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'Happy Days' Cast Sues For $10 Million Over Merchandise Sales

Four members of the 'Happy Days' cast, along with the estate of the late Tom Bosley, are suing CBS for not giving them a share of the money made in sales of DVDs, lunch boxes, board games and other merchandises related to the television show.

The suit was brought to Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday by Anson Williams, Marion Ross, Don Most, Erin Moran and Patricia Bosley, wife the late Tom Bosley.

Ron Howard, who played Richie Cunningham, and Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz, are not part of the lawsuit.

"The issue is the five cast members of Happy Days were not paid for the royalties for their name and likeness," says, their lawyer, Jon Pfeiffer. "That being the use of their picture, use of their name in slot machines, in games, in greeting cards, in t-shirts, anything where you saw a Happy Days face of a character, they were not paid for that."

The suit claims CBS cheated them out of more than $10 million in revenue from the sale of products featuring their images. They say CBS had guaranteed 5 percent of proceeds from sales would be shared with the cast, however, they've now been told no money is owed to them.

"They made a promise to pay, they broke their promise -- that's breach of contract," adds Pfeiffer. "They made a promise to pay, they purposefully didn't pay, they broke their promise -- the fraud. And here we have iconic actors. I mean, I grew up watching these people. And yet they got stiffed."

"They've adopted a 'don't ask, don't pay' policy," the suit says. "If you don't ask, then we don't pay. Happy Days epitomizes what is best in America but CBS and Paramount epitomize what is worst in corporate America, exemplifying the worst business practices."

Now that they've been taken to court, CBS says it intends to honor its obligation.

"We agree that funds are owed to the actors and have been working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue," the company says in a statement.

Documents sent to the actors before the suit was filed show CBS has said it only owes them between $8,500 and $9,000 each for the last four years. The actors argue they are owed millions of dollars so it may be some time yet before this is resolved.

April 20, 2011 |

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