David CassidyHey, baby boomer gals, you know that David Cassidy poster you bought way back when? The aging heartthrob wants his cut. He's suing Sony (SNE) for a percentage of The Partridge Family (1970-74) merchandise, joining a run of small-screen stars taking legal action for their piece of the collectibles pie.

Here are some of the recent litigation smackdowns involving celebrities and the often-murky world of action figures and other crap commemorating boob-tube classics.


David Cassidy, The Partridge Family
The former teen idol told CNN in August that he has been paid a meager $5,000 for all the lunch boxes and board games sold with his name and likeness as part of TV's rock-singing family. He wants Sony's Screen Gems to fork over 15% of the revenues, just like he said his contract stipulated back in the day. When CNN asked for comment, Sony pressed the mute button. Given events of late, The Price of Fame would like to suggest a few tweaks to the titles of Cassidy's hit songs. How about I Think I Sue You and I Woke Up in Court This Morning?

Happy Days cast
Even the estate of the late Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham) is dancing in this high-stakes sock hop. Anson Williams (Potsie Weber), Marion Ross (Marion Cunningham), Don Most (Ralph Malph), Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham) and Patricia Bosley, wife of the actor, are suing the consumer arm of CBS (CBS) for $10 million over souvenir proceeds from the 1974-84 comedy. What reportedly angered the cast, which submitted court papers in April, was when casino slot machines with a Happy Days motif popped up in 2008. The defendant admitted that it owed some money initially and even wrote $6,500 checks to the plaintiffs in July. But that's milk money, so the suit apparently says. The two cast members who made that Milwaukee-set series famous, Ron Howard (Richie) and Henry Winkler (Fonzie), are sitting this one out.

James Best, The Dukes of Hazzard
The now 85-year-old actor who portrayed Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane wants more than moonshine from the Dixie hot-rods-and-hot-bods 1979-85 series. His suit, reported in August, claims Warner Bros. Entertainment (TWX) could owe him as much as $25 million in royalties. The suit says his original contract dictated that he be paid 2.5% of merchandise during the show's original run and for spinoffs, and that Warner Bros. has behaved like the show's scheming Boss Hogg.

Donna Douglas,
The Beverly Hillbillies
The actress who played buxom bumpkin Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies filed suit against Mattel (MAT) in May, claiming the toy manufacturer made an Elly May Barbie without her permission. Douglas, 77, wants damages for the pilferin' of her name and likeness.

Harlan Ellison, Star Trek
A 1967 time-traveling episode that Ellison penned, City on the Edge of Forever, has the famous science-fiction scribe more apt to give Paramount (VIA) and CBS the finger than the Vulcan salute. His 2010 action sought a "trailer truck full of cash" for subsequent books and productions that he claims were spun off from the story. His lawyer called it "relentless exploitation." Ellison didn't cloak his intentions. "It ain't about the principle, friend," he says in a press release. "It's about THE MONEY!"

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timothydunntdunn

this is all the bullshit the tea bag party or evil selfrightious party stated along with the, deceitful REBUBLICANS,I"LL show you rebublicans. The president of the UNITED STATES SEEMS TO BE THE ONLY REALISTIC PERSON and fairest. You might recall the bush or rebublican,(GOOD OLD BOYS ) DEPLETED THE WHOLE SURPLUS the Clionton admnistration admirally left for the next Leader which the gop literally illegally stole by intimidation and verbal threats . EX if you can or could call h im a president when indeed it was Chaney calling the shot under the directiion of Bush senior, just run this through history. What did this supposed president do positive i nature to help his people. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OHH im sorry he did do something ,made the rich richer ,the poor poorer and he alone spent trillions of dollarson his pet projects or better said and utterly honestly bush let chaney and the rest of his co-conspirators, spend the surplus on garbage that only benefitted the wealthy and took away from the have nots AGAIN. This country used to be a fair country, it still is but only if blackmail is a fair way to get things your way and you don't care who gets hurt and who would TRY to make you think that the general population fault for this mess . just go back in time if not only to the IKE administatiionn untill today we Americans are far from being perfect but 1 president thought he was going to change the world and Bush did for the Worst and still he and his warped mind thinks he helped this country!!!!! He all most desroyed it. Well the way i see us getting out of this tragic mess, the majority rules in this COUNTRY and that the way this country was founded,so let it be know norbert and we all know you. you have been found out , the only people you have any use for are the ones who sign a letter that indicate you do it my way and see it my way or we don't want you. Well you arrogant selfrightous rebublicans the babyboomers will be voting in earnest in all upcoming elections, all you lies will be exposed and i see it happening today. I never thought i would say this but the country was better run when lobbyist stood out in the rain to try to get a fair deal or maybe the upper hand , at least we knew where the money was going

August 09 2011 at 11:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eileen W.

I thought Happy Days aired on ABC. I guess I could be wrong...but I remember the line up with Happy Days followed by Laverne and Shirley.

August 09 2011 at 11:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bruce

One question: was it in your contract that you receive royalties? If YES, then you have an actionable suit, and should go for what you are owed. If NO, sorry Charlie-- you should have been a better negotiator! These "after the fact" money chases don't have a legal leg to stand on. The studios were the ones who took the risks of putting shows on, and if they hit the jackpot, good for them! The stars, on the other hand, in most cases had no skin in the game at all. They were well paid (by existing standards), and had no downside risk whatsoever.

Hey, ask your Republican buddies: business is business, and you weren't a good business person, if you are now dissatisfied with the deal you made.

August 09 2011 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Terry and Mandy

These older stars should be paid for the royalties stipulated in their contracts. The studios are notorious for trying to screw them out of their fair share with "creative accounting". I hope these older stars are successful with their lawsuits and hopefully many others will follow.

August 09 2011 at 2:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Terry and Mandy's comment
stoli100

ummmmm thats the problem. These royalties aren't in their contracts. Don't get me wrong, I hope they get a percentage, as Moe Howard told the greedy Columbia Pix execs "fair is fair"

August 09 2011 at 5:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Bruce

There's a big "IF" in that assumption: that royalties were stipulated in their contracts! In those days, they typically were NOT. All compensation was "up front", with nothing on the come. Definitely, if they DID have such clauses in their contracts, they should be compensated accordingly. If not...cry me a river!

August 09 2011 at 7:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply