Linda Purl divorced Desi Arnaz Jr. right before ''Going Steady'' with the Fonz

Their marriage only lasted a year. A year later, Fonzie helped the Happy Days beauty move on.

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When Desi Arnaz Jr. started dating as a teenager, the son of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz was frequently found with gorgeous models and TV stars on his arm.

Perhaps most famously, he dated Patty Duke when he was 17 and she was 23, an age difference his mother Lucy publicly disapproved of.

After Desi Jr. split from Duke, he next courted Liza Minnelli, whom Lucy also did not see as the best influence on her son.

It wasn't until Desi married Linda Purl in 1979 that he won his mom's approval.

Their wedding took place on a Sunday at a Los Angeles temple, with no celebrities surrounding them, except the ones they counted as their closest friends and relatives.

Purl today is likely best known to classic TV fans for playing Ashley Pfister, Fonzie's soulmate on Happy Days, a role she took on in 1982. But when she married Desi Jr., she had only performed in a few guest roles, still waiting for her big break as an actor.

It's likely Lucy liked this quieter star on her son’s arm, but for Desi Jr., their relationship seemed to start going downhill the moment that Purl got more involved with the Happy Days gang.

In 1980, Ron Howard and Don Most were promoting what The Austin American-Statesman called their "pet project," a movie called Leo and Loree.

In this movie, likely due to appearing several times on Happy Days in 1974, Purl was cast to play Most's love interest, the Loree to his Leo.

Just three months into her marriage to Desi Jr., when it came time to tour to promote the movie, Purl brought her new hubby along.

A reporter noted Desi's attendance at one media event, saying he looked "bored" and "made a choking noise" when someone asked Most if Happy Days might last as long as I Love Lucy.

It would seem that Purl's husband didn't love spending time with the Happy Days gang as much as his wife did, and by December 1980, within one year of their marriage, the pair called it quits.

When Desi Jr. married Purl, he had moved into her house, a residence formerly owned by Neil Diamond. After their divorce, Purl continued living there, unfazed by memories she said were locked up everywhere around her house.

She told The Gannette News Service in 1982 that their marriage ended on friendly terms.

Only lasting a year, her marriage didn't have the staying power that Happy Days had, and in its 10th season, Purl would finally get the big acting break she sought by joining the top sitcom's cast.

As Ashley Pfister, she became the first girl whom the girl-crazy Fonzie asks to go steady.

In 1980, Purl had said for her to get involved in a movie or TV show, "The topic has to be something I could be interested in, or I don't think I'd want to go into it."

Her interest in Happy Days had something to do with the fashion.

"It's been kind of fun to wear that ’60s clothing – the pointy shoes, the bangs and falls, the white lipstick," she told The Press-Gazette.

But it probably had more to do with the people she got to share scenes with and the lovable characters they played.

"I've always liked doing comedy," Purl said of joining the Happy Days cast. "Ultimately, you're still dealing with real people in a real situation."

We’re glad since things didn’t work out with Desi Jr., she had Fonzie's arms to fall into.

Although Purl and Arnaz separated amicably, they both took time to heal, with both waiting more than seven years before remarrying.

