As soon as we went on the air we started receiving a lot of letters. The letters were saying, 'This is my life. This is what I'm going through. This is what my mother is like.' And so we pretty quickly got the idea that we were touching something - Bonnie Franklin
Bonnie Franklin died today at her Los Angeles home from complications of pancreatic cancer. She was born Bonnie Gail Franklin on January 6, 1944 in Santa Monica, California.
Franklin first appeared on television at age 9 in The Colgate Comedy Hour. As a small child, she later appeared in a non-credited role in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Wrong Man. In the 1960s, she portrayed a teenage feature character in You're the Judge, a short educational film about baking sponsored by Procter & Gamble and featuring the use of Crisco.
She debuted on Broadway in 1970 in the musical Applause, earning a Tony Award nomination. She appeared at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey in both George M! and A Thousand Clowns.
Franklin was best known for her portrayal of divorced mother Ms. Ann Romano on the television situation comedy One Day at a Time (1975–1984). Franklin guest-starred on several television series, including The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ("The Gazebo in the Maze Affair" from 1965). She had a semi-regular role in the ABC series Gidget. She directed several episodes of the 1980s sitcom Charles in Charge. In 2011, she was reunited with her One Day at a Time costar Valerie Bertinelli on Hot in Cleveland, playing the mother of Bertinelli's character's boyfriend.
Franklin signed to appear in several episodes of the daytime drama The Young and the Restless on CBS television. The episodes were broadcast in August 2012. The actress was cast as a nun, Sister Celeste, who comes to the assistance of Victor Newman.
In 1988, she appeared at the Bucks County Playhouse and at the Pocono Playhouse, both in Pennsylvania, in the title role of Annie Get Your Gun.
In April 2011, Franklin and other cast members from One Day at a Time accepted the "Innovators Award" from the TV Land cable channel—one of several awards in the annual event. The citation on the TV Land web site reads: "One Day At A Time is being presented with the Innovator Award, which is given to a television series that carved out new territory, tackled important issues of its day and helped re-defined its genre. The series, which was a hybrid drama/comedy, addressed such taboo topics as pre-marital sex, suicide, sexual harassment and more, breaking barriers and paving the way for future shows to tackle these issues as well. Developed and written in part by TV visionary Norman Lear, One Day At A Time aired on CBS for nine seasons from 1975-1984. Starring Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips as Ann Romano, Barbara Cooper and Julie Cooper, the series revolved around a family headed by a single mother (Franklin) that relocates to Indianapolis, where their new apartment building super, Dwayne Schneider (Pat Harrington Jr.), befriends them. Also taking part in the cast reunion is Glenn Scarpelli, who joined the series in 1980 as the son of Ann's boyfriend, Nick."
On April 28, 2012, she was among several stars who appeared at the 28th annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event (STAGE) benefit, titled Original Cast 3, at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills to benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles. The event raised over $200,000 for APLA's work with clients living with HIV and AIDS in Los Angeles County. Franklin and other original-cast members from a variety of musicals, performed songs with which they are associated. Franklin sang the title song from Applause, which she had originally introduced on Broadway in 1970.
Franklin appeared in nearly a dozen staged readings with Classic and Contemporary American Playwrights (CCAP) in the Greater Los Angeles area for the last several years. During the 2006-2007 season, she appeared in the drama Toys in the Attic, written by Lillian Hellman. She appeared in Neil Simon's Broadway Bound at the Pico Playhouse in January 2008. CCAP is devoted to reviving seldom seen works and presenting them to student audiences, to create a new audience for theatre. Most recently, CCAP outreach programs work with teachers at North Hollywood, Cleveland and King Drew Medical Magnet high schools. Working with teachers in the English department, CCAP selects works which will be incorporated into the curriculum and, before the presentation, gives a workshop at the school.
Good Night Ms. Franklin