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Tom Bosley, Happy Days Dad, Dies at 83

Published: October 19, 2010

Tom Bosley, a warm-voiced, round-bodied actor who personified paternal authority, especially on Broadway as a big-city mayor in the musical Fiorello! and on television as a Middle American dad in the hit comedy Happy Days, died Tuesday in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 83.

The cause was cancer, according to a statement by CBS Films, whose president, Amy Baer, is Mr. Bosley's daughter.

Mr. Bosley is probably best known for his decade, beginning in 1974, as Howard Cunningham, the gruff but reliably kind father of teenage children in 1950s Milwaukee in the nostalgic situation comedy Happy Days. He also had significant roles on popular crime-solving dramas, including the title character in The Father Dowling Mysteries and Sheriff Amos Tupper, an ally of the sleuth and mystery writer Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury), in Murder, She Wrote.

But before he was a television fixture, Mr. Bosley had gained fame on stage, playing Fiorello La Guardia, the populist mayor of New York, in Fiorello! The show won the Pulitzer Prize, and Mr. Bosley, a newcomer to Broadway, won a Tony Award for best featured actor in a musical. He never missed one of the show's almost 800 performances.

In his review of the show in The New York Times, Brooks Atkinson summarized the appeal that Mr. Bosley would have for audiences for decades to come. Mayor La Guardia, Atkinson wrote, is extremely well-played by Tom Bosley, who is short and a trifle portly, has a kindly face, abundant energy and an explosive personality.

Thomas Edward Bosley was born in Chicago on Oct. 1, 1927. His father, Benjamin, worked in real estate; his mother, Dora, was a concert pianist before giving up her musical career to raise two sons. The family suffered through the Depression, and after high school, near the end of World War II, young Tom joined the Navy. He took up acting in a serious way after his discharge.

In an interview in 2000 with the Archive of American Television, he said that before he left Chicago in 1950, he flipped a coin to decide whether to move to New York or Los Angeles. The coin came up in favor of Los Angeles. But he demurred.

I looked in the mirror and said, I think I better go to New York and work in the theater, he said. Because I was short, kind of heavy, and that is not the way to break into the film industry.

In the 1950s, Mr. Bosley studied briefly (and unhappily) with Lee Strasberg and worked in small theaters and in television dramas, notably Hallmark Hall of Fame productions like Born Yesterday and Alice in Wonderland. To pay the rent, he was a hat checker at Lindy's and a doorman at Tavern on the Green.

After Fiorello! work came easier. He appeared in several more Broadway shows in the 1960s, and though none were especially successful, after a long hiatus he returned to Broadway in 1994 as Belle's father in the original cast of the Disney musical Beauty and the Beast.

Mr. Bosley's fatherly appeal was suited to both comedy and drama, and his long resume as a character actor in the movies stretched across generations of stars, beginning with Love With the Proper Stranger (1963) with Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen and The World of Henry Orient (1964) with Peter Sellers and continuing through this year, when he appeared in the romantic comedy The Back-up Plan with Jennifer Lopez.

He also made appearances in myriad television series, including Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, Get Smart, Mission: Impossible, The Mod Squad, Bonanza and Bewitched.

In Happy Days, which was initially set during the mid-1950s but moved into the 60s in its 11-season run, Mr. Bosley played a grumbly sweetheart of a husband to his wife Marion (Marion Ross) and an unconvincingly stern but wise and understanding father to his children, two of them played by Ron Howard (Richie) and Erin Moran (Joanie).

Howard Cunningham owned a hardware store, was often seen reading the newspaper in his easy chair and was perpetually befuddled by the behavior of young people. With its mix of cornball humor and family values, the series became a situation comedy landmark, spawning spinoffs and making celebrities of the cast, especially Henry Winkler, who played Richie's charismatic, sweetly renegade friend Arthur Fonzarelli, a k a the Fonz, who referred saucily to Mr. Bosley's character as Mr. C.

In 2004 Mr. Bosley was listed at No. 9 on TV Guide's list of the greatest TV dads of all time.

Mr. Bosley's first marriage, to Jean Eliot, ended with her death in 1978. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife, the former Patricia Carr, whom he married in 1980; a brother, Richard; two stepdaughters, Kimberly diBonaventura and Jamie Van Meter; and seven grandchildren.

In the interview with the television archive, Mr. Bosley said he had suffered stage fright only once. It was very early in his career, before he moved to New York, and he had a small role in a play outside of Chicago that starred Shelley Berman and Geraldine Page. At the first performance, he was obsessively going over his lines backstage and lost track of the progress of the play. He made his entrance several minutes early.

And Shelley Berman is on one side of the stage, and Geraldine Page is on the other side, he recalled. And she turns and looks at me and says, Do you mind? We're doing a play here.