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HopeDuchaine 32 months ago
I love Linda Purl. She gives an wholesome quality to her acting.
bagandwallyfan52 32 months ago
Who SHOULD have been invited
To the Weddings of Chachi and
Joanie and Richie and Lori Beth
But wasn't there .
Does anyone out there know
WHO I am referring to?
Maybe Rod SERLING took
This character to either The
Twilight one the Phantom ZONE
Also SPIKE should have been at of
Joanie and Chachi.
That would prove that
Spike and Chachi were not
The same character on Happy Days.
bagandwallyfan52 32 months ago
I have seen the Happy Days
Lone Ranger (John Hart) episode
Of Happy Days several times and Fonzie and Cynthia Brannigan (Marla Pennington)
Both agreed to go steady
Several months before Fonzie
And Aagley Pfister (Linda Purl )
Agreed to go steady
The writers of that article about
Fonzie and Ashley -The METV
Article- either forgot or never
Knew that Fonzie and Cynthia
Agreed to go steady months
Before Fonzie and Ashley agreed
To go steady and the writers
Of Happy Days forgot about
Fonzie and Cynthia agreeing to
Go steady BEFORE Fonzie and Ashley agreed to go steady.
Also I think that Gloria (Linda
Purl) and Lori Beth Allen
(Ltnda Goodfriend) and
Cindy Shellenberger Mary
Cross were all wonderful girlfriends for Richie
Cunningham (Ron Howard).
Also just because some TV
Sources don't list a character
As being in episodes of Happy Days does Not mean that the
Character was bot. On the
Show.Most TV sources don't
List the character of Animal
Being a guest at Fonzie's party
For Ashley but I just saw that
Episode recently and there is
A character named Animal in
That episode but the name of who played Animal
Is not listed in the closing credits of Happy Days
Animal in Going Steady
And Animal in the Happy Days episode Give The Band A Hand
Are 2 different characters with
The same nickname just like
There were 2 different characters on Happy Days called
Moose(Barry Greenberg was not
The same Moose that Clint Howard played in Bringing Up
Spike .Anyone who has seen
Both Happy Days episodes
Give The Band A Hand and
Going Steady can see that the
2 different actors who played
2 different characters with the
Nickname Animal are Not the
Same person.
Richard Rasoff who played
Animal in The Happy Days episode Give The Band A Hand
Looks nothing like the guy
Who played Animal in Going Steady.One METV viewer
Said that it didn't make sense
That Richard Rasoff would be.credited as playing Animal
In Five The Band A Hand but
Not list Richard Rasoff as playing Animal in Going Steady
It makes perfect sense that
Richard Rasoff is not listed as
Playing Animal in going steady episode of Happy Days because.a different actor playing
A different Animal played Animal. Whoever said that
Fonzie and Cynthia did not agree to go steady several months before Fonzie and Ashley agreed to go steady
Was wrong and I was right.
I am a Happy Days expert
And I Have been watching
Happy Days since it first
Came on the air on ABC in
IMDB and Wikipedia did
Not list Animal as being
In the episode of Happy Days called Going Steady
But the character of Animal is a party guest at.Fonzie's party for Ashley
The actor who played Animal had one line ONLY
"Animal Happy!!
It's too bad that the closing credits of Happy Days IMBD and Wikipedia
Do Not list the name of the
Actor who played Animal in
Going Steady.
Andybandit 33 months ago
I had no clue she was married to Desi Arnaz Jr. I like her with Patrick Duffy.
Leslye 33 months ago
Sorry it was March 1980. Little trivia Jerry Paris directed Leo & Lorre. I did go see it at the theatre at the time- ok but not great.
Leslye 33 months ago
I saw them ( Ron Howard, Don Most and Linda Purl ) when they came here (Austin) in March 1979 to promote Leo and Lorre. They appeared on a local noon show on our CBS affiliate. I was a freshman in college and my Mom and I went to be in the audience. They were all very nice ( especially Ron) I cherish Ron’s autograph I got that day. Desi jr wouldn’t sign autographs because he said he was there to support Linda. It was a fun experience that day!
bagandwallyfan52 33 months ago
I just watched the Fonzie Meets
The Lone Ranger episode of Happy Days on my DVR and
Fonzie and Cynthia Brannigan
(Marla Pennington) DID AGREE
And FONZIE agreed to go steady
So the writers of Happy Days
Did Forget and the writer of
The Ashley and Fonzie Article
Also forgot that Cynthia and
Fonzie did agree to go steady
A few months BEFORE Ashley
