Beliefnet
Where Hope Lives

Erin Moran, the actress who played Joanie Cunningham on the television series “Happy Days,” died in Indiana at the age of 56. According to reports, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office said that they found Moran “after receiving a call about an unresponsive female.” Authorities do not know the cause of death, but it has been speculated that the actress died of a heroin overdose. There were also stories that she suffered from depression and was homeless after being kicked out of her mother-in-law’s trailer.

Co-star Henry Winkler said, “I will always remember Erin with her sweet smile that greeted me on the very first day I walked onto the set of ‘Happy Days’ in 1974. She was only nine years old. For the next 10 years that smile never faded. Unfortunately yesterday it did. My condolences go out to her family. She will always be locked in my heart.”

Moran was living off a $65,000 lawsuit settlement that she won with “Happy Days” co-stars Marion Ross and the late Tom Bosley’s estate against CBS in 2011 for merchandising royalties.

Moran was born on October 18, 1960, in Burbank, California. She was signed to an agent at the age of five. She landed her first job in a television commercial for First Federal Bank and starred in her first film in 1968 with Debbie Reynolds. But it was in 1974 when Moran started the journey to becoming a household name as the younger sister of Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard).

“I am still being recognized as Joanie and probably will as long as “Happy Days” is playing on TV and remembered by “Happy Days fans.” It has and will always be a pleasure and an honor for me to be a part of it,” she said.

Moran also did the spin-off show “Joanie Loves Chachi” and returned for the final season of “Happy Days” in 1984. Scott Baio was her co-star on both series and Tweeted: “Many people remember Erin for her contagious smile, warm heart, and animal loving soul. I always hoped she could find peace in her life. God has you now, Erin.”

Anson Williams, who played Potsie in “Happy Days,” also shared his condolences. “Erin was a person who made everyone around her feel better. She truly cared about others first, a true angel. I will miss her so much but know that she is in God’s hands. RIP sweet angel.”

Moran left Hollywood after the show was canceled and said that she had a hard time getting work. This led to her depression as well. She did find work on “The Love Boat,” “Murder She Wrote” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.” She said: “Well, it is certainly not by choice at this time you don’t see or hear about me. This business is very unpredictable. A lot of it is luck and being in the right place at the right time.”

The actress never regained her power in Hollywood and fell on hard times after her house was foreclosed on. This is when she moved into her mother-in-law’s trailer.

Ron Howard also added: “RIP Erin. I’ll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up tv screens.”

Steelers owner and chairman Dan Rooney will and always will be an icon in Steel City. His presence is already being missed after he passed away last Thursday at the age of 84 as one of the most influential people in the NFL. Rooney experienced winning six NFL championships during his time at the helm in Pittsburgh after taking the organization over from his father, Dan Rooney in the 1960s. He built a legendary team and drafted players like Lynn Swann, John Stallworth and Mike Webster over his 50 years in the league. He won Super Bowls IX, X, XIII and XIV and earned a rightful spot into the National Football Hall of Fame in 2000.

There was more to the man than accolades as he was a leader in minority hiring. This led to the Rooney Rule, a National Football League policy that requires league teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.

“Few men have contributed as much to the National Football League as Dan Rooney,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was one of the finest men in the history of our game and it was a privilege to work alongside him for so many years. Dan’s dedication to the game, to the players and coaches, to his beloved Pittsburgh, and to Steelers fans everywhere was unparalleled. He was a role model and trusted colleague to commissioners since Bert Bell, countless NFL owners, and so many others in and out of the NFL.”

The Rooney family are quite legendary. They have been owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers since the team’s inception in 1933 after immigrating from Ireland during the 1880s. Art Rooney was the founder and owner of the team until 1988. Following his death, ownership of the franchise transferred to Art and his wife Kathleen McNulty Rooney’s oldest son, Dan Rooney, a former United States Ambassador to Ireland. In recent years, front office operations have passed from Dan Rooney to his son and current team president, Art Rooney II, according to reports.

Rooney has some famous fans who will attend this funeral. Former President Barack Obama, who appointed Rooney as ambassador to Ireland will be attending. “Michelle and I offer our condolences to the Rooney family, some of the most gracious and thoughtful people we know — even as we celebrate the life of Dan Rooney: a championship-caliber good man,” said Obama in a statement.

Born on July 20, 1932, in Pittsburgh, Rooney played football for North Catholic High School. He would take his homework on the bus with the team and started working for his father after graduating from Duquesne University in 1955. He became president in 1975 until 2003. His son Art Rooney II, then moved into that position in 2003.

“My job is to do what’s best for the organization and to make that decision regardless of what the consequences are to me personally, he said. “I take my position very seriously…what I want is an organization that can be together, one where everybody in the place has the same goal, and that is to win.”

He did and shaped people along the way. Hines Ward, a former wide receiver said. “He meant the world to us. To me personally, he helped me so much with life lessons and that’s something I’ll always cherish. I remember when I first got to Pittsburgh and I got drafted, learning the art of the handshake. When you walked into Three Rivers, through the building, you would say hi Mr. Rooney. He was little in size, but he had a strong grip and handshake. I remember he was like ‘Shake my hand, look me in the face everytime I see you.’ He taught me the art of the handshake and it’s something I passed on to my son.”

