Goodbye, Mr. C ... Tom Bosley dies at age 83
Someone dim the lights at Arnold's Drive-In. Lower the flag to half-mast outside the sheriff's office in Cabot Cove. Light a candle at Father's Dowling's old church. Actor Tom Bosley has passed away at age 83.
The man who most famously played Mr. Cunningham on TV's Happy Days had been battling lung cancer, TMZ.com reports.
"I saw him before I ever got to Hollywood on Broadway, and he was great," longtime co-star Henry Winkler told TMZ. "And then I got to act with him for 10 years and he was great. Tom Bosley was our mentor. He was a true artist."
Ron Howard, who played the son to Bosley before levaing the TV series toward the end of its run to pursue a directing career, called Bosley "a great father and husband, and a wonderful artist" in a statement released Tuesday. "My last conversations with Tom reflected the love of life and peace of mind that he always maintained throughout his full and rewarding life," Howard said. "I miss him already."
Along with only Winkler, Bosley appeared in every episode of Happy Days from 1974 to 1984. Fans of the '80s would also remember him as Sheriff Amos Tupper in Murder, She Wrote and as Father Frank Dowling in Father Dowling Mysteries. He also appeared a half dozen times on The Love Boat and originated the role of Belle's father, Maurice, in the Broadway production of the Disney musical Beauty and the Beast.
His first TV/movie credit came in 1959; his last was a role in 2010's The Back-up Plan.
As Mr. Cunningham (or Mr. C), he was ranked No. 9 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" in 2004.
Of all the wise advice dispensed by Mr. C during that decade on the tube, it's the last lines spoken by Tom Bosley in the final scene in the final episode of Happy Days that maybe best sum up how the '80s Nation feels about him:
"Well, what can I say? Both of our children are married now and they're starting out to build lives of their own. And I guess when you reach a milestone like this you have to have to reflect back on, on what you've done and, and what you've accomplished. Marion and I have not climbed Mount Everest or written a great American novel. But we've had the joy of raising two wonderful kids, and watching them and their friends grow up into loving adults. And now, we're gonna have the pleasure of watching them pass that love on to their children. And I guess no man or woman could ask for anything more. So thank you all for being, part of our family... To happy days."