'Happy Days' father, Tom Bosley, dies at 83

Wednesday October 20, 2010

Tom Bosley, TV’s iconic father from hit show Happy Days, has passed away at his California home at the age of 83 after losing his battle with lung cancer.

Henry Winkler - aka The Fonz - has led tributes.

"He was our television father on the sound stage, but a father figure in real life".

Getting his start on Broadway, the Chicago-born actor impressed critics as a newcomer in the Big Apple and won a Tony Award for his role in the Pulitzer-Prize winning play Fiorello! in 1959.

But it was his role as the beloved Howard Cunningham in Happy Days – or Mr C as he was affectionately called by the Fonz - that made the actor a household name and catapaulted him to fame.

The show which began in 1974 and ran for a total of 11 seasons was a welcome reprieve in a post-Vietnam America portraying a nostalgic image of a 1950's middle-class family.

No one-hit-wonder however, the actor went on to appear on succesful shows Murder, She Wrote and The Father Dowling Mysteries.

He is survived by his wife Patricia, daughter Amy, two stepdaughters, Kimberly and Jamie, and seven grandchildren.

Film director Ron Howard, who played Howard Cunningham's son Richie in the show, has also paid homage.

"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," he said.

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