Bonnie Franklin, the star of CBS’ groundbreaking sitcom “One Day at a Time” who worked as a helmer later in her career, died Friday at her home due to complications from pancreatic cancer. She was 69.
Franklin helped define the image of single working mothers with her role as Ann Romano on the Norman Lear-produced “One Day at a Time,” which ran on CBS from 1975 to 1984. She was active in theater and cabaret performances throughout her career.
Lear called Franklin a “life force” and noted that she was unfailingly positive.
“Bonnie was such a life force,” Lear said in a statement. “Bubbly, always up, the smile never left her face.”
Valerie Bertinelli, who played younger daughter Barbara on “One Day at a Time,” said Franklin was like a “second mother” to her.
“She taught me how to navigate this business and life itself with grace and humor, and to always be true to yourself,” Bertinelli said.
A Santa Monica native, Franklin made her TV her television debut at the age of 9 on “Colgate Comedy Hour.” She continued to log TV roles as a teenager on shows including “Gidget,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E” and “The Munsters.” After graduating from UCLA, she made her debut on Broadway in the tuner “Applause,” which earned her a Tony nom.
Her work on “One Day at a Time” landed her Golden Globe and Emmy noms. During the run of the show, she also toplined numerous stage productions and toured with an autobiographical cabaret act in the early 1980s. She also starred in several television movies, most notably as the women’s health advocate Margaret Sanger in the telefilm “Portrait of a Rebel: The Remarkable Mrs. Sanger.” She also paid tribute to her parents, Sam and Claire Franklin, with the autobiographical television special “Bonnie & The Franklins.”
In 1980, Franklin married producer Marvin Minoff and they were together for 29 years until his death in November 2009. Later in her career, Franklin helmed such sitcoms as “Charles in Charge,” “The Munsters Today.” In recent years she logged acting roles on “The Young and the Restless” and “Hot in Cleveland.”
Survivors include her mother, Claire Franklin, two sisters and two brothers, two stepchildren and two grandchildren.
A private memorial will be held next week. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to CCAP (C-c-a-p.org, 11684 Ventura Blvd. #437, Studio City, CA 91604).