LOS ANGELES, Calif.–A $40 million breach-of-contract lawsuit filed today on behalf of five members of the “Happy Days” cast against CBS alleges the actors are owed money for merchandise sales related to the comedy series, which ended its run 26 years ago.
Anson Williams, Don Most, Marion Ross, Erin Moran and the estate of Tom Bosley say in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that the merchandise includes comic books, T-shirts, lunch boxes, greeting cards and DVDs.
A CBS spokesman said the network has worked with the actors to try and resolve the dispute.|
The complaint gives several examples in which cast members’ images allegedly were used without compensation, including slot machines. The performers were to be paid 5 percent from the net proceeds of merchandising if a sole image was used and 2.5 percent if they were in a group, while the studio could deduct 50 percent off the top, according to the suit.
The cast of “Happy Days,” which also included Henry Winkler as Fonzie and Ron Howard as Richie Cunningham, became “iconic characters of timeless Americana,” the suit states.
“Families all across America would gather aroundt the television and be captivated by the Cunninghams and their friends’ adventures during the 1950s.”
Although the show ended nearly three decades ago after a 10-year run, it has had “a lasting effect on Americans as well as American television and is still an integral part of pop culture even today,” the complaint says.