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Actress Marion Ross publishes new memoir about her life

Actress Marion Ross publishes new memoir about her life
Actress Marion Ross will be visiting Glendale and Burbank in the coming months to promote her memoir, "My Days: Happy and Otherwise," which is about her life on and off the screen. (Photo courtesy of Harlan Boll)

Actress Marion Ross has always had an interest to learn about the beginnings of her fellow actors and actresses in the movie and television industry.

Fans of her TV character, Mrs. Cunningham, can now read about Ross’ life on and off the camera in her new memoir, “My Days: Happy and Otherwise,” which was published by Kensington Publishing Corp. and went on sale last week.

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Ross is currently promoting her book and will be visiting the Downtown Central Library in Glendale on Tuesday and the Barnes and Noble in Burbank on May 5.

When she was approached to write a memoir about herself, from her humble beginnings in Watertown, Minn. to her 11 seasons on the hit sitcom “Happy Days,” Ross’ initial answer was “no.”

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Her ties to Burbank extend through the late Garry Marshall, who created and executive produced “Happy Days.” He was the founder of the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, and the facility was renamed after him last year.

Ross said her son, actor and comedian Jim Meskimen, brought over Burbank Leader columnist David Laurell to her house one day and told her that she was going to be writing a book.

“I didn’t want to write it at all,” Ross said with a laugh. “My son tells me, ‘You’re going to write a book, mother,’ and I said, ‘I don’t think so.’”

Though she was hesitant at first, she came around to the idea, saying that she agreed to write the memoir because she liked the idea of being able to share her story about where she came from.

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Being the middle child, Ross said she sought attention and wanted to perform in Broadway plays in New York. However, those plans did not come to fruition because she and her family moved from Minnesota to San Diego after World War II.

The Southern California city wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be.

“What they had in San Diego was the [Old] Globe theater, so I still had a theater,” she said.

From there, Ross went on to appear in numerous films, such as “Teacher’s Pet,” “Forever Female” and “The Glenn Miller Story.”

She would later transition into television and landed the role of Marion Cunningham on “Happy Days,” in which she admitted that she and actor Tom Bosley, who played her husband, did not get along for the first four years of the show.

“He didn’t think I was good enough for him, I guess,” Ross said. “That was a tough period for me and a big learning curve, but I finally won him over and we became very close friends.”

Ross said she started to get into the writing process for her book as she sifted through old photographs of herself when she was a movie actress in the 1950s to behind-the-scenes photos of her and the “Happy Days” cast.

She added that her memoir is not geared toward being a tell-all or inspirational book. If there was one message she wanted her readers to take away from her book, Ross said it would be that any dream is possible if you try.

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“I was raised to believe that you can be anything that you dream,” she said. “I didn’t expect the brownies and the fairies to discover me.”

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