Thank you, National Enquirer, for calling our attention to an issue we as a pop-culture society should come together to solve: The health and well-being of our national treasures, aged former sitcom stars. We first became aware of this issue last year, when it was discovered that Happy Days star Erin Moran was homeless and bouncing from motel to motel. Today, we learned that another beloved face from the ’70s and ’80s, Eight Is Enough’s Susan Richardson is suffering from a number of health problems and scraping by in a broken down trailer. The diabetic 60-year-old, who played one of Dick Van Patten’s eight children on the ABC show that ran from 1977-81, has had strokes and also an incurable digestive tract condition that made her lose her teeth, the Enquirer reports (via Radar Online). In addition to a pension, she’s earning a living by turning fallen branches into walking canes for vets — which sounds both really sad and rather resourceful.
We were pretty bummed last week to learn that former Happy Days star Erin Moran was not exactly having happy days. The 52-year old is currently homeless in Indiana, bouncing between cheap hotels with her husband Steve Fleischmann. We cursed the fates for being so cruel to Erin, and wished that somebody would do something to help her. And then, like a hero on a horseback, entered…The Fonz.
Erin’s one-time co-star Henry Winkler is reportedly working to secure the struggling actress actress a part on the new series of Arrested Development. The series is produced (and narrated) by her ex-TV brother Ron Howard, so it can’t be that hard, right? “Henry is absolutely shattered over what’s become of Erin,” a friend told the National Enquirer. “He desperately wants to help get back back on her feet.” Winkler plays the Bluth family lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn on the cult TV show. And yes, he’s very good.
Moran’s career has essentially bottomed out since her last major role in the Happy Days spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi back in 1983. She had a few TV guest spots, and an appearance on VH1’s own Celebrity Fit Club in 2008. Her house went into foreclosure in 2010, and over the summer she was forced out of her mother’s trailer. We know it could just be a rumor, but we like to think that The Fonz looks after his own. And we know that’s a little cornball.
[Photo: Getty Images]
You know, there’s something about fame that makes people think celebrities can never truly be down on their luck. If everyone and their mother knows an actor or actress’s name, we just go ahead and assume that person must be enjoying some kind of carefree, financially secure high life. Sadly, as stories like Nick Stahl’s disappearance (or any number of heartrending celeb stories) demonstrates, fame is no safeguard against the everyday hardships of life. To wit, according to RadarOnline and the National Enquirer, former sitcom star Erin Moran and her husband Steve Fleischmann are currently struggling with homeless in Indiana. Best known as Joanie in Happy Days and its spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi, Moran and her husband were allegedly forced out of the trailer they shared with her husband’s mother and are now living out of hotels in the area; the couple had moved into the trailer after losing their house to foreclosure in 2010. Celebrities…unfortunately, they really are just like us. Even the tragic parts.
Those who watched Celebrity Fit Club in 2010 might remember Moran’s erratic behavior, which was compounded by drinking. According to a source, the actress had allegedly been “going out and coming home at all hours of the night, sometimes with her rowdy bar friends, and Steve’s mom just couldn’t take it anymore, so she told Erin to leave.” According to a statement made by her rep to ABC back in June, however, Moran and her spouse were in fact assisting his mother. “They are helping take care of her, as any loving family would do,” the rep explained. Either way, we hope Erin and her husband are able to get back on their feet soon. We’re not saying Scott Baio should get involved, but that would probably be the one thing that would make this story slightly less heart-breaking…
[Photo: Getty Images]