Thomas Edward Bosley (October 1, 1927 – October 19, 2010) was an American actor, television personality, comedian and entertainer. Bosley is best known for portraying Howard Cunningham on the 1970s ABC sitcom Happy Days, and the title character on the NBC/ABC series Father Dowling Mysteries. He also was featured in a recurring role on Murder, She Wrote. He originated the title role of the Broadway musical Fiorello!, earning the 1960 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical.
Bosley in September 1960
Thomas Edward Bosley
October 1, 1927
|Died||October 19, 2010 83) (aged|
|Resting place||Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery|
|Residence||Palm Springs, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||DePaul University|
Murder, She Wrote
Father Dowling Mysteries
(m. 1962; died 1978)
Patricia Carr (m. 1980)
He attended Lake View High School in Chicago, and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. While attending DePaul University in Chicago in 1947, he made his stage debut in Our Town with the Canterbury Players at the Fine Arts Theatre. Bosley performed at the Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock, Illinois, in 1949 and 1950 alongside Paul Newman.
Early roles and stage roles
Bosley played the Knave of Hearts in a Hallmark Hall of Fame telecast of Eva Le Gallienne's production of Alice in Wonderland in 1955. But his breakthrough stage role was New York mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia in the long-running Broadway musical Fiorello! (1959), for which he won a Tony Award.
Bosley's first motion picture role was in 1963, as the would-be suitor of Natalie Wood in Love with the Proper Stranger. Other films include The World of Henry Orient; Divorce American Style; Yours, Mine and Ours; Gus and the made-for-television The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal. Bosley shared a heartfelt story about his own experience with the Holocaust in the documentary film Paper Clips.
Among his early television appearances was in 1960 on the CBS summer replacement series, Diagnosis: Unknown, with Patrick O'Neal. In 1962, he portrayed Assistant District Attorney Ryan in the episode "The Man Who Wanted to Die" on James Whitmore's ABC legal drama The Law and Mr. Jones. Also in 1962, Bosley played Teddy opposite Tony Randall and Boris Karloff in Arsenic & Old Lace for the Hallmark Hall of Fame. About this time, he was a guest star on the NBC police sitcom, Car 54, Where Are You? He also appeared on episodes of Bonanza, Bewitched, Get Smart, The Silent Force, The Streets of San Francisco, Night Gallery, A Touch of Grace, and The Love Boat. In 1969, Bosley appeared in a comical episode of The Virginian, entitled "Crime Wave in Buffalo Springs," appearing alongside fellow guest-stars James Brolin, Yvonne De Carlo, Carrie Snodgress, Gary Vinson, with Virginian regulars David Hartman and Doug McClure.
Happy Days and other film and television roles
Bosley's best-known role was the character Howard Cunningham in the sitcom Happy Days. He portrayed Sheriff Amos Tupper on Murder, She Wrote and the eponymous Father Frank Dowling on Father Dowling Mysteries. Among myriad television appearances, one notable early performance was in the "Eyes" segment of the 1969 pilot of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Joan Crawford. In 1977, he appeared in the miniseries Testimony of Two Men and, in 1978, he played the role of Benjamin Franklin in the television mini-series The Bastard, a role he replayed the following year in the sequel The Rebels.
His film appearances included roles in Love with the Proper Stranger (1963), The World of Henry Orient (1964), Divorce American Style (1967), Bang Bang Kid (1967), The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968), Yours, Mine and Ours (1968), To Find a Man (1972), Mixed Company (1974), The Night That Panicked America (1975), Gus (1976), The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal (1979), O'Hara's Wife (1982), Million Dollar Mystery (1987) and Wicked Stepmother (1989).
Bosley starred in the 2008 Hallmark Channel television movie Charlie & Me. In 2010, he appeared in The Back-up Plan and Santa Buddies, which were his final films. In 1984, he guest-hosted the "Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular" with local newscaster Pat Harper.
