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Tom Bosley

Tom Bosley

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Thomas Edward "Tom" Bosley (October 1, 1927 – October 19, 2010) was an American actor. Bosley is best known for portraying Howard Cunningham on the long-running ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 sitcom Happy Days
Happy Days
Happy Days is an American television sitcom that originally aired from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984, on ABC. Created by Garry Marshall, the series presents an idealized vision of life in mid-1950s to mid-1960s America....

. He also was featured in recurring roles on Murder, She Wrote
Murder, She Wrote
Murder, She Wrote is an American television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher. The series aired for 12 seasons from 1984 to 1996 on the CBS network, with 264 episodes transmitted. It was followed by four TV films and a spin-off series,...

, and Father Dowling Mysteries
Father Dowling Mysteries
Father Dowling Mysteries is an American television mystery series that appeared between November 30, 1987 and May 2, 1991. For its first season, the show was on NBC; it moved to ABC network for its last two seasons...

. He originated the title role of the Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

-winning Broadway musical Fiorello!
Fiorello!
Fiorello! is a musical about New York City mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, a reform Republican who took on Tammany Hall. The book is by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott, drawn substantially from the 1955 volume Life With Fiorello by Ernest Cuneo, with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock...

, earning the 1960 Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

 for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
This is a list of the winners and nominations of Tony Award for the Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. The award has been presented since 1947...

.

Early life


Bosley was born in Chicago, the son of Dora (née Heyman) and Benjamin Bosley. Although well known for playing a Catholic priest—and numerous Protestants—Bosley was actually Jewish. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Bosley served in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. While attending DePaul University
DePaul University
DePaul University is a private institution of higher education and research in Chicago, Illinois. Founded by the Vincentians in 1898, the university takes its name from the 17th century French priest Saint Vincent de Paul...

, in Chicago, in 1947, he made his stage debut in Our Town
Our Town
Our Town is a three-act play by American playwright Thornton Wilder. It is a character story about an average town's citizens in the early twentieth century as depicted through their everyday lives...

with the Canterbury Players at the Fine Arts Theatre. Bosley performed at the Woodstock Opera House
Woodstock Opera House
The Woodstock Opera House is a historical venue for performing arts and receptions located in Woodstock, Illinois. It was designed as a multi-use facility including City Hall, and the police and fire departments by architect Smith Hoag and built by contractor Simon Brink in 1889 for a cost of...

 in Woodstock, Illinois
Woodstock, Illinois
Woodstock is a far northwest suburb of Chicago in McHenry County, Illinois. The population was 20,151 at the 2000 census. The 2010 Census shows 24,770 residents. It is the county seat of McHenry County...

, in 1949 and 1950 alongside Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

.

Early roles and stage roles


Bosley played the Knave of Hearts in a Hallmark Hall of Fame
Hallmark Hall of Fame
Hallmark Hall of Fame is an anthology program on American television, sponsored by Hallmark Cards, a Kansas City based greeting card company. The second longest-running television program in the history of television, it has a historically long run, beginning in 1951 and continuing into 2011...

 telecast of Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne
Eva Le Gallienne was a well-known actress, producer, and director, during the first half of the 20th century.-Early life and early career:...

's production of Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland (disambiguation)
Alice in Wonderland may refer to:*Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the 1865 novel written by Lewis Carroll*Through the Looking-Glass, the 1871 sequelNote: many people use "Alice in Wonderland" to refer to both books together-Stage adaptations:...

in 1955. But his breakthrough stage role was New York mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia in the long-running Broadway musical Fiorello!
Fiorello!
Fiorello! is a musical about New York City mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia, a reform Republican who took on Tammany Hall. The book is by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott, drawn substantially from the 1955 volume Life With Fiorello by Ernest Cuneo, with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock...

(1959), for which he won a Tony Award
Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

. In 1994, he originated the role of Maurice in the Broadway version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast (musical)
Beauty and the Beast is a musical with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and a book by Linda Woolverton, based on the 1991 Disney film of the same name. Seven new songs were written for the stage musical...

. Bosley also toured as Cap'n Andy in Harold Prince's 1994 revival of Show Boat
Show Boat
Show Boat is a musical in two acts with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. It was originally produced in New York in 1927 and in London in 1928, and was based on the 1926 novel of the same name by Edna Ferber. The plot chronicles the lives of those living and working...

.

His first motion picture role was in 1963, as the would-be suitor of Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood, born Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko was an American film and television actress. After first working in films as a child, Wood became a successful Hollywood star as a young adult, receiving three Academy Award nominations before she was 25 years old.Wood began acting in movies at the...

 in Love with the Proper Stranger
Love with the Proper Stranger
Love with the Proper Stranger is a 1963 romantic comedy drama film made by Pakula-Mulligan Productions and Boardwalk Productions and released by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Robert Mulligan and produced by Alan J. Pakula from a screenplay by Arnold Schulman.The film stars Natalie Wood,...

