This Walmart Employee Is Child Star’s Spouse – She Died Homeless in His Arms

This woman’s career in the entertainment industry skyrocketed after her outstanding performance in “Happy Days.”
However, a few years later, she became destitute and homeless and without children.
She luckily died in the loving arms of her second husband.
This American actress, born in Burbank on October 18, 1960, was among the most recognized Hollywood stars in the ’70s. She graced the screen with multiple appearances, but her stint on the 1974 television sitcom “Happy Days” made her very popular.

Erin Moran in a gallery photo from the "Happy Days" season 2 on July 10, 1975 | Source: Getty Images

In the series of eleven seasons, she took on the role of Joanie Cunningham, featuring alongside some of Hollywood’s best, including Henry Wrinkler, Ben Howard, Don Most, Marion Ross, Tom Bosley, Anson Williams, and many others. Let’s look at what happened to the cast during and after the sitcom ended.

Fame and Millions
“Happy Days” aired for a decade before it ended in 1984. The show brought the above-listed actors into the spotlight. However, it also paved the way financially for them. Reports from IMDb revealed that Most earned about $12,500 per episode.

After the show ended, Most would become wealthy A-listers alongside a few of his co-stars. As of December 2021, Most was said to be worth two million dollars, Williams $1.8 million, Ross $10 million, Winkler $30 million, and Howard $160 million.

Moran’s Rocky Relationship with Ferguson
While her co-stars enjoyed life after “Happy Days,” Erin Marie Moran was not left out. Her accomplishments encompassed not only her professional but her personal life.

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

A few years after the show ended, the late actress tied the knot for the first time with Rocky Ferguson — a marriage that remained unhealthy until it ended. In 2007, Moran opened up about the union and how unhappy she was.

While most wives are serenaded with love, the actress’s time with her ex-husband was filled with pressure. Moran told People that Ferguson wanted her to be “unrecognizable” to her fans, with her adding:

“He wanted me to lie in who I was, and if anyone recognized me to say no, I wasn’t. And that’s the pressure he put on me.”

Divorce and Wedding Bells
With a marriage as loveless as theirs, it was only a matter of time before the duo separated and finally called it quits in 1993. Shortly after their divorce, Moran found love again in the arms of a Walmart employee, Steve Fleischmann.

Erin Moran at the Halloween Extravaganza in New Jersey, on October 28, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

The duo first met on April 22, 1992, and married on November 23, 1993. Moran and Fleischmann stayed married for twenty years, and until the former’s demise, they never had any children.

Although the couple’s marriage seemed perfect, rumors in 2013 proved otherwise. It was alleged that the actress wanted to split from her husband due to her sexuality. A source also claimed that Moran was gay.

Erin Moran and Michael Howard at the opening of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" on February 24, 1981, in New York City | Source: Getty Images
It was said that the actress drank too much at a gathering and was spotted making out with one of her female friends. According to the source, Fleischmann was infuriated by Moran’s actions, which led to a verbal altercation.

Erin Moran and Steve Fleischmann during the LG Mobile TV Party in Hollywood on June 19, 2007 | Source: Getty Images

The allegations further noted that the actress stormed back to the bar and mocked her husband for working at Walmart. While these claims made headlines then, none of them is proven true.

Although Moran was childless, she died peacefully in her husband’s arms.
Moran’s Brother Talks about His Late Sister
Moran’s life was plagued with tragic occurrences in the latter years of her second marriage. The actress was poor, a substance abuser, and an alcoholic.

Erin Moran at the launch party for DeeDee Bigelow's episode on

Then, in 2017, she died in a trailer park without any money. Following her demise, the actress’s brother spoke to The Sun about the tragic life of his sister. He revealed to the outlet:

“Erin was a tortured soul who never recovered after ‘Happy Days.’ Hollywood chewed her up and spat her out.”

Erin Moran at the 4th Annual LA Jewish Film Festival Opening Night Gala Event on April 23, 2009, in Beverly Hills, California | Source: Getty Images

The star’s brother, Tony, also talked about Moran’s health and how she hid it from her siblings. He said he did not realize his sister was sick, and when he found out about her health and death, he cried like a baby. Tony could not believe she was gone.

How Did Moran and Her Husband Become Poor and Homeless?
The story of how the once-great Moran and her husband became paupers remains surprising to many people. Some fans remain oblivious to what happened to the actress and her man. Here’s what happened:

After Moran and Ferguson’s marriage ended, the actress squandered her settlement money. She began experiencing personal and financial struggles, which did not end, even after her marriage to Fleischmann.

Things became worse for the duo, and in 2010, they were forced to sell their home in Palmdale, California. They then moved in with Fleischmann’s mother, who lived in a trailer park in Indiana.

Erin Moran and Steve Fleischman at the Ringling Brothers Circus Variety Club Children's Benefit on August 7, 1997 | Source: Getty Images

However, things became rougher than they were, and two years after their move, Moran and her husband became homeless. The actress was spotted moving from one cheap hotel to another in southern Indiana.

Dying in Her Beloved’s Arms
Moran never recovered from the financial problems until her demise. She was confirmed dead on April 22, 2017, after being found unresponsive in her home in Indiana. According to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, she died due to stage four cancer.

Although Moran was childless, she died peacefully in her husband’s arms. Fleischmann relayed that the coroner informed him that his wife would not have stayed alive, even if she was in the hospital, pumped with antibiotics.

So, he thought it was best that Erin Moran stayed with him and died in her sleep. On January 25, 2017, days after the actress’s death, her “Joanie Loves Chachi” co-star Scott Baio shared an open letter from the late star’s husband on Facebook, which detailed how Moran’s health deteriorated.

DeeDee Bigelow, Steven Fleischmann, and Erin Moran at an LG Mobile party in 2007 | Source: Getty Images

Fleischmann noted how his wife felt fine on their wedding anniversary on November 23, 2016, but four or five days later, she woke up with a dime-sized blood stain on her pillowcase. She initially thought she’d bitten her tongue in her sleep.

However, days later, there was a more significant blood stain, and four days into December, there was more blood. The couple eventually went to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist who got a biopsy done, and it came back showing that Moran had squamous cell carcinoma.

Chemotherapy, on Thursdays, and radiation, five days weekly, began, but things got worse quickly. The celebrity couldn’t speak, eat, or drink by mid-February and had a feeding tube implant put in to feed her six to eight times daily, with Fleischmann adding:

“She was still happy, she was active, she texted people on her phone all day.”

Steven Fleischmann and Erin Moran in Hollywood in 2008 | Source: Getty Images

By the 21st, she started struggling to breathe, and the following day, she wasn’t feeling very well. After going to get some Kleenex from the store, he found her watching television in bed, and Fleischmann lay next to her, not knowing how bad her diagnosis was.

He held her right hand with his left, and they fell asleep. One hour later, he woke up to Moran’s dead body by his side. The actress’s husband said the cancer had spread to her spleen.

In addition, Moran had lots of fluid in her lungs, and her brain was infected. The “Happy Days” actress will always be remembered for her time and impact on the movie industry.

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