And FONZIE agreed to go steady.
Why couldn't the writers and
Producer Garry Marshall have
Kept Cynthia Brannigan as a
New regular character and new
Girlfriend for Fonzie?
When Marla Pennington played
Cynthia Brannigan on Happy
Days maybe the writers hadn't
Decided whether to keep
Cynthia Brannigan on Happy Days or not and maybe the
Writers of Happy Days didn't
Know when Cynthia Brannigan. Was on Happy Days that they
Were going to create the new
Character of Ashley Pfoz5er.
Maybe Marla Pennington AKA
Cynthia Brannigan was going
To be Fonzie's new girlfriend but
Marla Pennington decided to
Leave Happy Days.
Maybe the writers of Happy Days were going to make
Cynthia Brannigan a.regular
New girlfriend and character
For Fonzie's New Love Interest
But the writers could have
Changed their mind and
Replaced Cynthia Brannigan
With Ashley Pfister.
Back in 1980 the writers and
Producers of Happy Days planned to bring Chuck Cunningham back on the show
But a short time later the
Writers and producers of
Happy.Days changed their
Minds so instead of bringing
Chuck Cunningham back to
Happy Days the writers decided
To create the new character
Roger Phillips(Ted McGinley).
Maybe Garry Marshall asked
Actors Gavan O Herlihy and Randolph Roberts if either
One of them would like to play
Chuck Cunningham again but
Maybe Gavan and Randolph
Either were not available or
Interested in.playing CC again.
So instead of hiring a new
Actor to play Chuck Cunningham the writers decided
To create the new character
Roger Phillips.
I read thay article on the internet that back in 1980
The writers of Happy Days planned on returning Chuck
To Happy Days.
Ric Carrott was the first actor
To play Chuck Cunningham on
The Love American Style episode Love And The Happy Days.
Or maybe those were the decisions Gary Marshall made and the writers were following his decision.
Or the writers wrote the story lines and Gary Marshall liked the changes.
The story lines and scripts are set in history. Maybe's are just conjecture . But not conjecture on G.M or the writers part.
bagandwallyfan52 33 months ago
I wonder why the writers of Happy Days FORGOT that
Fonzie and Cynthia Brannigan
Agreed to go steady several
Months BEFORE Fonzie and
Ashley agreed to go steady.
I also wonder why Cynthia Brannigan did not stay on
Happy Days as Fonzie's
Girlfriend. Was the last name
Of Spike Fonzarelli or some
Other last name??What was
Spike's first name because
Spike was a nickname.
Schwartz ) and MOOSE (Barry
GREENBERG) had nicknames
And the last name of Arnold's
waitress MARSHA(Beatrice Colen),was Simms.
Chachi Arcola Scott Baio
And Chuck Cunningham 1
Gavan O Herlihy and 2
Randolph Roberts both had
The first name of Charles.
Cynthia Brannigan played by Marla Pennington appeared in 2 episodes:
Season 9- Episode 16- " A Touch of Classical" February 2, 1982
Story line
Fonzie helps music teacher Cynthia convince the student body to choose classical music over rock'n'roll for their annual concert.
Season 9 -Episode 17 - " "Hi-Yo Fonzie, Away!" - February 9, 1982
Story line
Howard and Chachi go above and beyond to try to win a dinner with the Lone Ranger for Fonzie's birthday while the Fonz begins to wonder "if he should start thinking about settling down with just one girl". Emphasis on The Lone Ranger -not Fonzie's undecidedness of settling down.
So the writers didn't FORGET anything. She was Cast for 2 Episodes Only. Why would they keep her as a character when Ashley Pfister would be taking that role in the next season.
Danny Butch played -Raymond "Spike" Fonzarelli.
So Gary Marshall and the writers and producers for Happy Days did not forget things or try to keep things mysterious. All the information is very easy to research and find. Whether it be Wikipedia, IMDb or countless fan forums on the subject of "Happy Days".
Deleted 33 months ago
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33 months ago
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Scott 33 months ago
Not so sure about that. Linda Purl was 8 years old when The Rifleman ended, in 1963
33 months ago
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PINKYLEE 33 months ago
I find it amazing that no one mentioned Linda Purl's role on Matlock.
PINKYLEE 33 months ago
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PINKYLEE 33 months ago
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Michael t 33 months ago
MeTV writers like to reference shows on the channel, so mentioning Matlock makes sense.

