Lynda Goodfriend played both Richie's wife and Ralph's girlfriend on Happy Days

She actually played two different dates for Richie — and even more characters in the Happy Days universe.

Image: The Everett Collection

Was there a more apt name for an actress than Lynda Goodfriend, at least in relation to Happy Days? The bubbly brunette is best known as the love of Richie's life. She became Mrs. Cunningham in the episode "R.C. and L.B. Forever," a wedding episode oddly filmed after Ron Howard had left the sitcom. The writers had Richie stuck on an Army base. Fonzie stood in for the groom by proxy during the ceremony.

But were beginning with the end. Richie Cunningham and Lori Beth Allen had a long and charming courtship on Happy Days. Goodfriend's Lori Beth character made her debut early in season five, when Richie and Fonzie sneak into a girls' dormitory past curfew in "Hard Cover." Richie and Lori Beth struck up a fast relationship.

Perhaps that is no surprise. Richie had already quietly dated a different Lynda Goodfriend character.

Goodfriend first appeared on Happy Days a season earlier, in season four, B.S.J. (before shark jump). Her bob haircut is easy to spot in "Time Capsule." Richie has his arm around her — but she is playing "Kim."

"Kim" would return five episodes later, as Ralph's date in "Graduation." The dopey Malph memorably gave her massive a bird of paradise flower as a corsage — uncut, so its stem projected two feet down her torso. So, indeed, Lynda Goodfriend played the girlfriend of Ralph — and two of Richie's girlfriends.

Here's where it gets extra confusing. Goodfriend was portraying a different character in the Happy Days universe on television that very same month.

Goodfriend as ''Kim'' in ''Time Capsule''

Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy were the smash spin-offs of Happy Days, but they were not the only spin-offs. Those successes overshadowed the flop Blansky's Beauties. Nancy Walker starred as Nancy Blansky, Howard Cunningham's cousin, first introduced in the Happy Days episode "The Third Anniversary Show." She was the housemother to a host of showgirls. Goodfriend was "Sunshine," one of these "Beauties." Pinky Tuscadero (Roz Kelly) was in the first episode.

However, oddly, this Happy Days spin-off was set in the present day, 1977. For added confusion, Scott Baio, not yet "Chachi," was on the show as a kid named Anthony DeLuca, the younger brother of Joey DeLuca, played by Eddie Mekka, who was concurrently playing Joey DeLuca's older identical cousin, Carmine Ragusa, albeit two decades in the past, on Laverne & Shirley. See? Confusing.

Garry Marshall liked to use the same actors. Which explains why the legendary creator essentially remade the same sitcom a year later, with much of the same cast, including Baio and Goodfriend, as Who's Watching the Kids? Had that sitcom clicked with viewers, Lori Beth likely would have never been developed on Happy Days. Richie would have to marry a different fiancée over the phone.

Watch Happy Days on MeTV!

Weeknights at 6:30 PM
Sundays at 2 PM & 4 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

9 Comments

Post a comment
agriffith952 28 days ago
Always have a hard time getting into MeTV. Can’t get it
Corey 1 month ago
Lynda Goodfriend is a few years older than Ron Howard but I had a crush on her.
mememememe66 1 month ago
Lori Beth’s haircut isn’t a “ Bob”... that was a “ Bowl” haircut.
A dead giveaway of current year that Happy Days was filmed.
harlow1313 1 month ago
I enjoy the first two seasons of "Happy Days." Episodes were somewhat grounded and at least had ties to real human behavior.

After that, the characters become cartoonish and more one-dimensional. Perhaps because of the live studio audience, there is rarely any subtlety in the delivery of actor's lines. The plots and dialogue were often silly vehicles for Fonzie's absurd character.

I know many love this show, but I am split by the seasons.
genZmetv harlow1313 1 month ago
i agree, somewhat. I enjoy a lot of parts of season 3 and season 4 (so far...), but the audience is not one of them. they're kind of obnoxious - surrounding fonzie's entrances with so much applause that the scene had to stop, etc. It gets worse as the series goes on, i think.
I agree. Also it became the Fonzie show.
Corey MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
It gotten so bad that ABC wanted to rename the show to Fonzie and Happy Days and Ron Howard threatened to quit.
MrsPhilHarris Corey 1 month ago
Wow! I did not know that.
cperrynaples 1 month ago
Fun Fact: Jim Belushi got his first job on Who's Watching The Kids? It ran after the infamous Waverly Wonders with Broadway Joe Nameth! Would you believe he got the job because Larry Hagman chose Dallas over this show?
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?