Although Mrs. Cunningham from “Happy Days” wasn’t approved by her screen husband at first, she won the hearts of all Americans, becoming the best and happiest wife and mom ever.

    Marion Ross enjoyed fame but also endured the pain of a failed marriage.

    After her first marriage ended in divorce, Marion was left an impoverished single mother.

    Finally, she got back on her feet and now lives a happy life as a mother, and fans praise her for looking beautiful.

    It’s no accident that Marion Ross became the famous actress she is today. The “Happy Days” star confessed that it was her dream to be a renowned actress ever since she was a little girl, often standing in her room, pretending to portray the lead in some play, and always bowing gracefully at curtain call afterward.

    As a little girl in Albert Lea, Minnesota, Ross would often imagine herself getting up on a stage to star in extraordinary adventures and heartrending dramas. She entertained herself by imagining she was a famous actress who had to appease her raving crowd of fans with smiles, bows, and a slew of autographs.

    Patty Duke and Marion Ross in "Foster Mother," in 1964 | Source: Getty Images

    But following your dreams can be much less glamorous than first expected. Before Ross made it big as an actress, she spent her days working as a waitress in a restaurant. Although it wasn’t the job she wanted to be doing, it did open the door to the career she had been dreaming about as a little girl.

    On top of having to take care of the household, Ross’s bills were becoming tricky to pay, since her acting work was slowly drying up, and while she struggled to find jobs, Meskimen wasn’t even trying.
    At one point, Ross was hired to serve dinner at someone’s house, and to her astonishment, the person who hired her for the job was friends with a producer. While working, the host revealed to the producer that Ross had dreams of becoming an actress. With a flourish, he presented his card to Ross and told her to go see him.

    Marion Ross in "Happy Days," 1973 | Source: Getty Images

    When Ross turned up at the address he had given her, it turned out to be his apartment. Suddenly, Ross realized what the man wanted from her. She stuck to her guns, insisting that she wouldn’t be taken for a fool, and left the apartment with her dignity intact. Although she didn’t get an acting job, she learned to stick up for herself.

    Ross didn’t have to waiter for too long before she finally had her big break. She started starring in a number of films, making a name for herself as a talented actress. She shared that the most important thing she learned about being a successful performer was to “sell” yourself and your character to the crowd.

    Ross learned early on that a good actor is a convincing one who could make the audience forget they were watching a play or a film but could draw them into the story entirely. She also made up her mind that she would have a career in film. She didn’t want to go into soap operas, and the stage could only take her so far, financially speaking.

    Luckily, Ross had the talent and the opportunity to take her life where she needed it to go. As a movie star, her life became the thing she had dreamed of since she was a little girl. She smiled at audiences, bowed, waved, and signed autographs. But things would take an unexpected turn in the 60s.

    Although Ross adored the theatre, films and TV paid her bills, so she stuck with it. At the same time, she started to build a family. The actress recalled how she and her first husband flew out to Arizona for a brief and largely unplanned marriage to Freeman Meskimen, an aspiring actor at the time.

    Ross recalled that she supported his dreams but also quickly realized that Meskimen didn’t have the dedication to become an actor. She also said she often took over all the essential duties in their relationship. She picked their home, then looked after all the daily chores, including taking care of the bills.

    Marion Ross on March 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

    On top of having to take care of the household, Ross’s bills were becoming tricky to pay, since her acting work was slowly drying up, and while she struggled to find jobs, Meskimen wasn’t even trying. He went to the occasional audition but never landed the role and was starting to think about giving up acting.

    This sounded like good news, with Ross hoping he would find another job in which he could make money. But Meskimen had no real ambition to have a career, and Ross was stuck with the heavy lifting when it came to supporting their family. And the two were going to need all the support they could get fairly soon.

    While Ross was supporting her and her husband, a third member of the family was on the way. Ross confirmed her pregnancy with a doctor and went home to tell Meskimen, hoping he would be overjoyed. To her shock, he became enraged and yelled, “What have you done?”

    Ross took care of their child, and fairly soon, they had another little one coming. Meanwhile, Meskimen had developed a drinking problem. This, paired with seeing Meskimen’s reaction to her pregnancy, started a downward spiral that would eventually end in their divorce. The two separated in 1969.

    Ross’s Life after Her Divorce
    With two children to care for, a costly divorce from Meskimen, and fewer and fewer acting jobs turning up, Ross was desperate. At one point, she starred in films and made ample money, but after her divorce, Ross was reduced to taking every part offered to her, no matter how insignificant.

    Luckily, she managed to work through the pain of her first divorce, and with her career soaring once more, Ross was back up on her feet and ready to face the world.
    At one point, Ross rented out one of the rooms in her home so that she could keep providing for her family, even though it provided a terrifyingly meager salary. Finally, she was offered the role of an extra in the film “Airport.” The part was small. She could barely be seen amid the other extras and didn’t say a single line of dialogue, but it paid.

