"Happy Days" actors sue over merchandising revenue

Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:20pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actors from the TV comedy "Happy Days" filed a $10 million lawsuit against CBS and Paramount on Tuesday over profits from merchandising on everything from casino slot machines to T-shirts.

Anson Williams, Marion Ross, Don Most and Erin Moran -- who all appeared on the 1974-1984 show -- and Patricia Bosley, the widow of actor Tom Bosley, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles, charging fraud and breach of contract.

Stars Henry Winkler (the Fonz) and Ron Howard, who played wholesome 1950s teen Richie Cunningham, are not part of the legal action.

Attorney Jon Pfeiffer said that except for a payment to Moran of over $600 made more than 10 years ago, the other actors claim they have not received any share of CBS profits from merchandising deals.

The actors hired Pfeiffer last year after they heard about "Happy Days" casino slot machines that used their images. They also claim their images are used on "Happy Days" lunch boxes, T-shirts, board games, greeting cards and glasses.

"CBS has adopted a don't ask, don't pay policy," Pfeiffer told Reuters. "You don't ask, we don't pay, and the lawsuit is intended to remind them they have an obligation to pay."

The actors signed contracts entitling them to between 2.5 percent and 5 percent of net proceeds from merchandise with their image on it, according to the lawsuit.

The suit alleges that the actors and Patricia Bosley are collectively entitled to $10 million in unpaid merchandising profits from the show.   Continued...

<p>Actresses Erin Moran (L) and Marion Ross from the TV sitcom "Happy Days" arrive for "A Father's Day Salute to TV Dads" event hosted by the Academy of Television Arts &amp; Sciences in Los Angeles, California in this June 18, 2009 file photo. Moran, Ross and co stars Anson Williams and Don Most, along with the widow of actor Tom Bosley, filed a $10 million suit against CBS and Paramount on April 19, 2011 over profits from merchandising deals they claim to be owed on, from casino slot machines to T-shirts, according to news reports. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files</p>