.
Other films include The World of Henry Orient
The World of Henry Orient
The World of Henry Orient is a 1964 American comedy film based on the novel of the same name by Nora Johnson. It was directed by George Roy Hill and stars Peter Sellers, Paula Prentiss, Angela Lansbury, Tippy Walker, Merrie Spaeth, Phyllis Thaxter, Bibi Osterwald, and Tom Bosley.Filming started in...

, Divorce American Style
Divorce American Style
Divorce American Style is a 1967 American satirical comedy film directed by Bud Yorkin.Norman Lear produced the film and wrote the script based on a story by Robert Kaufman...

, Yours, Mine and Ours
Yours, Mine and Ours (1968 film)
For the remake of this film starring Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo see Yours, Mine and Ours Yours, Mine and Ours is a 1968 film, directed by Melville Shavelson and starring Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda and Van Johnson...

, Gus
Gus (film)
Gus is a 1976 American film by Walt Disney Productions. Its center character is Gus, a football-playing mule.- Plot :Gus is a film about a football-kicking mule and his trainer "Andy" ....

and the made-for-television The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal
The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal
The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal is a 1979 film about the March 25, 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, in which 146 garment workers died and which spurred the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union....

. Bosley shared a heartfelt story about his experience with the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 in the documentary film Paper Clips.
Among his early television appearances was in 1960 on the CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 summer replacement series, Diagnosis: Unknown
Diagnosis: Unknown
Diagnosis: Unknown is an American medical drama that aired on CBS from July 5 to September 20, 1960. Produced by Bob Banner, the series aired as a summer replacement for The Garry Moore Show, a variety program.-Synopsis:...

, with Patrick O'Neal. In 1962, he portrayed Assistant District Attorney Ryan in the episode "The Man Who Wanted to Die" on James Whitmore
James Whitmore
James Allen Whitmore, Jr. was an American film and stage actor.-Early life:Born in White Plains, New York, to Florence Belle and James Allen Whitmore, Sr., a park commission official, Whitmore attended Amherst Central High School in Snyder, New York, before graduating from The Choate School in...

's ABC legal drama The Law and Mr. Jones
The Law and Mr. Jones
The Law and Mr. Jones is a 45-episode half-hour television crime drama starring James Whitmore. The series aired on ABC in two nonconsecutive seasons from October 7, 1960, to September 22, 1961, and again from April 19 to July 5, 1962...

. In 1969, he appeared in a comical episode of The Virginian
The Virginian (TV series)
The Virginian is an American Western television series starring James Drury and Doug McClure, which aired on NBC from 1962 to 1971 for a total of 249 episodes. Filmed in color, The Virginian became television's first 90-minute western series...

.

Happy Days and other notable film and television roles


Bosley's best known role was the character Howard Cunningham, Richie and Joanie Cunningham
Joanie Cunningham
Joanie Louise Cunningham Arcola is a fictional character, played in an episode of the anthology series Love, American Style by Susan Neher and on the sitcoms Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi by Erin Moran. She was the daughter of Howard and Marion Cunningham, and the younger sister of Chuck...

's father, in the long-running sitcom Happy Days
Happy Days
Happy Days is an American television sitcom that originally aired from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984, on ABC. Created by Garry Marshall, the series presents an idealized vision of life in mid-1950s to mid-1960s America....

. Bosley was also known for portraying Sheriff Amos Tupper on Murder, She Wrote
Murder, She Wrote
Murder, She Wrote is an American television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher. The series aired for 12 seasons from 1984 to 1996 on the CBS network, with 264 episodes transmitted. It was followed by four TV films and a spin-off series,...

. He also portrayed the eponymous Father Frank Dowling on the TV mystery series, Father Dowling Mysteries
Father Dowling Mysteries
Father Dowling Mysteries is an American television mystery series that appeared between November 30, 1987 and May 2, 1991. For its first season, the show was on NBC; it moved to ABC network for its last two seasons...

. Among myriad television appearances, one notable early performance was in the "Eyes" segment of the 1969 pilot episode of Rod Serling
Rod Serling
Rodman Edward "Rod" Serling was an American screenwriter, novelist, television producer, and narrator best known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone. Serling was active in politics, both on and off the screen and helped form...

's Night Gallery
Night Gallery
Night Gallery is an American anthology series that aired on NBC from 1970 to 1973, featuring stories of horror and the macabre. Rod Serling, who had gained fame from an earlier series, The Twilight Zone, served both as the on-air host of Night Gallery and as a major contributor of scripts, although...

, directed by Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 and starring Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford , born Lucille Fay LeSueur, was an American actress in film, television and theatre....

.

Bosley also starred in the 2008 Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Channel
The Hallmark Channel is a cable television network that broadcasts across the United States. Their programming includes a mix of television movies/miniseries, syndicated series, and lifestyle shows that are appropriate for the whole family...

 television movie Charlie & Me
Charlie & Me
Charlie & Me is a made-for-tv movie that premiered on Hallmark Channel on January 5, 2008. Filmed on location in Ontario, Canada, the movie stars Tom Bosley as the title character and Jordy Benattar as his granddaughter.-Plot:...

