Marion Ross is a Primetime Emmy Award-nominated retired actress, who is probably best known for her 10-year stint in the TV sitcom “Happy Days.”

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Age, Early Life, and Education Background

Marion was born Marian Ellen Ross under the Scorpio zodiac sign on 25 October 1928, in Watertown, Minnesota USA, and is 94 years old as of 2023. She’s the daughter of Ellen and Gordon Alexander Ross, who were natives of Saskatchewan, Canada. Ross spent her childhood days in Waconia, Willmar, and Albert Lea, all in Minnesota. Her younger brother, Gordon Ross was an actor known for “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” – he passed away aged 65 in August 1995. The former actress changed her name from ‘Marian’ to ‘Marion’ in 1941 when she was 13 years old.

Marion attended a local high school in Watertown before moving to Minneapolis, where she transferred to Southwest High School. Concurrently, she studied drama at The MacPhail Center for Music, which is one of the USA’s oldest community-based music education centers. After spending 12 months in Minneapolis, Marion’s family relocated to San Diego in California, where she continued with her high school studies at Point Loma High School, later matriculating to San Diego State University.

Career Beginnings: Early ‘50s-Early ‘70s

Marion made her film debut in the 1953 William Holden and Ginger Rogers-starred black and white movie “Forever Female,” which won a Golden Globe Award. In the same year, she began her career in television with a two-year appearance in the series “Life with Father”, and before the end of the 1950s, she appeared in the TV series “The Lone Ranger” and “The Donna Reed Show” and the films “Some Came Running” and “Operation Petticoat.”

In 1961 and 1962, Ross appeared in the CBS TV sitcom “Mrs G. Goes to College” and also starred in the Western series “Rawhide.” Subsequently, she portrayed a computer scientist in the 1970 sci-fi thriller movie “Colossus: The Forbidden Project.”

“Happy Days” and Continued Success: Mid-70s-Mid-90s

Ross made her career breakthrough with the portrayal of the very kind, loving, and occasionally goofy and humorous matriarch Marion Cunningham, in the ABC sitcom “Happy Days” (1974-1984), sharing the screen with Henry Winkler, Anson Williams, and Ron Howard. Ross reprised her role of Cunningham in thesubsequent spin-off, “Joanie Loves Chachi” and later in several episodes of the animated sitcom “Family Guy.” From 1978 to 1986, Ross portrayed various characters in the drama “The Love Boat.” She then starred in the acclaimed comedy-drama series “Brooklyn Bridge,” for which she received two Viewers for Quality Television Awards for Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series, and nominations for two Emmy Awards and an American Television Award among others.

Late ‘90s and the 21st Century

Marion starred as Rossie Dunlop in the 1996 comedy-drama movie “The Evening Star,” which saw her win a Lone Star Film & Television Award and various nominations. She later landed the recurring roles of a homeless lady in the last season of the TV drama “Touched by an Angel”, and Drew Carey’s mom in the ABC TV sitcom “The Drew Carey Show.”

Ross became active as a voice actress in the ‘90s, lending her voice in various episodes of Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.” In 2007, she was seen in the biographical period drama movie “Music Within”, and between 2007 and 2010, she appeared in the ABC family drama series “Brothers & Sisters.” 2008 saw her appear in the superhero parody movie “Superhero Movie”, and Ross subsequently guest-starred in numerous series, including “Grey’s Anatomy” (2010) and “Two and a Half Men” (2014).

She announced that she was retiring from acting in 2021. However, she went on to make brief appearances in a few projects.

“Happy Days” Lawsuit

In April 2011, Ross and her “Happy Days” co-stars, Don Most, Erin Moran and Anson Williams sued CBS for breach of contract after the network allegedly failed to disburse their share of the revenue collected from the sale of show-related merchandise such as comic books, cars, trading cards, and T-shirts (where their photos appeared on box covers) as outlined in their contract. Although CBS stated that they owed the actors a total of $17,500 each, the actors claimed that the company owed them millions. In October 2011, the court dismissed the actors’ $10 million lawsuit but were later each paid $65,000 by CBS.

Awards and Nominations

Out of the 16 awards she has been nominated for, Ross has scooped six. She was nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards in different categories for her performance in the TV series “Touched by an Angel” (one) “Happy Days” (two) and “Brooklyn Bridge” (two). In 2014, the Watertown native received a Jury Award at Hoboken International Film Festival and a Lifetime Achievement Award at LA Femme International Film Festival.. She received an Online Film & Television Association (OFTA) Award nomination for her performance in “That ‘70s Show” (1999) and a Golden Globe Award for her performance in “The Evening Star.” Ross received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2001

Personal Life

Marion exchanged vows with Freeman Meskimen in 1951, but the duo ended their union after 18 years of togetherness in 1969. Meskimen has stayed out of the public’s eye since he divorced Marion and it is unclear if he’s still alive. Ross has revealed in her autobiography entitled “My Days: Happy and Otherwise” that Meskimen was a moody, unfocused, and unmotivated drinker, and disclosed how her ex-husband reacted when she told him that she was pregnant with their first child. She stated that he was enraged by the news since he wasn’t ready to become a father, which came as a shock to her. Marion previously stated, ‘When I look back, I believe it was that initial reaction to me being pregnant that, for the first time, made me slowly start to fall out of love with him. If he was devastated by the news that I was pregnant, I was equally devastated by his reaction.’

Ross is a mother of three, and all of her children work in the showbiz industry. Her son, Jim Meskimen, who was born on 10 September 1959, is an actor, impressionist and comedian, known for providing his voice in numerous video games, whereas her daughter, Ellen Plummer is a movie actress. Her other daughter, Ellen Kreamer (born in October 1962) is a screenwriter who is probably best known for her works in “Friends” in 1994, “Veronica’s Closet” in 1997, and “Welcome to the Captain” in 2008.

In 1988, Ross exchanged vows with the late American actor, Paul Michael, who passed away aged 84 in July 2011, and is remembered for his appearances in the TV series “Hill Street Blues,” “Kojak,” and “Fraiser.” He had married twice before getting hitched to Ross, with whom he stayed for 23 years until he died. Michael is survived by two sons named Greg and Matt Michael.

Ross resides in Cardiff-by-the-Sea in Encinitas, California. In mid-2011, she served as Cardiff Centennial Celebrations’ grand marshal.

Height, Weight, and Physical Appearance

Marion is of White ethnicity and has a set of brown eyes and red hair. She weighs around 125lbs (57kgs) and is 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall.

Net Worth

Ross has accumulated a good sum and become a household name, thanks to her long and successful career as an actress. She is reputedly worth around $10 million, as of mid-2023.

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