T hey call her
M rs.Center Center enter : Marion Ross as Mrs. C with her
Happy Days clan; Above: With on- and
offstage significant other, Paul Michael,
in the stage play The Last Romance.
MARK BALTZLE Y
Member since: 1998
Member at: Canoga Park, California
Career highlights: First TV role—Life
M arionRossiseveryone”’smom with Father (1953); longest run—Happy
Days (1974–1984); awards—Five Emmy
nominations, one Golden Globe nomina-
By Steve Fisher tion, two Viewers for Quality Television
wins (Best Actress in a Quality Comedy
SOME PEOPLE KNOW Costco member she doesn’t ask her publicist to do it; she takes
Marion Ross as Sally Field’s mother on ABC’s care of it herself.
Series for Brooklyn Bridge (1991))
Brothers & Sisters. Others know her as the Comments about Costco: “I love Costco.
snooty WASP-y grandmother on Gilmore Girls One day, I received a big residual check
or the wise old Jewish grandmother on Brooklyn and called my 16-year-old granddaughter
Bridge. Yet, although she has appeared in more and we went to Costco. We went around
than 142 television, film and stage productions getting gifts for everyone in the family,
since her professional debut in 1953, there is took them home and wrapped them,
one iconic character for which Marion Ross has then let everyone fight over them.”
become best known: Mrs. C on Happy Days.
Advice from Mom
While some actors try to escape signature
roles, Ross embraces Mrs. C.
“I’m very proud,” she says. “Happy Days
has been very good to me. There isn’t anywhere I can go where somebody doesn’t know
me or treat me like I’m their mother.
“It’s a very dear thing. People smile at
you,” she observes. “I love that.” And in a
breath of refreshing honesty, she says, “We
[actors] got into this business because we
wanted some attention.”
Ross is not the typical Hollywood celebrity. Where many stars count on others to do
career tasks for them, Ross takes responsibility for herself. She doesn’t wait for her agent
to find her work; she picks up a phone and
seeks it. If a reporter needs art for an article,
Going, going, going
Born in October of 1928 in Albert Lea,
Minnesota, Ross shows no sign of retiring.
Her stature as one of the most beloved
moms in TV history led to her current role as
spokes-mom for Vicks’ new online campaign,
“Vicks and Mrs. C,” featuring Ross and other
famous TV mothers offering cold-care tips.
And when The Connection spoke with
Ross she was in St. Louis, performing in a new
stage play, The Last Romance, by Joe DiPietro,
written for her and her significant other, Paul
Michael, at Ross’ urging.
She explains, “We had done another play
of [DiPietro’s] and I kept calling him, saying,
‘When are you going to write a show for us?’
Finally, on Paul’s 80th birthday, he handed us
the script and said, ‘Happy birthday.’ ”
The Costco Connection
Vicks’ NyQuil and DayQuil, as well as other
cold-care products, are available at Costco
warehouses. Vick’s free “Chapters of Care”
booklet on cold care is available at www.vicks.
They are hoping to eventually take the
show to New York.
In the meantime, Ross is continuing her
duties as spokesperson for the Vicks campaign,
which runs through March, and shopping
Ross points to another connection with
Costco, mentioning that both she and Costco
CEO Jim Sinegal went to San Diego State University, then admitting, “I don’t think we were
there at the same time. I’m older than he is.”
But age won’t stop Marion Ross. She managed eight shows a week in St. Louis and was
scheduled to head to New York for her promotional work for Vicks, then back to Los Angeles
and another stint on Brothers & Sisters.
She notes, “I have a lot of energy. I’m
Here’s to more of the same, Mrs. C. C