Bonnie Franklin, best known for a playing single mom to two teenage daughters on the long-running CBS sitcom One Day At A Time, died this morning. She was 69. The actress and singer, who worked on stage, film and TV (she made her TV debut at age 9 on the Colgate Comedy Hour) and also directed several TV episodes during her career, disclosed last fall that she had pancreatic cancer. Born in Santa Monica, Franklin guest starred on several series and TV movies in the 1970s, and scored a Tony nomination in 1970 for starring in the musical Applause. In 1975 she landed the lead role of Ann Romano on the Norman Lear-developed sitcom One Day At A Time, starring alongside Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips as her daughters and Pat Harrington as their wisecracking super. The series ran from 1975-1984 and tackled several social issues like teen pregnancy as it humorously charted a single mom’s struggles raising two kids. Franklin was nominated for an Emmy and two Golden Globes for the role. She starred in several TV movies during that stretch, including as women’s health activist Margaret Sanger in 1980’s Portrait Of A Rebel: The Remarkable Mrs. Sanger. That year she married producer Marvin Minoff, and they were together for 29 years until his death in November 2009.
Franklin later traveled with her own cabaret show and worked extensively in regional and educational theatre, founding the nonprofit Classic and Contemporary American Plays, which aims to introduce and implement great American plays into inner city schools’ curriculum.
One of her most recent TV roles reunited her with Bertinelli for a guest stint on TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland in 2011.
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