Mystery Surrounds Death of Happy Days' 'Joanie'

Former child stars reached out to her in last week of life
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2017 5:45 AM CDT
Mystery Surrounds Death of 'Joanie'
This Feb. 19, 1982 file photo shows Erin Moran in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Wally Fong, File)

Fans and former Happy Days co-stars are mourning Erin Moran, who was found dead in southern Indiana on Saturday. The AP reports that no cause of death has been determined for the 56-year-old former child star, and an autopsy is pending. The Harrison County Sheriff's Office says emergency workers found her around 4pm after receiving a call about an unresponsive female. The recent life of Moran, best known for her role as Joanie Cunningham, is as mysterious as her death, reports the Indianapolis Star. She moved to Indiana with husband Steve Fleischmann in 2011, but is believed to have struggled with homelessness after being kicked out of the trailer they shared with Fleischmann's mother.

Moran is believed to have died in her mother-in-law's trailer park, where she had apparently been living again in recent months. Neighbors at the park in Corydon, Ind., tell People that she was always friendly, but "kind of hibernated at the end" and hadn't been seen outside much lately. Former Donna Reed Show actor Paul Petersen, founder of a support group for former child actors, says Moran's troubles were "many and complex" and at least six former child stars tried to reach out to her in the week before her death, reports the New York Daily News. "OH Erin... now you will finally have the peace you wanted so badly here on earth," tweeted Henry Winkler. "Rest in it serenely now." (More Erin Moran stories.)

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