Rooney’s legacy will continue to live proud and strong.

On October 18th, 1926, the world gained a man named Chuck Berry—a man who would go on to be one of the great pioneers of music, a fiery soul whom Bob Dylan once called “the Shakespeare of Rock ‘n’ Roll”. And on Saturday, March 18th of 2017, the world lost him: Berry passed away in his home near Wentzville, Mo. at the age of 90.

Berry was a man who, as the New York Times fittingly describes, “Understood what the kids wanted before they knew themselves.” Interested in music from an early age, Berry gave his first public performance while still in high school, never letting up until he found himself with a No. 1 on the R&B charts with “Maybellene,” which he took to executives at Chess Records in 1955.

This song, one that told a story through a blend of sounds that pulled from both blues and country music, is widely considered to be the beginning of rock ‘n’ roll.

Berry wasted no time in following up with a barrage of still-famous singles between 1955 and 1958, such as “Roll Over, Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” and “Johnny B. Goode” that found success with every demographic—Berry described his compositions as being made “…for people who would buy them. No color, no ethnic, no political—I don’t want that, never did.”

Berry’s biggest hit came in 1972, with the interestingly-titled “My Ding-a-Ling,” which was simultaneously his first and only No. 1 pop single, and the last hit of his career. With his subsequent albums declining in popularity, Berry’s later works failed to sell well. Despite this, the musician stayed active well into the 1990s.

It is always unconventional people who create the greatest change, and Berry’s life was no different—his music shrugged off racial and class divides, satirized icons, and combined sounds in a way that had never been done before. His music was fun, young, and irreverent—it was the soul of rock ‘n’ roll.

Because of his status as the most influential musician of his genre, Berry received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1985, and a year later became the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s first member.

But perhaps the best measure of Berry’s greatness can be seen in his legacy. Bands from all over the world, including the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and the Beach Boys have both covered and have been heavily influenced by Berry’s sound and style.

Rolling Stones band member Keith Richards once said that “It’s very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry ‘cause I’ve lifted every lick he ever played. This is the man that started it all!”

So great was Berry’s importance to the cultural landscape of his time that his music was sent out on a voyage to other worlds—“Johnny B. Goode” was included on golden records aboard the Voyager I and II spacecraft which were launched in 1977 in hopes of introducing human culture to alien species.

Berry is survived by his wife of 68 years, Themetta, whom he affectionately called Toddy. Mere months before his death, Berry announced plans to release a new album dedicated to Themetta, saying in an 2016 press release that “This record is dedicated to my beloved Toddy. My darlin’, I’m growing old! I’ve worked on this record for a long time. Now I can hang up my shoes!”

Berry will be remembered as one of the founders of rock ‘n’ roll, and a musician who defined the sound of a generation, and influenced many, many more.

You can finally hang up those shoes, Mr. Berry. You’ve earned a good rest.

The entertainment industry was dealt a blow.

In a shocking announcement that saddened many, actor Bill Paxton died at the age of 61 on Saturday.

“It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” a family representative said in a statement of the Paxton, Fort Worth, TX native.

“A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”

The Hollywood community is in shock.

“Lou Diamond Phillips said he was”stunned & saddened at the passing of Bill Paxton. I just worked with him recently. A warm and beautiful soul and a talented actor. RIP.”

In a career that spanned four decades, Paxton played in many hits that included “Titanic,” “Apollo 13,” “Terminator” and “Aliens.” He is known for his show in the HBO series “Big Love” where he received Golden Globe nominations. He starred as Randolph McCoy in the mini-series “Hatfields & McCoys” where he received Emmy Nominations as well.

Recently Paxton, filmed 13 episodes of the television show “Training Day” aired on Thursday nights. The show is a spinoff from the 2001 film starring Denzel Washington, who played an embattled cop. According to reports, the show will continue to air.

WBTV and CBS released a joined statement on Paxton’s passing:

“We are shocked and deeply saddened this morning by the news of Bill Paxton’s passing. Bill was, of course, a gifted and popular actor with so many memorable roles in film and television. His colleagues at CBS and Warner Bros. Television will also remember a guy who lit up every room with infectious charm, energy and warmth, and as a great storyteller who loved to share entertaining anecdotes and stories about his work. All of us here offer our deepest sympathy to his wife, Louise, and his two children.”

Here are some warm thoughts from Paxton’s Hollywood friends. Director James Cameron said after 36 years of friendship that he will be “profoundly missed.”

Antoine Fuqua is a director and Tweeted:

“Bill was someone whose goodness and compassion was evident from the moment you met him. He was an immense talent and the type of guy you wanted to spend as much time with both in front of, and behind, the camera. My heartfelt condolences to his family.”

The common thread among colleagues was that Paxton was not the typical Hollywood type. He was lovely and kind human. Peter Henry Fonda wrote: “My friend Bill Paxton got cast in the Big Picture yesterday.I always enjoyed being in his company. He was a gracious man.Wrapped 2 soon man.”