. In 2010, he appeared in The Backup Plan starring Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lynn Lopez is an American actress, singer, record producer, dancer, television personality, and fashion designer. Lopez began her career as a dancer on the television comedy program In Living Color. Subsequently venturing into acting, she gained recognition in the 1995 action-thriller...

, which was his final film.

In 1984, Bosley guest-hosted the "Macy's
Macy's
Macy's is a U.S. chain of mid-to-high range department stores. In addition to its flagship Herald Square location in New York City, the company operates over 800 stores in the United States...

 Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular" with local newscaster Pat Harper
Pat Harper
Patricia "Pat" Harper was an American television news anchor and reporter, and a fixture for nearly two decades on two New York City television stations...

.

Voice over roles


Also a voice actor, Bosley hosted The General Mills Radio Adventure Theater
The General Mills Radio Adventure Theater
The General Mills Radio Adventure Theater was a 1977 anthology radio drama series with Tom Bosley as host. Himan Brown, already producing the CBS Radio Mystery Theater for the network, added this twice-weekly anthology radio drama series to his workload in 1977...

, a 1977 radio drama series for children. He voiced many cartoon characters, including Harry Boyle in the animated series Wait Till Your Father Gets Home
Wait Till Your Father Gets Home
Wait Till Your Father Gets Home was an animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera that aired in first-run syndication in the United States from 1972 to 1974...

. He provided the voice of the title character in the 1980s cartoon The World of David the Gnome
The World of David the Gnome
The World of David the Gnome, originally titled David el Gnomo , is a Spanish animated television series based on the children's book The Secret Book of Gnomes, by the Dutch author Wil Huygen and illustrator Rien Poortvliet...

and the shop owner Mr. Winkle
Mr. Winkle
Mr. Winkle is the name of a very small dog of uncertain breed whose cute and comical appearance has made him a small marketing phenomenon and an international cult figure representing the beauty, charm and potential of homeless animals.He was rescued as a stray by his current owner, Lara Jo...

 in the children's Christmas special The Tangerine Bear. He also narrated the movie documentary series That's Hollywood. Additionally, he played the narrator B.A.H. Humbug in the Rankin/Bass
Rankin/Bass
Rankin/Bass Productions, Inc. , also known as Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment, was an American production company, known for its seasonal television specials, particularly its work in stop-motion animation. The pre-1974 library is currently owned by Classic Media,while the post-1974 library is...

 animated Christmas special The Stingiest Man In Town
The Stingiest Man In Town
The Stingiest Man in Town is a Christmas special created by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass, which featured traditional animation rather than the Animagic most often used by the company...

. Bosley was also the voice of Mister Geppetto
Mister Geppetto
Mister Geppetto is a fictional character in the novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. Geppetto is an elderly, impoverished woodcarver and the creator of Pinocchio...

, Pinocchio's 'dad' in Filmation
Filmation
Filmation Associates was an American production company that produced animation and live action programming for television during the latter half of the 20th century. Located in Reseda, California, the animation studio was founded in 1963...

's Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night
Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night
Pinocchio and the Emperor of The Night is a 1987 animated film that was released on December 25, 1987 by New World Pictures. and is a unofficial sequel to Pinocchio . Created by the now defunct Filmation Studios, the movie underperformed at the box office, having a cost of $10 million but making...

, released in 1987.

Commercials


During the 1970s and 1980s, Bosley did several commercials for the Glad Sandwich and Garbage Bags.

Tom Bosley did radio commercials for the new Saturn Car Company a "different kind of car company," in 1990.

Later in life he was the television spokesman for SMC (Specialty Merchandise Corporation), a national wholesaler and dropshipper.

Bosley was also the “ face “ of LifeBack USA helping bring the benefits of Life Settlements to seniors, having himself sold an unwanted life insurance policy during his later life.

Death


Bosley died of heart failure on October 19, 2010, at a hospital in Rancho Mirage, California
Rancho Mirage, California
Rancho Mirage is a resort city in Riverside County, California, United States. The population was 17,218 at the 2010 census, up from 13,249 at the 2000 census, but the seasonal population can exceed 20,000. In between Cathedral City and Palm Desert, it is one of the eight cities of the Coachella...

 near his home in Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs is a desert city in Riverside County, California, within the Coachella Valley. It is located approximately 37 miles east of San Bernardino, 111 miles east of Los Angeles and 136 miles northeast of San Diego...

. He was 83 years old. His agent, Sheryl Abrams, said Bosley had been battling lung cancer
Lung cancer
Lung cancer is a disease characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung. If left untreated, this growth can spread beyond the lung in a process called metastasis into nearby tissue and, eventually, into other parts of the body. Most cancers that start in lung, known as primary...

. His remains are interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills.

External links