Bonnie Franklin, television’s beloved mom on “One Day at a Time,” has died at the age of 69
So sad to hear the news just now that beloved sitcom star Bonnie Franklin has died at the age of 69 from pancreatic cancer.
The actress best known for her role as Ann Romano for nine seasons on One Day at a Time had remained active in theater and had done a guest appearance on Hot in Cleveland which stars her former TV daughter Valerie Bertinelli.
I met Miss Franklin back in 2008 at a Mother’s Day event at the TV Academy where Bertinelli and her other TV daughter, MacKenzie Phillips, were both on hand to pay tribute to her.
Here is the story I wrote back then:
She’s best known for her role as Ann Romano on the long-running sitcom “One Day at a Time.”
But really Bonnie Franklin’s life before and after that classic CBS show has been about performing a wide array of roles on the stage.
She began her career on Broadway, earning a Tony Award nomination for the musical “Applause,” and in more recent years has performed in productions of plays including “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” “Grace & Glorie” and “Double Act.”
“I’ve done a lot of plays over the years,” she said recently. “I just did (Edward) Albee’s ‘A Delicate Balance.’ I did Brian Friel’s “Dancing at Lughnasa” a couple of years ago.”
Franklin, married since 1980 to film producer Marvin Minoff, regularly appears on stage in the Los Angeles area with her most recent productions being Lillian Hellman’s “Toys in the Attic” and Neil Simon’s “Broadway Bound.”
She also participates in staged readings with Classic and Contemporary American Playwrights, an organization devoted to reviving works that are seldom seen.
The 1975-84 run of “One Day” remains a fond memory for the 64-year-old actress who is well aware of the impact that her portrayal of a divorced mother of two teenage daughters had at that time.
“I didn’t even realize the extent of it until I started getting the mail,” she said, “and I went: ‘Oh. We have a responsibility. Oh, my God. We better try and be truthful to what this situation is.’ We were not doing that for the first 12 shows. They dealt with hamburger joints and dates.”
Franklin put her foot down and held out for shows in which “we dealt with what we’re supposed to be dealing with, which is divorce and kids who are trying to deal with that.”
She has remained close to the the actresses who played her daughters on the show, Valerie Bertinelli and MacKenzie Phillips, and to series regular Pat Harrington.
All three showed up earlier this year at the Television Academy in North Hollywood for a tribute to classic TV moms.
Since “One Day” continues to live on through reruns and DVDs, Franklin is still regularly recognized in public as Ann Romano, and the actress doesn’t mind one bit.
“It’s been nice,” she said of that lasting recognition. “It was a really good period of time in my life and an important time in my life. It allowed me to do what I wanted to do the rest of my life. It’s been good. I continue to have a pretty good life.”