First HAPPY DAYS mom MARION ROSS loses the love of her life DARK SHADOWS star PAUL MICHAEL and THEN she gets stiffed by CBS!
Ross, 82, who played cheerful TV mom Marion Cunningham, lost her longtime live-in love, actor Paul Michael, on July 8. He died of heart failure at a Woodland Hills, Calif., hospital. He was 84.
Then, she received a paltry $6,500 check from CBS after she and other “Happy Days” cast members – including Donny Most, Anson Williams, Erin Moran and the wife of the late Tom Bosley – filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the network over merchandise profits.
“I miss Paul already,” a heartbroken Marion told The ENQUIRER in an exclusive interview. Oh gosh, how I miss him.
“But I feel fortunate to have had him with me as long as I did.
“Paul was a great man and a wonderful actor. He was in ‘Dark Shadows.’ He was Johnny Romano, Gypsy King of the Vampires. He was so proud of that role.”
During her painful time of loss, a grateful Marion says her former co-stars were a great comfort.
“The entire cast called me. They’ve been wonderful – especially Ron Howard!
“He was as good as a son to me.
“You know, I call them ‘my children’ – all the kids from the show – because I feel like they really were my children. They grew up on the show. It’s been a great blessing. Even (the show’s creator) Garry Marshall called.”
Big-hearted Marion is the mom of two – actor Jim Meskimen, 51, and 53-year-old actress Ellen Meskimen. The star divorced their actor-father, Effie Meskimen, in 1968.
“With Marion’s children grown, Paul became her whole world,” said a friend. “They were a team. They adored each other and had a wonderful life.”
As for the financial dispute with CBS and the network’s relatively paltry payout, Marion remains incredulous. None of the stars got much.
“Sixty-five-hundred dollars!” she huffed. “That doesn’t seem sufficient, does it? That’s chump change!
“I could give that back to CBS if they need the money that much. In fact, I’d be happy to give it back to them. Please quote me on that. I’m appalled!”