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Tom Bosley, Howard Cunningham of 'Happy Days,' dies at 83

Bosley Tom Bosley, who portrayed the patient, understanding father on television's long-running "Happy Days," has died. He was 83.

Bosley died of heart failure early Tuesday in Palm Springs, said his agent Sheryl Abrams. He also had lung cancer.

TV Guide ranked Bosley's "Happy Days" character No. 9 on its list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" in 2004. The show debuted in 1974 and ran for 11 seasons.

After "Happy Days" ended, Bosley went on to a recurring role in "Murder, She Wrote" as Sheriff Amos Tucker. He also was the crime-solving priest in television's "The Father Dowling Mysteries."

A full obituary will follow at

-- Associated Press

Photo: On the set of "Happy Days," clockwise from top left, Henry Winkler, Ron Howard, Tom Bosley, Erin Moran and Marion Ross. Credit: Paramount Pictures

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RIP, TB, thanks for the great roles portrayed and memories!

Feeling older now. RIP Mr. Bosley.

Sorry to hear this. He was a fine actor and his narration on 'That's Hollywood' completely made the show.

First Mrs. Cleaver, now Mr. Cunnigham! I wana cry!

Uh, oh. First Barbara Billingsley and now Tom Bosley. Who will be the third?

RIP, old friend.

My friend in high school named his bong Tom Bosley. Not sure why. RIP Mr. C.

Thanks for the memories Mr. C (Tom Bosley).

I once drove Mr. Bosley about six years ago, when I worked as a limo driver. He invited me to have lunch with his family in a restaurant instead of waiting by myself in the car in the parking lot, a very kind thing to do. I certainly wouldn't fault a client for not inviting their chauffeur to dine with them (if I were in their position, I might not do it), but it gives you an idea of the sort of person he was. Thank you, Mr. Bosley. It was a privilege to have worked for you.

He was a kind and generous man, and he will be missed.

"Boy" in Tarzan is the third.

Tom Bosley was the first celebrity I ever encountered in the United States when I was visiting from Asia with my parents in 1984. I was still in my junior high and had grown up watching Happy Days and That's Hollywood during my elementary years. I still remember vividly when he got out of his car in Beverly Hills that summer.
RIP Mr Bosley. Thanks for the sweet memories!

Goodnight Mr C.

Tom Bosley passed away at 83. Born to a Jewish family in Chicago, he grew up yearning to play left field for the Cubs, but average athletic skills led him in another direction. When acting later motivated him, his hardheaded self assessment that he possessed neither an imposing physique nor matinee idol good looks steered him away from Hollywood and sent him in the direction of Broadway. Most will probably remember him from Happy Days and the obituaries certainly made that point, but I remember him quite differently.

The Bosley I remembered was a very versatile actor, usually playing character roles, comedic as well as serious, and even appearing in musicals. In fact his first real success was as the lead character in the Broadway play Fiorello!, based on the life of New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia. The play garnered a pulitzer prize and Bosley was awarded a Tony for his efforts. Bosley did a lot of early TV dramas and after his success in Fiorello he got a lot of Broadway work, but never again was he quite so prominent on the boards.

He had movie roles in films with Peter Sellers and Natalie Wood, worked with Debbie Reynolds and Dean Martin on television and appeared in shows as diverse as the weighty Defenders legal drama, the wonderfully funny Car 54 Where Are You? and as the star in the Father Dowling Mysteries. Mostly I remember him as the voice of the father in a very funny 70s sitcom that appeared in cartoon form, entitled Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. Here Bosley played a harried conservative minded father with a liberal teenage children, a hippie type son and a dedicated women's-libber daughter. There was also a younger son more in line with Bosley's thought process.

And there was one more show I remember very pleasantly from that time period, The Sandy Duncan Show. Here Bosley played Sandy's boss as Bert Quinn, partner in the advertising firm of Quinn & Cohen. The firm had originally been Cohen & Cohen, but Bosley had changed his name because there didn't seem to be that much business coming in. One thing that stood out from that show was that Bosley's character had a picture of Al Jolson that he kept on the wall just above his desk. The significance of the photo was never really explained. Perhaps Bosley was just a big Jolson fan. I mean he did work his fondness for the Cubs baseball team into the Father Dowling series.

I also found this story about the part Bosley played in a unique Holocaust remembrance project that gained some prominence called Paper Clips, about which a subsequent documentary was made about five years ago.

I saw him live on Broadway in Fiorello. He was a show stopping star!


I like your article. It’s great to know this. Thanks for the info and sharing. :)


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