    Marion Ross and Paul Michael in Beverly Hills, California, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

    With her were a few other down-on-their-luck actors, and Ross met Sandra Gould on set. At the time, Ross felt overwhelmed with everything going on in her life, and she confided in Gould, telling her, “I cry every day because my life’s a mess.” She explained how she was struggling to make ends meet while going through a terrible divorce.

    Seeing how far Ross had fallen, Gould invited her to dinner one evening. A casting woman joined the two and realized Ross would be a good fit for Marion Cunningham on the upcoming TV show “Happy Days.” After the dinner, Ross was cast on the sitcom, and her career was blossoming once again.

    Although she had secured the part, Ross still had a number of other problems to face. For one, she didn’t get along very well with her TV husband, Tom Bosley. Nonetheless, she stuck with it, and eventually, she felt at home on the sitcom’s set, creating bonds with her co-workers that would last for years.

    At the age of 46, in 1974, Ross had the chance to start over with her life. She was working again, and she had her two children with her. A few years later, she would also have another chance at finding love. However, at first, she struggled to get over her failed marriage, seeing a therapist to help her deal with the psychological blowback.

    Luckily, she managed to work through the pain of her first divorce, and with her career soaring once more, Ross was back up on her feet and ready to face the world. Eventually, “Happy Days” came to an end, the cast went their separate ways, and Ross’s two children grew up, following her into the entertainment industry.

    Then in her 60s, the actress met a man with whom she fell in love. After years of being on her own, Ross had become confident in herself and was ready to give love another try. She and Paul Michael first met when they worked together on a play in Southern California.

    Michael recalled how they greeted each other with a hug, and they had been close since that first meeting. They developed a loving relationship and enjoyed working together as often as possible. Eventually, Michael developed some health issues, but Ross stuck with him until he died at 84 in 2011.

    Ross Is Alive and Happy with Her Life
    These days, Ross is content with how her life turned out. Although she faced many hardships, she made it through each and every one with grim determination, finally finding her way back to a happy life. Now, at the age of 94, she lives a simple life with those she loves most close to her.

    Although she’s not working anymore, the actress is enjoying her retirement immensely. She invested much of the money she made shooting “Happy Days” in the home she now lives in, which she lovingly refers to as Happy Days Farm. She spends most of her time enjoying retirement, baking brownies for her family and having fun with her granddaughter.

    Ross opened up about her daily routines, saying she starts every day with a nice cup of coffee, followed by a healthy glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice, which she makes from the fruit she grows in her backyard. Her son, Jim Meskimen, also checks in on his beloved mother daily, bringing her a blend of herbs for breakfast.

    Marion Ross on January 23, 2019 in Universal City, California | Source: Getty Images

    When Ross turned 91, she did an interview with her son to celebrate the milestone. The two sat down at a table, and Ross revealed that she stayed healthy by keeping a healthy frame of mind, washing her hands, and following a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit.

    In response to the interview, numerous fans praised Ross for still looking great at her age. One avid fan couldn’t believe she was 91 already, writing in the comment section, “Amazing! So much respect for her! 91!? Where!? Looking great! God bless.”

    The actress has also repeatedly appeared on social media with her granddaughter, Taylor Meskimen. The two often sit down together and talk about Ross’s life, the entertainment industry, and other general pearls of wisdom that Ross has to offer. In one of these segments, the pair shared a sweet moment when Meskimen noted Ross is her hero.

    Ross’s family tries to spend as much time with her as possible, often celebrating her birthday together. For her 93rd, her son and granddaughter surprised her by picking her up and taking her to a fire station, where she posed in front of a T93 fire engine. In the video, Ross notes how grateful she is for her family.

    On other occasions, Ross has opened up about aging and what she hopes to accomplish moving forward. The actress noted that she’s at peace with most things in her life, and although there was nothing she still wanted to achieve, she hopes to spend tons of time with those closest to her.

    Ross has shared her thoughts on a “Happy Days” reboot, saying it could be a wonderful project. She noted that the original format might not work with today’s crowd, so she suggested making it a drama instead of the classic sitcom, much like how “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was brought back.

    Nonetheless, Ross most likely won’t be starring in the reboot if it ever gets made. The actress noted that she’s happy with where she is and content with her life when she looks back over the years. That said, she does make public appearances every now and again, most recently appearing at a rose show and auction, where she still looked great.

    Despite the years of insecurity when she wasn’t making money as an actress, Ross remained determined to make a success of herself. Along the way, Ross made many good friends, including Henry Winkler, who starred with her in “Happy Days,” and she’s glad to have her family with her.

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