Marion Ross has been acting in Hollywood since the early 1950's. Best known for her role as Mrs. Cunningham (or Mrs. C) in 'Happy Days', which ran for eleven years on ABC. Ross now co-stars opposite Drake Bell and Leslie Nielsen in 'Superhero Movie' playing Aunt Lucille.
Ross' character is helping to raise Rick Riker, played by Bell, along with her husband Uncle Albert, played by Nielsen. The movie spoofs such comic book films as 'Spider-Man', 'X-Men', 'Fantastic Four' and 'Batman'.
Written by Craig Mazin who created the 'Scary Movie' franchise, Ross enjoyed the script from the moment she read it. "It's so readable. I thought it's interesting because you think to yourself how would you do that? They conquered so many of those things. It's amazing. It's a credit to the artistic designers as well and the whole staff Craig (Mazin) assembled."
Being in the entertainment industry for such a long time there have certainly been a great deal of changes that Ross has seen over the years. When Ross started, she was a contract actress with Paramount Pictures and certain rules and regulations were enforced "We don't have Standards and Practices anymore. It was an organization and every script went through them. There was a clamp on ones creativity and it must have been maddening for the writers and producers. We, as actors, got used to the fact that we couldn't do lots of things, but its wide open now. It's good in that freedom is always good. It's messy and it's not good taste and it's terrible and that's freedom. It's annoying if you have a swell idea to have a bunch of people picking at what you're doing saying, 'you can't do that.' You ask why and they say, 'oh some poopey reason.' We've gone too far of course, but that's freedom."
'Superhero Movie' is filled with hilarious moments, but which was the most difficult for Ross to actually get through? "The farting scene. I would shake and they would say don't do that. Craig was making the farting noises. They were the greatest vocabulary of farts, every kind that ever passed through man. They put a fan under my dress. It was such a funny scene. The kids are sitting there and their eyes are burning."
For younger people coming into the industry Ross definitely has some sound advice to give them, "Watch out for your money. Get a press agent. This is a moment and can you build from this moment? So get a press agent and make a business out of yourself. Take your career where you want it to be. Save your money so you have freedom of choice. Lead a clean life. I remember at Paramount I would see the bodies, a lot of the friends that were in the contract group with me are dead. You have to be careful with yourself." Of course never videotape yourself in intimate acts? Ross immediately says with a smile, "Well that's helped her. That's where I'm wrong. My mother was wrong about that. I try to open my mind and not be so closed minded about where we are going with the culture."
Ross still leads a very busy life and coming up is a special recognition from her hometown. "My hometown is naming their theater after me. Going to be the Marion Ross Arts Theater. My university, San Diego State University is honoring me. It's because I'm getting to be at such an age where I'm going to be honored a lot. I see it coming. I have a play written by Joe Dipietro who wrote I Love You You're Perfect Now Change and Over the River and Through the Woods. We'll start it in August in Kansas City and if we feel like taking it off Broadway we would for the fun of it. I hope to be on Brothers and Sisters again…it would be great if Grandma would come and they would make her a drinker."
Would Ross consider doing a sequel to the film? "Well I think I got totally blown to pieces. I told Craig I smell a sequel. I get blown up and my corpse gets tossed in a living flame." However, in most superhero movies getting blown up or disintegrated doesn't really matter; you can always come back for a sequel.
Check out Marion Ross when 'Superhero Movie' opens today in theaters across the country.