Howard Cunningham (Happy Days character)
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Howard C. Cunningham is a fictional character played by Tom Bosley on the 1970s sitcom Happy Days, Actor Harold Gould played the character in the pilot, which aired as an episode of the anthology series Love, American Style). He is the husband of Marion Cunningham, and the father of Chuck, Richie, and Joanie Cunningham. Originally, Gould was supposed to reprise his role on Happy Days as Howard Cunningham but wanted to commit to something else so Bosley was offered the part. Howard is one of only two characters, the other being Fonzie, to appear in all 255 episodes of Happy Days and to remain with the rest of the cast for all 11 seasons; of the two, Howard is the only one to have also appeared in the pilot.
|First appearance||"Love and the Happy Days"|
|Last appearance||"Passages Part 2"|
|Created by||Garry Marshall|
|Portrayed by||Harold Gould (pilot on Love, American Style)|
|Occupation||owner of Cunningham hardware|
|Relatives||Roger Phillips (nephew)|
Howard Cunningham was born on September 28, 1910 (it is revealed in season 3's "Howard's 45th Fiasco" that his birthday is on Confucius' birthday; the year is 1955). In Howards youth, Cunningham was a cook in the Army. In his later years, he became owner of a hardware store (Cunningham Hardware) while residing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his family. His character was written to portray Cunningham to be the stereotypical all-American 1950's father - a sage, white, Republican business owner in Middle America with traditional values. He was a member of Leopard Lodge No. 462 in Milwaukee, eventually becoming its "Grand Poobah."
- He is referred to affectionately as "Mr. C" by Richie's friends, although Ralph Malph likes to call him "Howie" at times.
- His favorite car is a DeSoto, which was the only car he ever owned.
- He was born around 1910 because he celebrated his 45th birthday in 1955 (see "Howard's 45th Fiasco" from Season 3).
- He likes to go golfing with Chachi as his caddy.
- Cunningham Hardware, Howard's hardware store, was referenced in an episode of the 1986-1993 sitcom Perfect Strangers (the show that spun-off Family Matters). A character brings out a toilet for a stunt and says that it is courtesy of "Cunningham Hardware" in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- After the pilot, "New Family in Town", was rejected by the networks, Garry Marshall liquidated it as an episode of Love, American Style to recover production costs; many failed pilots of the era were similarly salvaged. In keeping with the series' titling protocols which required each story to be called "Love and the _________", the former "New Family in Town" aired as "Love and the Happy Days".