NEW YORK (AP) — 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 due to complications from pancreatic cancer, family members said. She was 69. Her family had announced she was diagnosed with cancer in September.
Franklin was a veteran stage and television performer before "One Day At a Time" made her a star. Developed by Norman Lear and co-created by Whitney Blake (herself a former sitcom star and single mother raising future actress Meredith Baxter), the series was groundbreaking for its focus on a young divorced mother seeking independence from a suffocating marriage. It premiered on CBS in December 1975, just five years after the network had balked at having Mary Tyler Moore play a divorcee 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. During the first seven of its nine seasons on the air, the show was a Top 20 hit.
After reading some stories on Mckenzie Phillips and one of her Autobigraphies, I have never been able to watch the reruns the same again after reading some the back stage antics of the entire cast. Phillips was a little annoyed that with all the antics of the cast, she was singled out for a drug problem that was shared by many of the cast and crew. There are a few good stories in the book about Valeria Bertinalli who was viewed as being little miss innocent on the show--According to the book--she was very nice girl, but was not as innocent as some would like to believe