Actress Bonnie Franklin of TV's "One Day at a Time" dead at 69

Fri Mar 1, 2013 9:00pm EST
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Bonnie Franklin, best known for her starring role as a single, working mother on the hit CBS comedy "One Day at a Time," in an era when U.S. television was redefining families in pop culture, died on Friday at age 69.

She died at her Los Angeles home of complications from pancreatic cancer, surrounded by relatives and friends, according to a statement issued by the CBS network on behalf of her family.

Franklin, a petite redhead, had acted on Broadway before being cast as the harried divorcee Ann Romano in "One Day at a Time," which debuted in December 1975 and ran for nine seasons on CBS. It co-starred Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips as her two head-strong daughters.

"My heart is breaking," Bertinelli, who played the younger daughter, Barbara, said in a statement. "Bonnie has always been one of the most important women in my life and was a second mother to me."

"She taught me how to navigate this business and life itself with grace and humor, and to always be true to myself. I will miss her terribly," Bertinelli added.

Franklin's performance on the series garnered her an Emmy nomination in 1982. She previously earned a Theatre World Award and a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut work in the 1970 musical "Applause," in which she sang the title song.

During a career spanning six decades, she starred in more than 30 television series and made-for-TV movies while continuing her work in live theater. But she was best remembered for her work on the Norman Lear-produced sitcom "One Day at a Time."

The show was an instant ratings success and became a cultural landmark for its portrait of a family that departed from the idealized sitcom households of earlier decades, like those on "Leave It to Beaver" (1957-1963) and "Father Knows Best" (1954-1960).   Continued...

Actor Bonnie Franklin, who played Ann Romano in the hit sitcom "One Day at a Time", arrives for the 10th Annual TV Land Awards at the Lexington Avenue Armory in New York in this file photo from April 14, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/Files