UPDATE: This afternoon CBS issued the following statement on the settlement with Happy Days actors Marion Ross, Erin Moran, Anson Williams, Don Most and the widow of Tom Bosley.
The case has been settled. All contractual obligations will be honored, as we had promised from the beginning. We appreciate the Court’s earlier dismissal of the far-reaching claims, which paved the way for an ordinary settlement based on contractual issues.
PREVIOUS: Just 11 days before they were to go to trial, CBS and Happy Days’ actors Marion Ross, Erin Moran, Anson Williams and Don Most, plus the widow of Tom Bosley, have reached at settlement in the actors’ merchandising lawsuit. Sources tell Deadline that the actors will receive between $60,000 and $65,000 each. The actors, who played Mrs. C., Joanie, Potsie and Ralph on Happy Days, sued CBS last year for $10 million. Henry Winkler and Ron Howard, who played the Fonz and Ritchie Cunningham on Happy Days, were not a part of the lawsuit. CBS distributes the iconic 70s TV series. The actors filed their multimillion-dollar breach of contract complaint on April 19, 2011 (read it here) after a friend told Ross about Happy Days-themed slot machines she noticed at a casino. Ross and the other actors contacted CBS about them and the use of their images on them. As it wound it’s way through the courts, the suit eventually became about the actor’s likeness on DVD boxsets. Ross, Moran, Williams and Most are … Read More »
Happy Days’ Mrs. C., Joanie, Potsie and Ralph will get their day in court July 17. Judge Elizabeth Allen White today denied a motion from CBS to dismiss a merchandise lawsuit from the actors from the iconic 1970s show. Marion Ross, Erin Moran, Anson Williams and Don Most, plus the widow of Tom Bosley, say the series’ distributor owes them money and have sued for $10 million. Henry Winkler and Ron Howard, who played the Fonz and Ritchie Cunningham on the series, are not a part of the suit. After starting off being about slot machines and fraud, the core of the case has become payments from DVD sales. Today, White ruled that she wouldn’t grant CBS’ request for summary judgment because the “defendants have not met their initial burden of showing that plaintiffs are not entitled to merchandising royalties for the use of their likeness on DVD sets sold to consumers.” The jury trial is estimated to last 10 days. A final status conference is set for July 12. Read More »
Four cast members from the 1970s comedy Happy Days — Anson Williams, Don Most, Marion Ross and Erin Moran — as well as the estate of the late Tom Bosley, today filed a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS, which owns the classic sitcom, over unpaid merchandising revenue. The actors claim that they should’ve been paid more under their contracts for the use of their likenesses on comic books, T-shirts, scrapbooks, trading cards, games, lunch boxes, dolls, toy cars, magnets, greeting cards, DVD covers and especially casino slot machines. “We agree that funds are owed to the actors and have been working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue,” CBS said in a statement to CNN.
Conspicuously missing from the complaint are the best-known Happy Days cast members: Henry Winkler, aka the Fonz; Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham); and Scott Baio (Chachi Arcola). Jon Pfeiffer, the attorney representing the Happy Days actors in the case, told The Washington Post that Winkler appears to have been properly compensated, and Baio’s likeness has not been used in merchandising to the same degree as the others. “I have not spoken to Ron Howard, but we will learn through discovery whether he has been paid,” Pfeiffer said.
The veteran actor of stage and screen has died after a brief battle with lung cancer on October 19 in Rancho Mirage. He was 83. Bosley, best known for playing the patriarch Mr. C on Happy Days, won a Tony Award for the 1959 Broadway hit Fiorello! He made his motion picture debut in Love with a Proper Stranger, which starred Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen. He costarred with Angela Lansbury in Murder She Wrote and followed with his own series vehicle, The Father Dowling Mysteries. He returned to Broadway in 1994, starring as Belle’s father in Beauty and the Beast. Bosley is survived by his wife Patricia, his brother Richard Bosley, daughter Amy Baer, who is president/CEO of CBS Films, his stepdaughters Kimberly di Bonaventura and Jamie Van Meter. And seven grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the American Cancer Society.