- Marion Ross became famous for playing Marion Cunningham on ‘Happy Days’
- The Minnesota native guest starred on several TV shows before retiring at age 87 in 2016
- She welcomed two children with her late husband, actor Paul Michael
Marion Ross has enjoyed an incredible career in Hollywood after landing the role of a lifetime on the sitcom Happy Days. The beloved show, created by Garry Marshall, ran for 11 seasons between 1974 and 1984, and shared a romanticized look at life in the 1950s and ’60s in the Midwest. Along with Marion, who played loveable matriarch Marion Cunningham, it made stars of Ron Howard, who played Richie Cunningham, and Henry Winkler, who played Arthur “Fonzie”/”The Fonz” Fonzarelli.
The Minnesota native, born in Waterton on October 25, 1928, didn’t rest when Happy Days went off the air. Instead, she threw herself into her work, landing guest roles on such hits as Love Boat and later, Brooklyn Bridge. Marion also starred in the long-anticipated sequel to 1983’s Terms of Endearment, 1996’s The Evening Star, for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Finally giving herself a much-deserved break from all her years of hard Hollywood work — she made her film debut in 1953’s Forever Female — Marion announced her retirement in 2016 at the age of 87. “I want to enjoy my life and my children. I just love being at the phase that I’m at now. … Sometimes I say: ‘No, I’m not going to be in this play and give you every last ounce of myself. I’m saving it for me and my family,'” the actress said at the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Gala.
As for the family that now has Marion’s undivided attention, it includes her two children she welcomed with her late husband, actor Paul Michael. Both daughter Ellen and son Jim have followed in their parents footsteps, becoming quite the smash in Tinseltown! Meet them, below.
Marion and Paul welcomed daughter Ellen Loveless Meskimen on October 11, 1962. In adulthood, she quickly found her footing as a TV writer and producer. And it wasn’t just any old show where she honed her skills: Ellen wrote for seventeen episodes of Friends in season 6 through 10, and three episodes of Joey, per her IMDB. She also happened to produce one hundred fifteen episodes of Friends and twenty-two episodes of Joey. She also co-created the Fox series I Hate My Teenage Daughter.
On June 28, 2008, Ellen married screenwriter Scott Kreamer. They are the proud parents of two children. However, Ellen keeps very private and does not have a social media account at this time.
Jim Meskimen was born to Marion and Paul on September 10, 1959. He recently said that he would “love” to see a reboot of Happy Days — though he recommended a major change, per Newsweek “It was so of the time, though,” he said. “I think they would have to do kind of like what they did with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air —they turned that into a drama (Bel-Air). I think that would be an effective way maybe to bring [it back].
Even if the powers that be can’t make a reboot happen, Jim will always have his singular episode on the original series. “I was in a famous episode of Happy Days when I was 17. The famous Fonzie jumps the shark episode,” he told Newsweek. “I was a kid on the beach. I was in great shape, thank God, and I’m the one that says, ‘They got a shark out there!’ I’m the one who announces the shark.”
He also has a ball imitating famous actors, and has become well-known for it. On one of his more viral TikToks, Jim can be seen reciting a self-penned poem as he imitates the voices of such actors as George Clooney, Robert De Niro, Anthony Hopkins, Tommy Lee Jones, Patrick Stewart and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among many others.
Even with all his success in Hollywood, Jim is still a mama’s boy at heart. “[Marion] loves the hell out of me. I mean, she always tells me how much I mean to her. And it’s very interesting, because every time I meet someone, and they find out my relationship to Marion, they all say the same thing. They all say, ‘Oh, I love your mom!’ And it’s delightful. I have that in common with most of humanity, apparently. We all love my mom.”