Marion Ross: Her Acting Career, Net Worth, Happy Days Husband, Book, Kids, Age

Marion Ross (Actress)
Marion Ross (Actress)

Marion Ross is a retired American actress and voice artist. She is remembered as one of the world’s most loved TV moms for her role as Marion Cunningham in the 1970s sitcom, Happy Days. That iconic role invariably turned her into a household name worldwide.

Actress Marion Ross (Retired)
Actress Marion Ross (Retired)

As of 2020, Marion Ross has a projected net worth of $10 million. She has an acting career spanning over six decades. There’s more to Marion’s story with stories on sources of wealth, acting career, movies, awards, age, kids, and much more.. see below.

Marion Ross’ Early Life

Marion Ross was born in Watertown, Carver County, Minnesota, to the parents Gordon and Ellen Ross, natives of Saskatchewan, Canada. She is the only child of her parents. She spent her early childhood in Waconia, then the family moved to Wilmar due to her father’s transfer and later to Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Ross changed the spelling of her name from Marian to Marion at the age of 13 to make it look better on a marquee. From a very young age, she developed a passion for acting and decided to pursue it as a career.


Marion Ross moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota after her sophomore year. She did her schooling from South West High School and later she enrolled in MacPhail Center of Music and studied drama. Later, her family moved to San Diego, California and she graduated from Point Loma High School in San Diego.

Ross was admitted to San Diego State University and was named as the school’s most outstanding actress. In 1950, she graduated and performed in summer theatre in La Jolla, California. She awe-struck the director with her exceptional performance and he suggested her to try her luck in films.

Early Acting Career

In 1953, Ross made her film debut with Forever Female, starring big names, Ginger Rogers and William Holden. She was featured in several films including The Glenn Miller Story, Sabrina, Lust for Life, Lizzie, and Some Came Running.

Marion Ross In Her Younger Days
Marion Ross In Her Younger Days

Ross started her TV career by playing an Irish Maid in Life with Father (1953). She did small roles as Mary Williams in Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer and Donna Reed Show as a teacher. Marion also appeared in CBS short-lived comedy-drama Brooklyn Bridge which received critical acclaim, won a Golden Globe Award, and was nominated for Primetime Emmy Award.

Marion Ross played a variety of characters in the comedy-drama The Love Boat. She became the series regular as Emily Haywood from 1986 to 1987. In 1979, she appeared on the American TV game show Password Plus.

Happy Days

Ross played the life-changing role of her career in ABC sitcom Happy Days. The show aired for 11 long seasons from 1974 to 1984. She played Matriarch Marion Cunningham, wife of Howard Cunningham and mother of Richie, Joanie and, Chuck.

In the show, Marion is a typical homemaker who is dedicated to her family but sometimes gets tired of being a housewife and eventually rebels to get a job as a waitress. Ross remained constant throughout the series run. She also reprised the role of Marion Cunningham on the show’s spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi and Family Guy.

Marion Ross With Her Happy Days Co-stars
Marion Ross With Her Happy Days Co-stars

Marion received Primetime Emmy Award nominations for her role the show in 1979 and 1984. In 2015, she briefly appeared on MeTV to share reminiscences of her time on Happy Days.

Acting Credits

After Happy Days wrapped up, Ross was starred in The Evening Star as Rosie Dunlop. New York Critic, Janet Maslin commented that Marion did a warm, sturdy job as a devoted housekeeper. Ross was nominated for Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress for her dazzling performance.

Marion Ross got steady roles both on TV and movies. She portrayed a sick mother in The Cat, an early episode of Early Edition. She played recurring roles as a homeless woman in Touched by an Angel, The Drew Carey Story, That 70’s Show, and Gilmore Girls.

In the 2000’s, Marion appeared in Music Within, Brother & Sisters, and played Aunt Lucille in Superhero Movie. She featured in Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster as Mrs. Trowburg, and was guest-starred on two most popular medical dramas, Nurse Jackie and Grey’s Anatomy, as well as the shows Two and a Half Men, Major Crimes, and The Middle.

