‘Happy Days’ Dad Tom Bosley Dead at 83

Played Richie Cunningham’s father in the long-running ’50s nostalgia sitcom

Last Updated: October 19, 2010 @ 1:37 PM

"Happy Days" patriarch Tom Bosley died of lung cancer on Tuesday in Rancho Mirage, TheWrap has confirmed.

The sitcom star was 83.

Though he would forever be known as "Mr. Cunningham," Bosley scored other small screen successes in a career that spanned six decades.

The doughy character actor also played Sheriff Amos Tupper on 'Murder, She Wrote" and Father Frank Dowling on the TV mystery series,"'Father Dowling Mysteries."

Bosley last appeared in the Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy "The Back-up Plan."

"Tom Bosley was our mentor. He was a true artist … a great husband, and a fabulous father and grandfather. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten," Bosley's "Happy Days" co-star Henry Winkler told TMZ.

For his work on the long-running "Happy Days," Bosley was nominated for two Emmy awards.

Appearing as it did in the post-Watergate era, "Days" looked back nostalgically to a simpler time and place — midwestern America in the '50s and '60s. It became a cornerstone of ABC's Tuesday night line-up, running from 1974-84.

As the hardware salesman father, Bosley made a lasting mark on the television landscape. His dry-humored dad, frequently seen reading his newspaper in an easy chair, remained a fixture on the series, even after Ron Howard, who played his show, left to pursue a career as a film director.

Bosley would send up his sitcom role in a 2005 episode of "The Family Guy."

Among his film roles were supporting parts in "Divorce American Style" (1967), "Love With a Proper Stranger" (1963) and "The World of Henry Orient" (1964).

He also enjoyed a prominent stage career. His portrayal of New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in the Broadway musical "Fiorello!" won him a Tony Award in 1959.

He returned to Broadway in 1994 playing Belle's father in "Beauty and the Beast" and later starred as a riverboat captain in a national touring production of "Show Boat."

Bosley is survived by his wife Patricia Bosley, his brother Richard Bosley, his daughter Amy Baer, stepdaughters Kimberly diBonaventura and Jamie Van Meter and seven grandchildren.


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