It’s been almost 40 years since the final episode of Happy Days aired, and while some stars—prolific director Ron Howard and Barry actor Henry Winkler among them—are still in the public eye, other cast members of the sitcom have transitioned into more private lives. Cathy Silvers, for example, showed up in later seasons of Happy Days, playing Jenny Piccolo, the boy-crazy BFF of Erin Moran‘s Joanie. She was only 19 when she joined the show and has marked many more non-Hollywood achievements since. Read on to find out more about Silvers’ life today.
Though Happy Days was Silvers’ first TV gig, it wasn’t her last. She went on to play Molly in Foley Square and Coral in Cleghorne!, in addition to taking on guest-starring roles in Punky Brewster and Wings. Her most recent credit was a role in the 1996 TV movie Encino Woman.
In an interview with Pop Geeks in February 2021, Silvers, now 60, revealed that she would return to acting if she was given the chance to bring her Happy Days character to life again. “I haven’t worked in so many years. I think the ultimate role would be to play Jenny again as an adult,” she said.
Silvers caught the acting bug from her dad, Phil Silvers, best known for the comedy show bearing his name and his most famous character, Sgt. Bilko. She told Express that her mother didn’t want Silvers or any of her sisters to try to make it in Hollywood until they had finished college, but her father’s fame and famous friends changed those plans. Silvers noted to the publication that she was recommended to her agency by “great family friend” Dudley Moore, who had come to see her in a play during her freshman year and was impressed.
Dad Phil, meanwhile, not only inspired his daughter, but also appeared in one 1981 episode of Happy Days, playing Jenny’s dad, Roscoe Piccalo.
Silvers told Express that his Happy Days cameo was a total surprise to her. Her father and the show’s writers had decided to keep it a secret.
“At the read-through, I heard this, ‘Ay ay ay up’—dad’s line from Sgt. Bilko—and I thought, ‘Someone doing’s Dad.’ Then Dad walked on the stage and everyone stopped still,” she recalled. “The writers were on their knees—he was their idol. It was wonderful and they had it all planned as a surprise for me!”
Silvers was married to Alexander Burnett from 1988 to 1996, and the couple welcomed two children together. In 2001, she married her current husband, David Fullmer. She had two more kids with Fullmer and is also stepmom to his child from a previous relationship.
In her interview with Pop Geeks, she shared that her marriage to Fullmer also ended but that she’s dating again and is very happy where she is.
“I’m pushing 60 and sadly have been through two divorces now, but I’m very happily dating a wonderful man who’s a trail runner,” she said. “I have a wonderful life, and I have five beautiful children.”
Silvers doesn’t give too much of her personal life away on social media, but she does occasionally post photos with her kids, like this one from a family wedding.
To Express, Silvers noted that she did eventually go back to college to study marketing. In more recent years, her focus has turned to promoting health and wellbeing.
The former actor wrote the book Happy Days Healthy Living, which was published in 2007 and is described as an “autobiography and the tale of a journey to healthful and a living-foods lifestyle.” She explains how and why she adopted a lifestyle of juicing and vegetarianism, which she remains passionate about today. According to her Linkedin profile, Silvers has been hosting the web series The Healthy Living Show for 14 years, and their Facebook page promotes her private consulting and counseling services, too.
Silvers shared with Pop Geeks that her personal health journey was spurred in part by some health issues she’s encountered. She explained that she has trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic pain condition that impacts a nerve in the face. “Most of the time when I talk, I stutter because I do have this condition, but I am learning to live with it through my healthy living, exercise and diet,” she said. “I also have Lyme disease, and in order to survive, as there is no known cure, I didn’t get the antibiotic at the time. You have to exercise or your organs shut down, so I do.”
On her infrequently updated Instagram, you can see that Silvers enjoys various outdoor activities, from surfing to climbing. But in early 2020, she broke her leg in a rock climbing accident in Santa Clarita, California. She told TMZ that her boyfriend was with her and able to call 911, at which point a helicopter was sent to transport her to the hospital so she could be treated and begin to recover.
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Silvers so much wanted to see the classic sitcom return that she took an active role in trying to make it happen.
“It’s time for a comeback. I’m working with writers now on it. Cause it makes sense now. We’re waiting for the green light, but I’m on board,” she told Too Fab in 2019. “I’ve raised five children, I wrote a book on healthy living. I want to get back on set and make them laugh again.”
Unfortunately, as she shared with Pop Geeks in 2021, the revival never got off the ground. She said that she even co-wrote a script which would see “Jenny purchasing Arnold’s from Arnold’s son,” but that CBS, who owns the rights to Happy Days, didn’t want to move forward.
And while Silvers clearly looks back on her entire Happy Days experience with a lot of pride, she has special memories of her onscreen best friend Moran, who died of cancer in 2017.
“It’s very safe to say this was a loving, kind, hysterically funny, great human being. To answer your question, my favorite times with her were, for sure, working with her. We had so much fun it was ridiculous,” she told Pop Geeks of her co-star. “I watched her on television for seven years prior to meeting her, and there she was. I couldn’t even speak in her presence, but I guess it was meant to be, because we just hit it off.”