Ross starred alongside some of Hollywood’s most iconic actors in films like Operation Petticoat (1959) and Teacher’s Pet (1958). She appeared in dozens of older movies like The Glenn Miller Story (1954), Sabrina (1954), Lust for Life (1956), and, Honkey (1971), etc.


In 2011, Ross and other cast members of Happy Days filed a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS claiming that they had not been paid the 5% revenue from merchandising as mentioned in their contract. The actors claimed that they were owed millions of dollars by the channel. However, CBS maintained that it only owed the actors the revenue from the slot machine that bore their image, which amounted to about $9,000 for each of the cast members. On the long run, CBS eventually settled the lawsuit and each actor received the amount of $65,000.

Voice-over Works

Marion Ross has proven her flair as a voice artist on different counts. She lent her voice to several animated series during the ’90s and early 2000s. She voiced Ms. Wakefield on the Fox animated series, King of the Hill, Crane’s mother on Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Grandma SquarePants in Nickelodeon SpongeBob SquarePants and Mrs. Lopart on Handy Mandy. She also voice in the series The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries, The Generator Rex, The Wild Thornberry, and much more.

Sources Of Marion Ross’ Wealth

Marion gathered most of her affluence being as a Hollywood actress. Her affluence is currently netted at $10 million. In 1980, she bought a luxury property in Woodland Hills, California worth $285,000. She also owns a home near San Diego in the town of Cardiff. Ross has spent $600,000 on the building she calls Happy Days Farm. In 2012, she received $65,000 in the name of the settlement for a lawsuit earlier mentioned regarding Happy Days actors against CBS.

Marion Ross’ Husbands/Marriage

Marion Ross was previously married to Freeman Morse. Morse is an actor best known for his works, Sky Commando (1953), Battle of Rogue River (1954) and, The George Sanders Mystery Theatre (1957).

They tied the knot on 22 December 1951. The couple was blessed with two children, a son named Jim Meskimen and daughter named Ellen Plummer Kreamer. In the late 60s their marriage turned sour and the couple got divorced on 28 October 1969.

Marion Ross With Her Late Spouse, Actor Paul Micheal
Marion Ross With Her Late Spouse, Actor Paul Micheal

Ross found love again at the age of 60 when she met American actor Paul Michael in 1988. Their companionship lasted for 23 years till his death. Paul died of heart failure on July 8, 2011 at the age of 84.

Mario Ross Kids

Marion Ross has two children from her first marriage – Jim and Ellen. Both have followed the creative footsteps of their parents and grew up to become actors well. Her son, Jim Meskimen has appeared on How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Whose Line Is It Anyway? He and Marion both acted in The Boondocks and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. On the other hand, her daughter, Ellen was producer and writer on famous sitcom, Friends.

Marion Ross With Her Son, Actor Jim Meskimen
Marion Ross With Her Son, Actor Jim Meskimen


The legendary actress, Marion Ross has gained numerous recognitions and awards for her God-gifted talent. In 2008, Albert Lea Civic Theatre in Minnesota changed its name to Marion Ross Performing Arts Center in honor of her services to performing arts.

Additionally, Ross has received several awards for her outstanding performances including Grammy Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe Award, and New York Times Best Voice Actress Award.

Is Marion Ross Still Alive?

Marion Ross is still very much alive. The veteran actress was born on 25 October 1928. She is 92 years old at present. In 2018, Ross announced her retirement from acting, and in the same year, published her autobiography titled My Days: Happy and Otherwise which is filled with loving recollections of her life and career.

Marion Ross’ physical stats at present are as follows:

Weight71 kg

She currently resides in Encinitas, California.

Related Amazon Products

My Days: Happy and Otherwise – Marion Ross
Historic Images – 1991 Press Photo Actress Marion Ross in Brooklyn Bridge.
Marion Ross Coa Hand Signed 1976 Topps Happy Days Autograph – JSA Certified

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