Happy Days: Not So Happy
The cast of Happy Days is suing CBS over unpaid merchandising revenue, saying the network has a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy when it comes to money owed.
Four cast members of the iconic hit sitcom Happy Days are suing CBS for $10 million over what they say is years of unpaid merchandising revenue. Potsie, Joanie, Mrs. C and Ralph want their money!
Anson Williams, Marion Ross, Don Most and Erin Moran, as well as the widow of the late Tom Bosley, say that according to their Happy Days contracts, CBS owes them crazy cash for using their likenesses on everything from lunch boxes to casino slot machines.
The actors were to be paid "5 percent of 100 percent of net proceeds, to be reduced to 2 1/2 of 100 percent if used in conjunction with name, voice, likeness or endorsement of other(s)," whenever their "name, voice, likeness or endorsement was used in connection with merchandising rights," according to the suit.
Problem? One actor hasn't received a check in more than ten years, and some have never been paid -- despite the fact that two years ago a huge line of Happy Days slot machines showed up in casinos around the world.
"Friends were saying to Marion Ross, 'Hey I just saw your face on a slot machine, you must be cleaning up,'" said John Pfeiffer, an attorney for the actors. "And she said, 'I don't know anything about it.'"
In fact, poor Mrs. C actually lost her house to foreclosure -- and Erin Moran is in the middle of losing hers, too.
"Happy Days epitomizes what is best in America with the Cunningham family exemplifying the best of what a family can be," the lawsuit said. "As will be proven at trial, defendants' actions epitomize what is worst in Corporate America."
Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz, and director Ron Howard, who played Richie Cunningham, are not part of the lawsuit. According to Pfeiffer, Winkler is pretty much the only one who has gotten paid, and Howard has other fish to fry. "My guess is that this is off his radar screen," Pfeiffer said.
"We agree that funds are owed to the actors and have been working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue," the company's consumer products unit said in a statement.
Kinda like that friend who owes you money and doesn't pay you back until you send someone to break his legs. Or is that only on Mob Wives?