I actually liked the lawyer he brought back from England best. And none of them were "assistants", they were lawyers so partners in the law firm.
Michael 33 months ago
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Scott 33 months ago
Note for Mr Arnaz: I Love Lucy lasted 7 seasons. Happy Days lasted 11. Ahem
Michael Scott 33 months ago
Desi had his band, Dino, Desi & Billy. And was on Here's Lucy with his sister and mother, 1968-74.

And he was on one Brady Bunch episode.

Michael 33 months ago
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Lyndapt100 33 months ago
More recently, she played Pam’s mom on The Office!
Lyndapt100 33 months ago
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Lantern 33 months ago
Linda Purl married and divorced three more times. I've read she's now keeping company with Patrick Duffy.
LoveMETV22 Lantern 33 months ago
Yes, she says he can cook too. LoL.
Mac2Nite Lantern 33 months ago
FOUR times... all quite short in duration. There's an old saying: Divorced once: Maybe they weren't right for each other. Divorced twice: Maybe you just don't know how to pick em'. Divorced three times: Maybe it's YOU! Divorced four times: Yup, it's you. Patrick Duffy better watch out!!!😂

Patrick was with his one and only wife for 43 years, until her death in 2017.
Michael Mac2Nite 33 months ago
I think with celebrities, they may feel pressure to marry, rather than live with someone or have a fling. So they get married fast, and it's a bad decision,and they do it again.

Other people aren't in a fishbowl, so they don't rush into marriage. And the public is not keeping track.
Lantern 33 months ago
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Mac2Nite 33 months ago
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MrsPhilHarris 33 months ago
I liked her as Richie’s girlfriend.
I liked Linda Purl as Gloria
Also. One of the mysteries
Of Happy Days is
What was the LAST NAMES
Of these Happy Days Persons :
Bobby(played by Harris Kal)
Tommy(Kevin Sullivan) Also the character FlIP Was the
Brother. Of Roger Phillips. Wasn't Flip a nickname?
No mystery there. Gloria the character who played Richie's girlfriend on 5 episodes in season 2 was just cast as Gloria. When she returned in season 10 as Fonzie's girlfriend her character was renamed to Ashley Pfister,. But the original Gloria, Wendy and Trudy were all first name only characters. A multitude of characters for the entire series had first name only characters. So there's no mystery there it's just how they were cast.
Leopold "Flip" Phillips was his casted name. So most likely Flip was a nickname.
Bobby and Tommy were both also cast with first name only.
LoveMETV22 33 months ago
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bagandwallyfan52 33 months ago
Cynthia Brannigan played
By Marla Pennington WAS THE
Fonzie and Cynthia agreed to
Go steady in the Fonzie Meets
Lone Ranger (John Hart) episode. Cynthia Brannigan only
Was in 2 episodes (the classical
Music episode and the Lone
Ranger episode). I thought
that Cynthia Brannigan was
Going to be a new regular as
Fonzie's new girlfriend but it
Wasn't meant to be.
After the Lone Ranger episode
Cynthia Brannigan vanished
Into thin air to join Spunky
The dog Spike Sticks Trudy
Gloria Wendy Eugene Belvin
Moose Marsha Bag Zombroski and Chuck Cunningham in
Where sitcom characters go
When they disappear from the
Situation Comedy that they
Are on.Cynthia Brannigan
And Ashley Psfister were both
Excellent girlfriends for Fonzie
But Ashley replaced Cynthia.
I guess if Cynthia Brannigan
Had stayed on HAPPY DAYS
Then Ashley might never have
Been On HD as Fonzie's new girlfriend Fonzie almost
Married Maueen (Nellie Bellflower ) until he found
Out that Maureen was The
Lone Stripper . And then again
Fonzie almost married Pinky
Tuscadero(Roz Kelly)..
Fonzie also liked DAPHNE (Hillary Horan) and Paula
Petralonola(Melinda Naud.)
Daphne was the. THIRD person
To play the drums in Richie's band. I also thought that
Linda Purl did a great job playing
bagandwallyfan52 33 months ago
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Michael 33 months ago
She really had a lot of credits before the marriage, including twice on the Waltons (2 different characters) and five times on Happy Days. When I think of her, it's from elsewhere probably TV movies, not her later appearances on Happy Days, nine years after her first imdb entry.

Who can forget "Gloria".
Michael 33 months ago
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AnnieM Michael 33 months ago
Really! She was already a known actress with quite a few credits on her resume by the time she returned to HD as Ashley - a number of TV Movies, some of which let to her own (short-lived) tv series, 'The Young Pioneers' (1978), a major role in the miniseries 'The Manions of America' (Pierce Brosnan's American TV debut in 1981; she played his sister). Though HD, I guess was her most high-profile role, as she's now usually referred to as 'former Happy Days star'.
MuzzikLvr t 33 months ago
Lucie Arnaz and Larry Luckinbill are still very much married.
MuzzikLvr 33 months ago
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Runeshaper 33 months ago
Glad that they ended things on friendly terms and that Purl got her BIG break with the Fonz.
Runeshaper 33 months ago
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