Here is Al Molinaro's Obituary from the LA Times

Al Molinaro, character actor known for role on 'Happy Days,' dies at 96
Marisa Gerber
By Marisa Gerber
Oct 30, 2015 | 9:19 PM

Al Molinaro, the hawk-nosed character actor who played the clumsy but benevolent owner of Arnold's Drive-In on "Happy Days," helping that TV sitcom earn lasting acclaim, died Friday in a Glendale hospital. He was 96.

The cause was complications from a gallbladder infection, said his son Michael.

Before "Happy Days," which ran from 1974 to 1984, Molinaro also portrayed the bumbling but personable police officer Murray on "The Odd Couple," providing a comic foil for stars Tony Randall and Jack Klugman.

"He was one of those really funny, likable secondary comedy characters that the '70s were really known for," said Robert J. Thompson, who leads the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University. "All of those shows had some really solid second and third bananas, and Al Molinaro was one of them."

Born Umberto Francesca Molinaro on June 24, 1919, in Kenosha, Wis., he was the ninth of 10 children of Italian immigrants. He went by Albert at the suggestion of a teacher.

Many of his siblings had prominent careers in their home state of Wisconsin —one brother was a judge, another a state assemblyman — but Molinaro chose a different path..

When a friend suggested he take up acting, his response — as reported by the Kenosha News in 2004 — was simple: "I'll do that."

So he boarded a Greyhound bus and headed west, hoping Hollywood meant a big break. In reality, it meant a long lesson in patience.

"I spent 20 years here before I got anything going, and from that I got lucky," Molinaro once told his hometown paper.

Garry Marshall, the executive producer of "The Odd Couple" and "Happy Days," recounted the first time he watched Molinaro onstage. Marshall was at an improvisation show to watch his sister, Penny, perform her stand-up comedy routine when Molinaro's "raw but very funny" ad-libbed portrayal of a priest caught his attention.

"I hold up Al's story as an example when I tell people that it's never too late to follow your dream," Marshall wrote in "Wake Me When It's Funny: How to Break into Show Business and Stay" (1997).

Molinaro was in his early 50s with only minor roles under his belt — he played Agent 44 in a couple episodes of "Get Smart" in the late 1960s — when in 1970 he landed the part of Murray in "The Odd Couple." The poker-playing clown of a cop caught more laughs than he did crooks. Always a few beats behind, he had a habit of answering rhetorical questions, flashing a cross-eyed look in response to real ones and inching his way on set, so that for a moment the camera caught only his sizable schnoz.

His character was the cause for many scripted nose jokes, but he didn't mind, his son said. He later appreciated the boost his most prominent feature gave to his career as a character actor.

Molinaro had a similarly goofy but endearing role as diner owner Al Delvecchio on "Happy Days." He replaced Pat Morita in 1976 — the same season it was TV's most-watched show.

Delvecchio's 1950s malt shop, with its wood paneling, orange booths, jukebox jams and neon "A" sign, served as the backdrop for the teenage crushes and small quarrels that propelled the plot.

The tire-bellied chef, whose signature phrase "yeeap, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep" often trailed off into a sigh, rarely passed up an opportunity to offer his loyal young patrons advice.

A 1982 Times profile of "Happy Days" highlighted Molinaro's endearing role: "The emphasis was always on heart in the episodes in which Molinaro was the star."

The actor played Delvecchio in more than 100 episodes and knew the character inside and out.

"When you live with a character as long as I have, you know how he would talk in almost any situation," Molinaro told The Times.

Molinaro left the show in 1982 for the spin-off "Joanie Loves Chachi," starring Scott Baio and Erin Moran.

He later did work in commercials — most notably as the spokesman for a line of frozen dinners — and had a cameo in a music video for the rock band Weezer. But he largely stayed out of the limelight — partly, Molinaro contended, because of the types of projects he was willing to work on.

"I'm so square that I won't be in a movie that has four-letter words in it," he told the Chicago Tribune in 1990. "That puts me pretty much totally out of films these days."

In addition to his son Michael, he is survived by his wife, Betty; a brother, Oliver; and three grandchildren.

Here is Gary Marshall's Obituary from The Hollywood Reporter

Garry Marshall, 'Happy Days' Creator and Director of 'Pretty Woman,' Dies at 81

One of the nicest guys in Hollywood, the older brother of Penny Marshall also was behind TV's 'The Odd Couple' and 'Mork & Mindy.'

Garry Marshall, who created and executive produced some of the most popular sitcoms on TV — Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple and Mork & Mindy, among them — and directed the box-office smash Pretty Woman, died Tuesday. He was 81.

