'One Day at a Time' star Bonnie Franklin dead at 69
Bonnie Franklin, the pert, redheaded actress whom millions came to identify with for her role as divorced mom Ann Romano on the long-running sitcom One Day at a Time, has died.
She died Friday at her home in Los Angeles due to complications from pancreatic cancer, family members said. She was 69. Her family had announced she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September.
Franklin was a veteran stage and television performer before One Day At a Time made her a star. It premiered on CBS in December 1975, just five years after the network had balked at having Mary Tyler Moore play a divorced woman on her own comedy series, insisting that newly single Mary Richards be portrayed as having ended her engagement instead.
On her own in Indianapolis, Ann Romano was raising two teenage girls — played by Mackenzie Phillips, already famous for the film American Graffiti, and a previously unknown Valerie Bertinelli. One Day At a Time ran on CBS until 1984, by which time both daughters had grown and married, while Romano had remarried and become a grandmother.
Franklin was a "devoted mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend," her family said in a statement. She also was a longtime activist for a range of charities and civic-oriented issues, among them AIDS care and research and the Stroke Association of Southern California.
In 2001, she and her sister Judy Bush founded the nonprofit Classic and Contemporary American Plays, an organization that introduces great American plays to inner-city schools' curriculum.
A private memorial will be held next week, her family said.