Tony Award nominee Bonnie Franklin, who played a single mom at the center of the hit TV sitcom One Day At A Time, died Friday of complications from pancreatic cancer at the age of 69.
Valerie Bertinelli, who played the youngest daughter of Bonnie Franklin’s character on the CBS show, said her “heart is breaking” after hearing the news.
“Bonnie has always been one of the most important women in my life and was a second mother to me,” Valerie Bertinelli said.
“She taught me how to navigate this business and life itself with grace and humor, and to always be true to yourself.
“I will miss her terribly.”
Southern California-born Bonnie Franklin broke into show business 60 years ago, appearing on the Colgate Comedy Hour TV show.
She racked up roles on programs such as Gidget, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Munsters before heading out to Broadway after her graduation from UCLA.
Bonnie Franklin’s debut in Applause on stage earned her accolades and a Tony nomination in 1970 in the category of featured actress in a musical.
Eventually, Bonnie Franklin returned to television, including in 1975 landing the breakthrough role of Ann Romano in One Day At A Time. She played a recently divorced mother of two teenage girls who, together, move to Indianapolis to begin a new life.
“Ms. Franklin helped define and illuminate the role of single-working mothers within the cultural landscape,” CBS said in a written statement.
One Day At A Time, produced by Norman Lear, ran for nine seasons.
After it ended, Bonnie Franklin scored some jobs directing and acting, most recently in guest spots on the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland and the soap opera The Young And The Restless.
Bonnie Franklin was the spouse for 29 years of producer Marvin Minoff, who died in 2009, as well as a mother and grandmother.
The actress died Friday in her home surrounded by family and friends, according to CBS.
“She was a GREAT and comforting role model for single mothers, as I was one of them at that same time,” wrote a CNN.com commenter with the handle Gera Merix.
“Bye Bonnie … Have a good trip to heaven.”