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Erin Moran’s Mom-In-Law Told Her to Leave Trailer She Shared with Spouse after Becoming Homeless, Report Claims

Edduin Carvajal
Jan 22, 2022
10:20 A.M.
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Following her successful run in "Happy Days," Erin Moran's life was far from perfect. She struggled so much that her mom-in-law kicked her out of her trailer in Indiana.

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Born in October 1960, actress Erin Moran began working in the entertainment industry when she was just seven years old and joined the children's T.V. drama "Daktari." 

The role that shot her career into stardom was Joanie Cunningham in "Happy Days." For ten years, she was one of the most famous child actresses in the States. Her life sadly spiraled out of control after that.

Erin Moran in "Happy Days" on March 18, 1975 [left]. Moran and her husband Steven Fleischmann on May 6, 2008 in North Hollywood, California [right] | Photo: Getty Images

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MORAN'S LIFE CHANGED AFTER "HAPPY DAYS" FINALE

Between 1974 and 1984, Moran and her on-screen family, including Ron Howard, Marion Ross, and Henry Winkler, were some of the most successful actors on television. 

Moran's character was a fan favorite, so she received her spin-off series "Joanie Loves Chachi" in 1982. The sitcom followed Joanie's life as she entered adulthood, with Scott Baio playing her love interest Chachi Arcola.

Erin Moran on August 16, 2003 in Burbank, California | Photo: Getty Images

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However, the show was short-lived, and Moran once blamed the unfair schedule. She complained that the show was up against Tom Selleck's "Magnum, P.I.," and "that would shoot anybody down."

Moran's career stalled after "Happy Days" ended in 1984. She had guest roles in "The Love Boat," "Murder, She Wrote," and "Diagnosis: Murder," but she never found a steady job.

One of the actress's brothers, Tony, pointed out that she was a "tortured soul" who could never recover after "Happy Days." He added that the entertainment industry "chewed her up and spat her out." 

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FACING HOMELESSNESS WITH HER SECOND HUSBAND

Moran spent the final years of her life working in reality T.V. series, including "Celebrity Fit Club" and "Totally Tracked Down," but it was not enough to pay the bills.

During the most challenging years of her life, she received the support of her second husband, Steven Fleischmann. She married Fleischmann, a Walmart employee, in 1993, the same year she divorced her first husband, Rocky Ferguson.

Moran and her husband spent all of their settlement money without solving their housing situation.

Erin Moran in North Hollywood, California on June 23, 2001 | Photo: Getty Images

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Although Moran was married to Ferguson for six years and Fleischmann for over two decades, she never had children. Why she never became a mom remains unclear, but she dealt with depression and financial issues. 

In 2009, the former child star had plans to publish an autobiography titled "Happy Days, Depressing Nights," but it never came about.

By 2010, Moran and Fleischmann were struggling so much that they sold their house in Palmdale, California. They began living in a trailer with Fleischmann's mother in Indiana shortly after.

Erin Moran poses for Walt Disney Television in 1983 | Photo: Getty Images

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The following year, Moran, three of her "Happy Days" co-stars (Ross, Anson Williams, and Don Most), and Tom Bosley's wife sued CBS in a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit. 

CBS, the network that owns the show's rights, allegedly owed them money from merchandise sales. All parties reached an agreement, and each actor received only $65,000 in 2012.

Moran and her husband spent all of their settlement money without solving their housing situation. Later that year, Moran's mother-in-law reportedly kicked her out after coming home drunk. She was spotted outside motels in southern Indiana before eventually becoming homeless. 

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Erin Moran on June 18, 2009 in North Hollywood, California | Photo: Getty Images

DYING POOR AND HOLDING HER HUSBAND'S HAND

On April 22, 2017, Moran passed away at 56. She died in the Berkshire Pointe trailer park in Indiana, where she lived with Fleischmann and his mother. It is fair to say that Moran and her mom-in-law made amends after being kicked out in 2012.

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The Harrison County Sheriff's Department and Coroner's Office revealed they didn't find illegal narcotics at the residence and added that she died due to complications of stage 4 cancer.

Still, misconceptions about her passing were everywhere, so her husband posted a letter on Baio's Facebook page to shed light on her illness and final moments. 

Erin Moran in New Jersey, on October 28, 2006 | Photo: Getty Images

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Fleischmann explained that a few days after celebrating their anniversary in November 2016, Moran woke up and saw a small bloodstain on her pillowcase. She thought she had bitten her tongue and didn't pay much attention to it. 

The bloodstains got bigger the following days, and they noticed it was coming from her tonsil. She got it checked, doctors ordered a biopsy, and it returned positive for squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.

"I laid down next to her held her right hand in my left."

Erin Moran and Steve Fleischmann in Hollywood on June 19, 2007 | Photo: Getty Images

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Moran started chemotherapy and radiation right away – five days a week of radiation and one of chemo – but it was not enough to save her life. Fleishmann added that the Norton Cancer Institute never told them how bad her cancer was.

However, the coroner said it was "really bad." They discovered her cancer had spread to her spleen, but her brain was also infected, and she had fluid in her lungs.

The coroner concluded that Moran would not have made it even if she got antibiotics and professional help in a hospital. Fleischmann also said Moran couldn't even speak, eat, or drink by February 2017.

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He had to feed her six to eight times a day through a feeding tube. Still, she was "happy and active" and would text her friends on the phone.

Moran's condition worsened on April 21, 2017. She had trouble breathing when she woke up on the 22nd. Fleishmann went to the store to get something from her, and she was still alive and watching T.V. when he returned. He added

"I laid down next to her held her right hand in my left. I feel asleep woke up about an hour later still holding her hand and she was gone. She was just gone" [sic].

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Some of Moran's colleagues shared tributes online following her death. Howard wrote that he would never forget her making scenes better in "Happy Days" and lighting up T.V. screens. 

Winkler said Moran finally found the peace she wanted on Earth. According to the Daily Mail, Moran was a heavy smoker with a history of alcohol and substance abuse, but she had been sober and "in a good place" for years. Rest in peace, legend.

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