Officials: ‘Happy Days’ star Moran likely died from cancer

CORYDON, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say former “Happy Days” star Erin Moran likely died from cancer at her southern Indiana home.

A statement released Monday by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department says an autopsy revealed the 56-year-old actress had stage-four cancer, but doesn’t specify what type.

The department says Moran died Saturday in the rural community of New Salisbury, about 20 miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky. Officials say standard toxicology test results are pending but that no illegal narcotics were found at the home.

A Burbank, California, native, Moran began acting in TV and movies before she was 10 years old. In 1974, she was cast in “Happy Days” as Joanie Cunningham, the kid sister to high school student Richie Cunningham, played by Ron Howard.

Moran, who was born Oct. 18, 1960, in Burbank, Calif., landed her first big role on the children’s adventure show Daktari when she was just 8. The show premiered the same year she made her film debut opposite Debbie Reynolds in How Sweet It Is.

She occupied herself with TV work until she landed the role of the youngest child of the Cunningham family. The series, which took place in Milwaukee between 1955 and 1965, and it was created by Gary Marshall. The program was a hit almost from day one when it   premiered on ABC in 1974. She left to star in Joanie Loves Chachi, but that show was canceled after one season. She rejoined the Happy Days cast for its final season, which ended in 1984.

Her post-Happy Days credits include guest stints on The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote. Moran also jumped on the reality TV bandwagon, doing a season of VH1’s weight-loss show Celebrity Fit Club in 2008.

She had only a handful of acting jobs in the last 25 years (her most recent credit was 2010’s Not Another B Movie), according to her IMDb page.

Picture from ABC TV