‘One Day at a Time’ TV Mom Bonnie Franklin dies at Age 69, Rest in Peace


‘One Day at a Time’ mom Anne Romano dies …

Bonnie Franklin, better known to many as Ann Romano, the divorced working mother with two teen daughters, in Norman Lear’s groundbreaking sitcom ‘One Day at a Time’ has passed away at the age of 69 from complications of pancreatic cancer. In September 2012 it was made public that Bonnie has been diagnosed with aggressive pancreatic cancer. Sadly, she lost that battle Friday night.  Bonnie Franklin played a divorced woman in her 30′s who was raising two teenagers and building a new life for herself in her hometown of Indianapolis. Probably at the time I never realized the sitcoms ground breaking role because I was too busy having a crush on Valerie Bertinelli, Barbara Cooper. However, the show tackled many of the day to day issues of a divorced mom that was happening all too often in the 70′s. On a personal note, I actually had the opportunity to meet Bonnie Franklin as I knew an individual in New Jersey that was close friends with her. She came across and an extremely nice person. Sadly, cancer has taken another life.

Rest in Peace 

Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertinelli, Mackenzie Phillips and Pat Harrington Jr. of ‘One Day At a Time.’ CBS

Bonnie Franklin, the actress who created an indelible television character playing a divorced, working mother of two headstrong daughters on the long-running series “One Day at a Time,” died Friday at her Los Angeles home. She was 69.

The cause was complications from pancreatic cancer, her family announced.

By the mid-1970s, Franklin was a theater veteran who had earned a Tony nomination for her performance in the Broadway musical “Applause” when she was offered a different kind of role, one that was not then the usual fare on network television.

Developed by Norman Lear, the new CBS series would tell the story of Ann Romano, a divorced woman in her 30s who was raising two teenagers and building a new life for herself in her hometown of Indianapolis. Franklin’s character wasn’t the first divorced woman on network television; but the role, like those of other characters in Lear’s groundbreaking sitcoms, was infused with a new level of social realism.

One Day at a Time – ‘Pressure’ (1 of 3)

I was an avid fan of the show that ran from 1975 to 1984. What made the show great was not that it delved into social issues of the day like teen sex, divorce and birth control. The show and the ’One Day at a Time’s’ producer  Normal Lear never forgot one important fact, it was a comedy.

“One Day at a Time” ran from December 1975 to May 1984, and its ratings ranked in the top 20 in eight of those seasons and in the top 10 in four. Ms. Franklin was nominated for an Emmy Award and twice for a Golden Globe.

The show’s topicality fell squarely in the tradition of its developer, Norman Lear, who had gained renown for introducing political and social commentary to situation comedy with “All in the Family” and other shows. Its co-creator was Whitney Blake, a former sitcom star who, as a single mother, had reared the future actress Meredith Baxter.

Like Archie and Edith Bunker in “All in the Family,” Ann and her daughters, Julie and Barbara Cooper (Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli), used comedy in the service of grappling with serious and thorny real-world matters.

Franklin’s TV daughters Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips react to her death.

Bonnie Franklin is survived by her mother, Claire Franklin; stepchildren Jed Minoff and Julie Minoff; two grandchildren; her brothers, Dr. Bernard Franklin and Richard Franklin; and sisters, Victoria Kupetz and Judith Bush.

It is so very sad that cancer, especially pancreatic cancer, is so unforgiving. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer spreads quickly and is often diagnosed too late, when it’s already begun spreading in the body. The following is a list of other actors and celebrities who have recently passed away from pancreatic cancer:

  • Patrick Swayze, star of “Ghost” and “Dirty Dancing” died after a battle with pancreatic cancer in September 2009, at the age of 57.
  • Steve Jobs, the founder and CEO of Apple battled the disease for an estimated seven years before succumbing to pancreatic cancer at the age of 56.
  • Donna Reed was first admitted to the hospital with bleeding ulcers, but screening tests revealed that she was suffering from a tumor in her pancreas. She died of the cancer within six weeks of diagnosis.
  • Ben Gazzara, a long-time dramatic actor, died in early 2012 from pancreatic cancer
  • Fred Gwynne, The actor probably best known as the patriarch on the 1960s television series “The Munsters,” Gwynne died from pancreatic cancer at age 66,
  • Michael Landon, famous for his roles in period Western dramas, like” “Bonanza” and “Little House on the Prairie,” but the actor was also well-known for his battle with pancreatic cancer.

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