First of all, I am so sorry that Erin went so young and I can only hope that she didn't suffer too much in her final days. She was with her husband at her side, holding hands. (As per the open letter that Steve, Erin's husband, released the other day.) She had the prettiest smile and just electrifying eyes. The tributes that came in from Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Marion Ross, Anson Williams, Don Most and Cathy Silvers were just beautiful and gracious. After his initial tweet, Scott Baio should have quit while he was ahead.
I didn't hear that entire radio interview, but from what I did hear of it - he was cold, cruel and callous. For someone to blast another person for substance abuse issues before the official cause of death had been formally announced shows a lot of ignorance, and it seems Erin only wanted a select few people to know that she had cancer - which was her right. (Anson Williams told PEOPLE that he was one of the few who knew that she was ill, but kept quiet about it per her wishes.) Now that the cause of death was proved to be from natural causes, Scott's comments make him look even more ignorant and heartless.
Good for Erin's brother for sticking up for her and blasting Scott. Maybe he'll think twice now before vilifying others before he has all the facts (but somehow I doubt it).
Here is an interview she did from 2000 when she took on the role of Aunt Bella in a regional production of Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers:
Salt Lake Tribune June 18, 2000
Former TV Teen Looks to Happier Days Ahead Onstage
By Celia R. Baker Salt Lake Tribune
Erin Moran remembers being onstage to do the live tapings of Happy Days as feeling like "a runner's high -- such a rush -- so much fun."
The bubbly teenager from the popular 1970s sitcom is 39 now and trying to get that feeling back. She is taking the brave step of acting onstage for the first time -- in Utah Musical Theater's production of "Lost in Yonkers", a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Neil Simon.
"I've always wanted to do a play," says Moran. "The play is the essence of acting."
She says she idolized her Happy Days co-star Marion Ross, an accomplished stage actress, because Ross often studied for her stage roles on the set of the TV show.
"The opportunity arose to do 'Lost in Yonkers', and I rented the movie, and was thrilled and loved it. I figured I'd better not pass the opportunity up. I'd better go for it."
Moran says there are a lot of similarities between her character, Bella, and herself. She says she was insecure and "not as quick as I am now" because of her upbringing, which "wasn't as strong as it could have been."
"The happiness and positivity beween us is very similar. There's all these wonderful colors of qualities that appealed to me and I could identify with. I was so happy to do a character onstage that was not much of a reach. It's so there for me."
Moran began working at age 6 on the TV African adventure Daktari. She was 13 when Happy Days debuted in 1974. She took time out to star in the short-lived spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi (she was romantically linked with her co-star Scott Baio), and was back on Happy Days when the show ended in 1984.
After the show ended, she disappeared from sight. She now says many of her early days were anything but happy -- but denies she had problems getting along with cast members on the Happy Days set.
Moran was the only one of the show's regulars who didn't return for a 1992 TV Happy Days reunion. At the time, she cited "personal reasons". Last week she revealed that she missed the special because she had a black eye -- inflicted by her abusive first husband. "It had nothing to do with the cast -- but the tabloids will have their way."
Moran's troubles went all the way back to her childhood, which she also characterizes as abusive. She weeps as she tells of a conciliatory birthday card sent to her by her mother. Moran says her father was mentally and physically abusive, and that her mother apologized for staying in the relationship.
She says the members of the Happy Days cast were "the best people you could ever want to be with or meet or anything. They knew it wasn't right, but they couldn't step in any further. What they did was a lot. They loved me. They liked me. They were there for me. They still are."
Despite sad memories from her personal life, Moran says growing up on camera was as much fun as it looked. "It has been wonderful since day one. It's such a blessing, and I'm grateful. I get a smile from someone's recognition of me. They'll say 'I grew up with you!' I like it. I've always liked it."
Moran's present life is shared by her second husband, whom she credits with rescuing her from her abusive past. "If it wasn't for him and God, I wouldn't be doing this play," she says.
Moran is trying to escalate her career and has had several recent roles. She says, "I would love to do a movie. I'd love to do a series or have my own show, or be part of another sitcom, or do guest appearances. I'd like to do drama -- it would be really cool. And I would do another play if it were like this, in which the character is right there."