Tom Bosley, “Mr. Cunningham” Dies

LOS ANGELES —First we lost our “Supermom” Barbara Billingsley, aka June Cleaver, now our Superdad.

Tom Bosley, whose long acting career, highlighted by his most famous role as “Mr. C.” on the top rated 1970’s comedy sitcom, ‘Happy Days’ has died. He was 83.

Bosley died of heart failure at a hospital near his Palm Springs home. Bosley’s agent, Sheryl Abrams, said he was also battling lung cancer.

Bosley was ranked by TV Guide as #9 in the “50 Greatest TV Dads” in 2004. ‘Happy Days’ began in 1974 and ran for 11 seasons.

“Tom’s insight, talent, strength of character and comic timing made him a vital central figure in the ‘Happy Days’ experience. A great father and husband, and a wonderful artist, Tom led by example and made us all laugh while he was doing it. My last conversations with Tom reflected the love of life and peace of mind that he always maintained throughout his full and rewarding life. I miss him already,” said Ron Howard, who played Bosley’s son, Richie Cunningham.

“He was my husband for ll years and the father of the company in many ways. He was so smart, he could fix the end of a joke or a scene on the spot. We made a perfect couple. I played piccolo to his tuba,” said Marion Ross, who played Marion Cunningham on the show.

After “Happy Days” ended, Bosley moved to a recurring role in “Murder, She Wrote” as Sheriff Amos Tupper. He also was the crime-solving priest in television’s “The Father Dowling Mysteries,” which ran from 1989 to 1991.

He, at first, turned down the role he was offered on ‘Happy Days’.

“After rereading the pilot script,” he said in a 1986 interview, “I changed my mind because of a scene between Howard Cunningham and Richie. The father/son situation was written so movingly, I fell in love with the project.” We are truly grateful he did.

We will miss you Mr. C.

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