While Happy Days was mostly centered around the Cunningham family and their immediate friends, there was always romance at the heart of the popular sitcom. We loved watching Joanie and Chachi's love story into their spinoff series and Fonzie (Henry Winkler) was a regular with the ladies. Ron Howard, already a household name from his childhood on The Andy Griffith Show, became the boy next door as a teenager when he was cast on the show. Already a favorite among passionate fans, it was important for ABC to get it right when finally finding him a love interest. It goes without saying that they nailed it when Lynda Goodfriend was cast as Lori Beth Allen.
Goodfriend grew up in Miami, Florida but earned a drama degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. After appearing on Broadway, she kicked off her career in Hollywood playing Ethel "Sunshine" Akalino on the series Blansky's Beauties. Before playing Lori Beth, Goodfriend actually appeared a couple of times on Happy Days for the first time as the character "Kim." As Howard explained in an interview with the Archive of American Television, those episodes were a trial run for a larger role and it seemed to work out well for everyone. Apparently, Goodfriend had been a dancer and creator Garry Marshall had seen her in a stage production years before he decided to bring her in.
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"It was one of those things where she just came in and did an episode, and the chemistry was good, and they decided to keep bringing her back. It was a nice thing for Richie, finally having a steady girlfriend."
In the fifth season, Lori Beth first met Richie (Howard) and it turned into a role that eventually turned into Lori Beth Cunningham. Howard explained that it was mostly just due to who she was as a person and what she brought to the character. It's also still the role she's best known for.
"She just had this great, winning smile and this wonderful quality, and so she stuck as a running character."
After Happy Days ended in 1984, Goodfried appeared in the films Nothing in Common, Beaches, Pretty Woman, Exit to Eden, and the TV shows Who's Watching the Kids?, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island. These days, Goodfriend serves as the acting chair at the New York Film Academy but hasn't actually done any onscreen work since the 90s. More focused on helping aspiring actors these days, she has also been married to Giora Litwak since 1982.