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Marion Ross (1928)

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  Summary  

Marion Ross is an American actress best known for her role as Marion Cunningham on the television series Happy Days from 1974 to 1984.

  Biography  

 early life
Born Marian Ross in Watertown, Minnesota, she lived in Waconia and then moved to Willmar and eventually to Albert Lea, Minnesota. At the age of 13, she changed the spelling of her name from "Marian" to "Marion" because she thought it would look better on a marquee. After completing her sophomore year in high school, she moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and worked as an au pair while studying drama at the MacPhail Center for the Arts, and attending Southwest High School. A year later, her family moved to San Diego, California. She graduated from Point Loma High School in San Diego.

Ross enrolled in San Diego State University, where she was named the school's most outstanding actress. After graduation in 1950, she performed in summer theater in La Jolla, California. The director was impressed by her talent, and recommended that she try for work in films.

 career
Ross made her 1953 film debut in Forever Female, starring Ginger Rogers and William Holden. She found steady work in film, appearing in The Glenn Miller Story , Sabrina , Teacher's Pet , and Operation Petticoat .

Her career on television also began in 1953, when she played the Irish maid on the series Life With Father for two years. Her list of credits spans the history of classic TV, from The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Steve Canyon, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, Father Knows Best, The Outer Limits, The Brothers Brannagan , The Eleventh Hour, Route 66, Hawaii Five-O, The Brady Bunch, Love Boat, and Night Court. In the 1961-62 season, she played Gertrude Berg's 33-year-old daughter, Susan Green, in CBS's sitcom Mrs. G. Goes to College. The Fugitive Ross also had an uncredited and non-speaking role as one of the hapless passengers on board Trans Global Flight #1 in the 1970 movie Airport. In 1970 Marion played a fellow computer scientist opposite Eric Braeden in the sci-fi thriller Colossus: The Forbin Project.


Ross's best known role is in the sitcom Happy Days, which aired for eleven seasons on ABC, from 1974 to 1984. She portrayed endearing matriarch Marion Cunningham, mother of Richie, Chuck, and Joanie. She later starred in the short-lived but critically acclaimed drama—infused with a healthy dose of humor—Brooklyn Bridge,which ran on CBS from 1991 to 1993. Despite lasting only two seasons, the series won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Emmy Award following its first season. With Ross in the lead role, even though the series was created and executive-produced by Gary David Goldberg and was substantially based on his early life, this "drama" won its Golden Globe and received its Emmy nomination in the comedy/musical category.

Ross also played a part in CBS's Touched by an Angel as a homeless woman who talked about the JFK conspiracy, and was in the final two episodes that closed out the series. In 1996, Ross starred as Rosie Dunlop opposite Shirley MacLaine in the Terms of Endearment sequel The Evening Star. Additionally, Ross played a secretly ill mother Eunice Fadiman in "The Cat", an episode of Early Edition that first aired on April 13, 1997.

Ross acted on Broadway and on film, but she preferred television. In recent years, she played recurring roles as Drew Carey's mother on The Drew Carey Show ; as evil Bernice Forman on That '70s Show; and as Lorelai "Trix" Gilmore and Marylin on Gilmore Girls. She also frequently appeared on Hollywood Squares and did voiceover work as Grandma SquarePants on SpongeBob SquarePants and Mrs. Lopart on the Disney Junior Series Handy Manny.

In an episode of the ABC drama Brothers & Sisters that aired in January 2007, she guest-starred as Ida, the not-so-loving mother of Nora and Saul, making an unwelcome visit to celebrate a milestone in her daughter's life. In April 2010, she returned for a guest appearance in the series' fourth season. In an episode that aired April 10, 2011, on ABC, her character dies of a heart attack.

On June 7, 2008, the Albert Lea Civic Theater in Albert Lea, Minnesota changed its name to the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center.

In April 2010, Ross guest-starred in Nurse Jackie as a homeless woman with dementia, and on May 13, 2010 she guest-starred in Grey's Anatomy as Betty Donahue. Also in 2010 she appeared in the Cartoon Network movie Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster as Mrs. Trowburg, along with former Happy Days co-star Ted McGinley.

 personal life
Ross lived in Los Angeles, California with actor until his death on July, 8, 2011. Her two adult children also work in entertainment: son Jim Meskimen's credits include How the Grinch Stole Christmas and appearances on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and daughter Ellen Plummer was a writer/producer on Friends.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Marion Ross", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.