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October 6, 2015

Tom Bosley, 'Happy Days' Dad, Dead at 83

by Kelly Woo, posted Oct 19th 2010 2:15PM
Tom BosleyTom Bosley, best known as Howard Cunningham on 'Happy Days,' has died at the age of 83.

According to TMZ, family members reported that Bosley died after a staph infection. Bosley's agent, Sheryl Abrams, told the Associated Press that Bosley suffered from heart failure at 4AM Tuesday in a hospital near his Palm Springs home and that he was also battling lung cancer.

Over five decades, the actor appeared in a range of TV shows and specials, movies, commercials and Broadway productions, but he was most famous as the stern, loving TV dad, Mr. Cunningham.

Mr. C -- as the Fonz called him -- was the quintessential sitcom dad that everyone wanted for their own. He made the top 10 of TV Squad's best TV dads ever.

His 'Happy Days' co-stars paid tribute to Bosley's sterling character.

"Tom's insight, talent, strength of character and comic timing made him a vital central figure in the 'Happy Days' experience," said a statement from Ron Howard, who played Richie Cunningham. "A great father and husband, and a wonderful artist, Tom led by example, and made us all laugh while he was doing it. "My last conversations with Tom reflected the love of life and peace of mind that he always maintained throughout his full and rewarding life. I miss him already."

Bosley's TV wife, Marion Ross, told the AP, "He was so smart he could fix the end of a joke or a scene on the spot. We made a perfect couple. I played picolo to his tuba."

"Tom Bosley was our mentor," said Henry "The Fonz" Winkler told TMZ. "He was a true artist ... he will be sorely missed, but never forgotten."

After serving in the Navy during World War II, Bosley got into acting during his time at DePaul University. He went on to perform alongside Paul Newman at the Woodstock Opera House in 1949 and 1950.

Bosley got his start in television on a telecast of an 'Alice in Wonderland' production in 1955. The actor found success on Broadway, winning a Tony Award for his portrayal of Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia in 'Fiorello!' He also appeared in films, starring opposite Natalie Wood in 'Love With the Proper Stranger.'

Tom BosleyAfter playing Mr. Cunningham on 'Happy Days,' Bosley starred as the titular character on 'Father Dowling Mysteries' and as Sheriff Amos Tupper on 'Murder, She Wrote.'

Throughout his career, Bosley used his warm, resonant tone to narrate specials and provide the voices for animated characters including David from the popular series 'David the Gnome.' In 2005, Bosley voiced Mr. Cunningham in the animated comedy 'Family Guy.'

His last credited film role was in this year's romantic comedy, 'The Back-Up Plan.'

Bosley's death comes just after another TV icon, Barbara Billingsley, passed away. It's been a sad time for the television industry and fans, after the recent deaths of people like Stephen J. Cannell, Tony Curtis, Gloria Stuart, Harold Gould, and Kevin McCarthy.

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October 23 2010 at 1:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt Z.

So sad.

October 20 2010 at 9:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A talented, sweet, soft spoken gentleman who worked his way into our hearts over the years and kept that spot has passed on and we, his legion of fans, are left to grieve.

Farewell Mr. C, Father Dowling, Amos Tupper......three of your most memorable characters. You will live on in our hearts, memories, and thankfully, in the roles that are replayed in TV Land.

RIP Tom Bosley -- We Knew Ye Well!

October 20 2010 at 8:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joseph Nutter

What a total shock. First, Connie Hines, Second, Barbara Billingsley, NOW! Tom Bosley, Mr. Cunningham of the 11 year run of one of the funniest Television Situation Comedies to ever grace our Television Sets. Please in Loving Memory of Tom Bosley it would be so great to release the entire series on DVD in his Memory and Honor to let Tom Bosley "Mr. C." know how much we love him, and, how much he and the entire cast made us love and laugh for those 11 seasons it aired on ABC-TV. God Bless You Tom, "Mr. C." RIP and in Love and Honor to you and all of your many fans who loved the show everywhere. Please bring the complete series back in his Honor and Memory. Myself, My Best Friend Bob, and, all of your Fans everywhere, including your Television Series Family, Ron Howard, Marion Ross, Henry Winkler, Erin Moran, Anson Williams, Donny Most, and not to leave out good ole' Arnold from Arnold's Drive-In. Rest In Peace, and your name, and your wonderful and funny personality and your Television Family will miss you very much. Please if anyone has any additional thoughts or comments please feel free to e-mail me. I know that all of us that shared in this Funny and Beloved Sitcom will live on in us all for the rest of our lives. Thank You Garry Marshall for creating and bringing this wonderful show to all of us on ABC-TV to enjoy and laugh out loud each and every week for the last 11 years.


Joe, Bob and all of your
Many Fans Everywhere of
"Happy Days"!

October 20 2010 at 2:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh Mr. C

October 19 2010 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TJ Mooney

Yikes, this has been a banner week for iconic TV parents. Anyone want to join me in forming a protective barrier around June Lockhart?

October 19 2010 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

A part of growing older is hearing so often of the passing of icons from our youth and from our young adult lives. Very sad.

Tom Bosley, RIP.

October 19 2010 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joyce N.'s comment

I agree

October 19 2010 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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