The actress known to television audiences as Mrs. Cunningham on the 1970’s TV series “Happy Days” returns to The Old Globe stage Dec. 6. for a single-night comedic performance in “Celebrity Autobiography: In their Own Words.” Fellow performers include Tovah Feldshuh, John Goodman, Paul Michael, Kathy Najimy, Eugene Pack, Dayle Reyfel and Michael Urie.
Last summer, Ross appeared in a record eight-week run at the Carter Theater with Paul Michael in “Last Romance,” which received rave reviews. Now, there’s talk about taking it to China.
“Sure, why not,” Ross said.
From Point Loma High and San Diego State University to Hollywood films and television, plus roles on Broadway, Ross can reflect on what she describes as “such a wonderful life.”
“I like to come down and take part in Globe activities when I can because of my association with longtime director Craig Noel runs very deep,” she said.
Noel passed away int April at 94. Noel was impressed by the teenager’s college performance as a cockney maid in a play called “Ladies in Retirement,” and in 1949 he offered her a role in the “Twelfth Night.”
He and actor Mel Ferrar, then a leading board member at the La Jolla Playhouse, were instrumental in opening a door or two in Hollywood.
“I had several people looking out for me [at age 18], including my Spanish teacher at state,” Ross said.
“At the time, I felt it was a wonderful world to be on the fringes of this,” she said. “I’d hang around [actress] Sadie Lou Tieri’s home when all the actors would come there.”
Ross wasn’t in that many shows at the Globe, but Noel was always in the wings for encouragement and an assist.
“Every time my life went into a dip, Craig would say, ‘Come on home and do anything you want to.’ He was so important.” she said.
Ross said its much easier to work in TV because of the dependence on the director and all the technicalities.
“On stage, you are all alone and responsible,” she said.
“Theaters are going bankrupt all over this country, but not The Globe,” Ross said. “That’s a credit to Craig and Lou Spisto [CEO-executive producer].”
In 1982, she was selected as an associate artist.
Luckily, Ross said, the phone still rings with work calls, but she admits there aren’t that many parts for her generation. So, she spelled out the letters O-L-D.
“I’m 82, you know,” she joked.
Still, there’s always something. She’s planning another voice-over as grandma in the TV Sponge Bob cartoon series.
“We have a house at Cardiff where we stay in the summer,” Ross said. “So, I remain connected with San Diego State and all of San Diego.”