Actress and humanitarian Bonnie Franklin, died at her home on March 1 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. She was 69.
Best known for her role as Ann Romano on the long-running hit CBS series “One Day at a Time,” Franklin helped define the role of single working mothers on television at a time when divorce rates were climbing.
Born Jan. 6, 1944, in Santa Monica, Franklin’s career spanned more than 60 years, making her television debut at 9 on the “Colgate Comedy Hour” and continuing as a young teen on such television shows as “Gidget,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “The Munsters,” among others.
Franklin graduated from Beverly Hills High School and briefly attended Smith College before transferring to UCLA, where she graduated with a bachelor’s in English in 1966. Franklin married playwright Ronald Sossi in 1967, but the couple divorced in 1970. Franklin returned to acting that same year, making her Broadway debut in the musical “Applause,” in which she sang the title song and received a Tony Award nomination.
Her career flourished after landing the starring role in Normal Lear’s “One Day at a Time,” earning multiple Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations during its nine-season run from 1975 to 1984.
While working on the series, Franklin found time for other projects, including returning to the stage and touring with an autobiographical cabaret act in the early 1980s. She also starred in several television movies, most notably as the women’s health advocate Margaret Sanger in the 1980 telefilm, “Portrait of a Rebel: The Remarkable Mrs. Sanger,” which was produced by Marvin Minoff. Franklin married Minoff in 1980, and the couple was together for 29 years until his death in November 2009.
Franklin was a devoted and longtime activist for a wide range of charities and civic-oriented issues, among them AIDS care and research and the Stroke Association of Southern California. In 2001, along with her sister Judy Bush, she founded the nonprofit organization CCAP (Classic and Contemporary American Plays). Partnering with the Los Angeles Unified School District, CCAP introduces and implements great American plays into inner-city schools’ curriculum.
Franklin is survived by mother Claire; stepdaughter Julie (Glenn Mar) Minoff; stepson Jed (Madoka) Minoff; 2 grandchildren; sisters Victoria (Arnold) Kupetz, Judith (Michael) Bush; brothers Bernard (Judy) Franklin, Richard (Stephanie) Franklin.
Donations can be made to CCAP (c-c-a-p.org), 11684 Ventura Blvd., Suite 437, Studio City, CA 91604