Marshall, the older brother of director-actress Penny Marshall, died at 5 p.m. from complications of pneumonia following a stroke at a hospital in Burbank, a spokeswoman at Rogers & Cowan said.

His most recent film was the April release Mother's Day, which reunited him with his Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts.

Marshall also helmed such movies as Young Doctors in Love (1982), The Flamingo Kid (1984), Nothing in Common (1986), Overboard (1987), Beaches (1988), Frankie and Johnny (1991), Dear God (1996), The Other Sister (1999), Runaway Bride (1999), The Princess Diaries (2001), Valentine’s Day (2010) and New Year’s Eve (2011).

Marshall developed and created 14 TV series and executive produced more than 1,000 half-hour episodes.

“Both of-their-time and timeless, his shows are a gentle, generous, comic mirror held up to late mid-century America,” WGA West president Christopher Keyser said in January 2014, when it was announced that Marshall would receive the guild’s Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement. “And no one is a finer or funnier chronicler of friendship — male or female (or alien).”

Marshall earned five Emmy Award nominations and was the recipient of Women in Film’s Lucy Award in 1996 and the Producers Guild of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Television in 1998. In 1997, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Hall of Fame.

Marshall had just finished a rewrite of the book for the Broadway-bound musical of Pretty Woman. And at age 81, he had a record of 6-1 pitching for his softball team, Rogers & Cowan said.

Pretty Woman star Richard Gere remembered Marshall in a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter: "Garry, of course, was one of those truly important people one is blessed to meet in one's lifetime. Besides being the pulse and life force of Pretty Woman ... a steady helmsman on a ship that could have easily capsized ... he was a super-fine and decent man, husband and father who brought real joy and love and infectious good spirits to every thing and everyone he crossed paths with. Everyone loved Garry. He was a mentor and a cheerleader and one of the funniest men who ever lived. He had a heart of the purest gold and a soul full of mischief. He was Garry."

Marshall was born in New York City on Nov. 13, 1934, and raised on the Bronx's Grand Concourse. He went to DeWitt Clinton High School. His father was a documentary filmmaker and his mother ran a dance studio in the basement of their apartment. He drummed his way through Northwestern University playing in jazz and Dixieland bands.

After a tour with the U.S. Army in Korea, where Marshall wrote for Stars & Stripes, he took a job as a sports reporter at The New York Daily News while moonlighting as a stand-up comic and writing gags for such comics as Joey Bishop and Phil Foster. He also fed newspaper columnists jokes.

Jack Paar hired Marshall in 1960 to write material for The Tonight Show, launching his career as a TV comedy writer.

“I was a journalist. I was a drummer. I was everything. I didn’t know what the heck I was,” Marshall once told the Los Angeles Times. “But with Jack Paar, the job was very specific — no confusion. You came in each day. You wrote five pages of jokes. You handed the pages in. … The pressure was to write five pages of jokes every day. I did it and I thought, ‘This is what I like to do.’”

In 1962, Bishop, who had gotten his own show, hired Marshall and brought him to Hollywood. Marshall teamed with comedy writer Jerry Belson, and they churned out more than 100 sitcom episodes for The Danny Thomas Show, The Lucy Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show, among many others. One year, the duo tried to set a record for the most number of sitcom episodes written — and they managed a whopping 33.

With Belson, Marshall also wrote and produced the 1980 Broadway comedy The Roast, directed by Carl Reiner, and the films How Sweet It Is (1968), starring Debbie Reynolds and James Garner, and The Grasshopper (1970), with Jacqueline Bisset.

In 1970, Marshall and Belson developed The Odd Couple, based on the Neil Simon play and movie. Marshall next developed another ABC sitcom, Happy Days, a ratings sensation that starred Ron Howard and introduced Henry Winkler as “the Fonz.”

On a roll, he spun off the working-class sitcom Laverne & Shirley two years later, with sister Penny starring alongside Cindy Williams as befuddled Milwaukee brewery workers. When the ABC show debuted in January 1976, it became the first TV series to begin at No. 1 in the ratings.

Marshall co-created Mork & Mindy and cast Robin Williams as a wacky alien who arrives from the planet Ork and is befriended by an earthling (Pam Dawber) who becomes his roommate. The series, which sprung from a dream sequence in a Happy Days episode, finished No. 3 in the ratings in its first season.

Reportedly, Marshall’s prolific success brought more than $350 million to the studio Paramount Television in one year alone. According to longtime friend Reiner, when the studio asked him if it could do anything for him to show its gratitude, the self-effacing Marshall asked for a basketball court near his offices.

Marshall’s sense of humor and buoyant take on life made for a rosy view of harsher subjects: Prostitution in Pretty Woman came off as easy and glamorous, for instance. Ever ebullient, the outgoing Marshall’s work gave rise to the term “dramedy” — a piece with serious subject matter surrounded by plenty of laughs and an optimistic aura.

