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'Happy Days' actress, MN native Marion Ross honored with statue in hometown

The unveiling happened Friday in Albert Lea.

One of the most recognizable TV moms in the history of the medium now has her own statue in Albert Lea, Minnesota, which also happens to be her hometown. 

Marion Ross, who starred as Marion Cunningham (aka "Mrs. C.," and on-screen mom to Ron Howard) on ABC's "Happy Days," was in town for the unveiling event on Friday. 

The bronze sculpture was installed on a bench outside the The Marion Ross Performing Arts Center on North Broadway Avenue, and a large crowd — including Ross herself — was on hand for its official debut. 

She also stopped by the Freeborn County Historical Museum, for which the 92-year-old Ross has done fundraising, the Albert Lea Tribune says. 

As the Tribune notes, Ross, although born in Watertown, Minnesota, grew up in Albert Lea and calls it her hometown. The paper says she helped pick the location of the statue, which will look "across the lake to the beach" where she was once a lifeguard. 

According to FOX 9, organizers for the statue project raised $100,000 by selling "personalized brick pavers," with donations from Ron Howard and Henry "The Fonz" Winkler helping out as well. 

Per the station, Ross still has family and friends in Albert Lea and is "literally beside herself to be a permanent part of her hometown."

The statue was made by Pennsylvania sculptor Chad Fisher, who is known for sculpting likenesses of a wide range of sports legends. 

Ross left Minnesota in her late teens when her family relocated to San Diego, according to her IMDb profile. She would eventually graduate from San Diego State University, and after working in local theater for a time, landed a contract at Paramount Studios — giving her a number of unbilled roles in various films and TV shows.

She continued to work smaller roles for years when, in 1974, she achieved "middle-aged stardom" with her casting in Happy Days. 

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