback on Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp nearly 25 years later.  [Summaries of the Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp episodes may be found here.]

Erin Moran was born on October 18, 1960 in Burbank, California and broke into the acting business at a young age.  As a 7-year-old child, she had a recurring role on the TV show, Daktari, appearing in 15 episodes during the fourth season of the show about a veterinarian running an animal study center in Africa.  Moran followed up on this initial success with minor roles in several other TV shows, such as Death Valley Days, My Three Sons, Family Affair, Gunsmoke, and The Waltons.  Moran also appeared in several motion pictures such as 80 Steps to Jonah, The Happy Ending, and Watermelon Man.

Moran's star was rising as she was becoming known as a child actress, leading to her being cast in her signature role as Joanie Cunningham on the long-running hit 1950's-era nostalgia sitcom, Happy Days, in 1974.

Happy Days was one of the most popular TV shows during its original airing of 11 seasons between 1974 and 1984.  Moran was a regular on the show as the young teenage daughter of the Cunnginham family for all but the 10th season of the show, at which point she was cast in a lead role in the unsuccessful spin-off show, Joanie Loves Chachi.

Joanie Cunningham was a somewhat annoyed, yet wholesome, young woman on Happy Days and a popular character among American youths.  Erin Moran must have thought that she was on top of the world by the early 1980s as she undoubtedly made millions during her time on Happy Days and became incredibly famous.

However, Moran was in for a rude awakening after Happy Days was cancelled in 1984 as her career quickly derailed.  Moran appeared in two episodes of The Love Boat in 1985 and in an episode of Murder, She Wrote in 1986.  Moran has appeared as herself in TV shows such as Hollywood Squares and in the movie Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.  However, Moran had to wait 12 long years until 1998 until appearing in her next role other than as herself in a single episode of Diagnosis Murder.  Unfortunately, her role in Diagnosis Murder did not reinvigorate her career as she must have thought it would.

With her back up against the wall, Moran made one last-ditch effort to return to the limelight by agreeing to appear in 2008's Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp.  Moran also appeared in a single episode of Scott Baio Is 45... And Single the prior year, in 2007. Moran embarassed herself on Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp, coming across as almost as washed up as the poster child of washed up actors, Dustin Diamond.  Moran was the only contestant on the show who didn't seem to take the show seriously as show lost only 3 pounds, a mere 2.4% of her body weight, during the show.  Her lack of effort completely screwed over her own team, costing them a victory in a competition to lose weight and body fat.  Her lackadaisical effort cost she and her three teammates about $150,000 in prizes, as I discuss in detail in the summary of the last episode of the season on which she appeared.

During Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp, Moran all but admitted that she didn't care about losing weight and claimed that she only came onto the show because she needed the money.

Her appearance on Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp did not reinvigorate her career the way she must have hoped it would.  She did appear in minor roles in the TV movie Mother Goose Parade, the TV show The Bold and Beautiful, and the movie Not Another B Movie, in 2009-10.  However, she has not had any other roles since 2010.  She was rumored to be appearing in the fourth season of Arrested Development in 2013, although she did not end up appearing in the show.

As Moran's career floundered, it appears as though her personal life has also floundered, possibly as a result of burning many bridges while she was at the height of her career.  Moran supposedly appeared on an episode of the Maury Povich Show and claimed that she was "molested" by several male cast members when she was on Happy Days.  However, Moran neglected to corroborate these claims and she disappeared after a return from a commercial break.  Moran later claimed that her own family, not any other actors, abused her

Moran also joined in a lawsuit with several other former Happy Days cast members, claiming that they not been paid for merchandising revenues owed under their contracts.  Moran eventually received a $65,000 settlement.  Unfortunately, however, the windfall did not last long for Moran.

In 2012 it was reported that Moran was broke and lost her California home to foreclosure, forcing her to move in with her husband's mother-in-law in a trailer park in Indiana.  It was also reported in 2012 that Moran flashed her saggy breasts while at a bar in 2012 and apparently nobody knew who she was!  One of the bar's patron's reportedly said, "Who the heck is Erin Moran?"

Moran also supposedly really boozed things up, to the annoyance of her mother-in-law.  The mother-in-law eventually decided that she had enough of Moran's "hard-partying ways" and kicked her out near the end of 2012, rendering Moran homeless, causing her to bounce from hotel-to-hotel.

There is apparently no love lost between Moran and her former Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi co-star Scott Baio.  Baio stated that he knew about Moran's personal troubles, but did not want to help her.  One can only speculate as to what Moran must have done to cause this lack of concern from Baio.

Erin Moran was once one of the most promising young actresses in Hollywood between the mid-1970s and hte mid-1980s.  However, she apparently burned too many bridges and spent her money unwisely, resulting in her being essentially homeless and destitute today.  Accordingly, there can be no doubt that she is one hell of a washed-up celebrity!