He also had a penchant for blue-collar movies, such as the waitress drama Frankie and Johnny. “I didn’t want to do movies with hundreds of camels crossing the desert followed by tanks and this and that,” he once said.

He appeared as an actor in such projects as A League of Their Own (1992), directed by Penny, and Keeping Up With the Steins (2006), helmed by his son Scott. On the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown, he played exasperated network executive Stan Lansing, and his TV résumé also includes Louie, The Simpsons, ER, Brothers & Sisters, The Sarah Silverman Program, According to Jim, Monk and the acclaimed telefilm The Twilight of the Golds (1996), which he produced.

On the stage, Marshall directed his first opera, Grand Duchess, which opened the 2005 season for the Los Angeles Opera. Two years later, he debuted a stage musical production of Happy Days based on his ABC series, with a book by him and music and lyrics by Paul Williams. Following its initial national U.S. tour, Happy Days the musical embarked on a U.K. national tour in 2014.

Since 1997, Marshall has owned the Falcon Theatre in Burbank with his daughter Kathleen. Another daughter, Lori, co-wrote his memoirs, Wake Me When It’s Funny: How to Break Into Show Business and Stay There (1995) and My Happy Days in Hollywood (2012).

In memory of his mother, he built the Marjorie Ward Marshall Dance Center at Northwestern University following her death in 1983.

Survivors also include his wife, Barbara, whom he married in 1963; sister Ronny; and six grandchildren. A memorial service is being planned for his birthday on Nov. 13.

Donations in his name can be made to The Saban Community Clinic, formerly known as the Los Angeles Free Clinic; The Intensive Care Unit at Providence St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Burbank; and the Northwestern University Undergraduate Scholarship Fund.

Here's Erin Moran's Obituary from NBC

Erin Moran, Who Played Joanie on 'Happy Days,' Dead at 56
by Phil Helsel and Gemma DiCasimirro / Apr.22.2017 / 10:39 PM ET / Updated Apr.23.2017 / 8:11 PM ET

Erin Moran, the actress who played Joanie Cunningham on the hit TV series "Happy Days," has died in Indiana at the age of 56, police said.

TMZ first reported the death. The Harrison County, Indiana, sheriff's office told NBC News that dispatchers got a 911 call for an unresponsive female at 4:07 p.m. Saturday and first responders found Moran deceased.

Moran was just 13 when the show began in January of 1974. Viewers watched her mature on the show, which Moran said in a 2008 interview with the "Today" show wasn't the easiest passage to go through.

"It was so much fun with these guys," she said. "They made it better, they made it easier. I loved it. I had such a good time."

Moran played Joanie Cunningham, the younger sister of Richie Cunningham, who was played by Ron Howard. Her character was a love interest of the character Chachi, played by Scott Baio.

The sitcom set in the 1950s in Milwaukee, which ran from 1974 to 1984, was a hit. Moran also co-starred along with Baio in the short-lived spinoff "Joanie Loves Chachi," which began in 1982.

Moran and Baio returned for the "Happy Days" final season, which ended with the two characters getting married.

Marion Ross, who played the Cunningham family mom on the series, remembered Moran as a smart, talented performer who easily adapted to the demands of filming and school.

"She would go to school, and she would come back after a break and would have to fit in to all the jokes we were doing on the set and pick up fast exactly where we were — which she could," Ross said in a telephone interview with NBC Los Angeles. "She was the quickest, fastest little kid. Wonderful."

"This breaks my heart," Ross said.

Henry Winkler, who played "The Fonz" in the series, expressed his condolences on Twitter, and said the death was too soon.

Howard said in a Tweet: "I'll always choose to remember you on our show making scenes better, getting laughs and lighting up tv screens."

Years after the show ended, Moran and three co-stars in 2011 sued CBS for $10 million over royalties they said they were owed, The Associated Press reported at the time.

The suit reportedly ended in an out-of court settlement in 2012 in which the four cast-members and the estate of another cast member received around $65,000 each.

Moran also made appearances in "Murder, She Wrote," and "The Love Boat."

An autopsy is pending and there is no indication of cause of death, the sheriff's office said.

To read some articles about Happy Days go to and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and and

To watch some clips from Happy Days go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

For a Page dedicated to Happy Days go to

For a Website dedicated to Happy Days go to

For The Heather O'Rourke Memorial Site go to

For a Website dedicated to American Graffiti go to

For some Happy Days-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to

For 2 great reviews of Happy Days go to and
Date: Thu December 15, 2011 � Filesize: 199.3kb � Dimensions: 430 x 560 �
Keywords: Happy Days Cast


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