Bonnie Franklin is dead at 69. The One Day At a Time star may be best known to an entire generation of television fans as “Ann Romano.” Franklin placed the role of a divorced mom at a time in America when such a character was extremely in small screen sitcoms.
The One Day At a Time star died at her home on Friday. She reportedly succumbed to complications from pancreatic cancer. Bonnie Franklin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September, Fox News notes. Before the hit television show made her a household name, Franklin was an accomplished stage performer.
The television show starring Franklin premiered in 1975 on CBS. The show attracted a large fan following during its 9-year run. Ann Romano’s struggles to balance the roles of mother, single woman, and bread winner entertained the audience and kept the show a Top 20 hit the entire time it was on the air.
Bonnie Franklin’s An Romano character lived in Indianapolis and was raising two teenage daughters on her own, USA Today notes.The daughters were played by Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips.
One Day At a Time was developed by Norman Lear and co-created by Whitney Blake. The show hit the air just a few years after the same network has uttered concerns about casting Mary Tyler Moore play a divorcee. The character of Mary Richards was ultimately developed as a single woman who had suffered a failed engagement.
In her 2009 memoir High on Arrival, Mackenzie Phillips had this to say about Bonnie Franklin:
“Bonnie felt a responsibility to the character and always gave a millions noes on the scripts. Above all, she didn’t want it to be sitcom fluff. She wanted it to deal honestly with the struggles and truths of raising two teenagers as a single mother.”
Valerie Bertinelli noted in her own memoir Losing It, that Franklin was an “immense talent and was a hipper and younger verion of her real mother.
Were you a fan of One Day At a Time and Bonnie Franklin?