Today one of Hollywood’s favorite divorced moms passed away at the age of 69. According to People published today, Bonnie Franklin star of the television comedy series, “One day at a Time” died of pancreatic cancer. “Franklin died at her Los Angeles home, and is survived by her mother, Claire Franklin, and stepchildren Jed Minoff and Julie Minoff.
“The CBS series, which was developed by Norman Lear aired from 1975-1984. Franklin starred as divorced mom Ann Romano, alongside Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli, who played her teenage daughters.”
MBC states, “The series, like other Lear comedies, strove to be topical, progressive, even controversial, and to mix serious issues with more comical elements. At times the mix was less than even, yet it proved to be very popular and “One Day at a Time” was one of the most successful series of the 1970s and 1980s, outlasting many of Lear's other, more highly praised series.”
“Played by Bonnie Franklin, Romano was not TV's first divorced woman or mother (Diana Rigg in “Diana” proceeded her as did Vivian Vance on “The Lucy Show”), but she was probably--to that time--the most realistic. Romano struggled with money, fighting for every penny of the child support that was supposed to come from her frequently deadbeat husband. She struggled with finding a job. And she struggled to be both father and mother to her two children, Julie and Barbara.”
The show resonated with many Americans in the 70s who were also divorced or were in the process of getting a divorce. The show played out topical subjects of interest to the 1970s audience. In real life Bonnie Franklin was divorced and remarried. People stated, “From 1967 to 1970 she was married to the playwright Ronald Sossi, and then from 1980 until his death in 2009, to producer Marvin Minoff. Speaking to The New York Times about their marriage in 1980, Franklin said that she had promised Minoff that their years together would be many things, "but I promised him they weren't going to be boring."
Her TV daughters in turn grow up and divorced in real life. Mackenzie Philips was fired from the show and her character was written out. She was also married twice. She was first, “to rock-group manager Jeffrey Sessler from 1979 to 1981, and [then] to rock guitarist Michael Barakan; now known professionally as Shane Fontayne from 1996 to 2000.”
Valerie Bertinelli was married to Eddie Van Halen. She married Tom Vitale in 2004.
Bertinelli now stars in the TV sitcom "Hot in Cleveland." “Franklin and Bertinelli reunited on the small screen in 2011 when the Franklin played the mother of Bertinelli's character's boyfriend on “Hot in Cleveland.”
Phillips tweeted, "Sending out love and sweet prayers to my 'mom,' the incomparable Bonnie Franklin."