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Obit of the Day: One Day at Time Star Bonnie Franklin

When One Day at a Time premiered on December 16, 1975 producer Norman Lear (All in the FamilyGood Times, Maude) once again found a way to deal with a socially difficult issue in a comedic way. This time the series focused on the trials and tribulations faced by newly divorced mother raising two teenaged daughters*. (For perspective, just five years earlier Mary Richard on The Mary Tyler Moore Show wasn’t even allowed to be divorced, let along be a single mother.)

Ms. Franklin, who died at the age of 69 on March 1, 2013, played Ann Romano, who moved to Indianapolis with her daughters Julie (MacKenzie Phillips) and Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli) to an apartment where they befriended the super, Dwayne Schneider (Pat Harrington). The show would have a 206 episode run, lasting nine years. 

A child star, who was a protege of film star Donald O’Connor, Ms. Franklin would appear on television for the first time when she was ten. She would have guest roles on various shows until One Day at Time but found her greatest success on stage prior to that. In 1970 she earned a Tony nomination for her role in Applause.

During her nine seasons as Ann Romano, Ms. Franklin earned an Emmy nod for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1982) and two Golden Globe nominations, also for lead actress (1982 an 1983). Seven of the nine seasons on the air One Day at a Time was a top twenty hit.

After One Day at a Time went off the air, Ms. Franklin would find guest spots on several different shows including Hot in Cleveland, which starred her television daughter Valerie Bertinelliand her last television appearance as a nun on The Young and the Restless (2012).

Ms. Franklin, who was the daughter of immigrants, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2012.

Sources: SFGate.com, LA Times, IMDB.com

(Video of the opening credits from season one of One Day at a Time is copyright of Sony Pictures Television and courtesy of JhomasE on YouTube.com)

* The series was based on the life of co-creator Whitney Blake, an actress who was a single mother raising a daughter. Her daughter was Meredith Baxter who would later star as Elyse Keaton on Family Ties.

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    One of my most favorite shows ever.
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