Bosley was known for his unique gravelly voice, leading to a number of voice acting roles. He narrated the syndicated television documentary That's Hollywood (1976–82). He hosted The General Mills Radio Adventure Theater, a 1977 radio drama series for children. He voiced many cartoon characters, including Harry Boyle in the animated series Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. Bosley was the voice of B.A.H. Humbug in the 1978 Rankin & Bass holiday special The Stingiest Man in Town. He provided the voice of the title character in the 1980s cartoon The World of David the Gnome and the shop owner Mr. Winkle in the children's Christmas special The Tangerine Bear.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Bosley did several commercials for Glad Sandwich and Garbage Bags. He made radio commercials for the new Saturn car company, a "different kind of car company," in 1990. Later in life, he was the television spokesman for SMC (Specialty Merchandise Corporation), a national wholesaler and drop shipper.
Bosley died from complications of a staph infection on October 19, 2010, at a hospital in Rancho Mirage, California, near his home in Palm Springs, California. His agent, Sheryl Abrams, said Bosley had been battling lung cancer. He was survived by his wife, former actress Patricia Carr. He was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills Cemetery.
Happy Days lawsuit
On April 19, 2011, Bosley's estate and four of his Happy Days co-stars, Erin Moran, Don Most, Marion Ross, and Anson Williams, filed a $10 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS, which owns the show, claiming they had not been paid for merchandising revenues owed under their contracts. The cast members claimed they had not received revenues from show-related items, including comic books, T-shirts, scrapbooks, trading cards, games, lunchboxes, dolls, toy cars, magnets, greeting cards, and DVDs where their images appear on the box covers. Under their contracts, they were supposed to be paid five percent from the net proceeds of merchandising if their sole image were used, and half that amount if they were in a group. CBS said it owed the actors $8,500 and $9,000 each, most of it from slot machine revenues, but the group said they were owed millions. The lawsuit was initiated after Ross was informed by a friend playing slots at a casino of a "Happy Days" machine on which players win the jackpot when five Marion Rosses are rolled.
In October 2011, a judge rejected the group's fraud claim, which if proved could have garnered them millions of dollars in punitive damages, above and beyond any actual damages proven. On June 5, 2012, a judge denied a motion filed by CBS to have the case thrown out, which meant it would go to trial on July 17 if the matter was not settled by then. In July 2012, the actors settled their lawsuit with CBS. Each received a payment of $65,000 and a promise by CBS to continue honoring the terms of their contracts.
Filmography and stage roles
|1963||Love with the Proper Stranger||Anthony Colombo|
|1964||The World of Henry Orient||Frank Boyd|
|1967||Divorce American Style||Farley|
|Bang Bang Kid||Meriweather P. Newberry|
|1968||The Secret War of Harry Frigg||Gen. Roscoe Pennypacker|
|Yours, Mine and Ours||Family Doctor|
|1972||To Find a Man||Dr. Katchaturian|
|1982||O'Hara's Wife||Frank O'Hara|
|1987||Million Dollar Mystery||Sidney Preston|
|Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night||Geppetto||Voice role|
|The Gnomes' Great Adventure||David the Gnome|
|1989||Wicked Stepmother||Lt. MacIntosh|
|1998||Little Bigfoot 2: The Journey Home||Ranger Tasker|
|2000||The Tangerine Bear||Mr. Winkle||Voice role|
|2002||Returning Mickey Stern||Harry Mankelbaum|
|2004||Felix the Cat Saves Christmas||Santa Claus||Voice role|
|2005||Confession||Father Abbott Sutton|
|Geppetto's Secret||Geppetto||Voice role|
|2006||Mothers and Daughters||Bob|
|2009||Santa Buddies||Santa Paws||Voice role|
|2010||The Back-up Plan||Arthur|
|1955||Alice in Wonderland||Knave of Hearts||Television film|
|TV Reader's Digest||Man in Studebaker Commercial||Episode: "If I Were Rich"|
|1959||The Play of the Week||Dupont-Dufour Jr.||Episode: "Thieves Carnival"|
|1960||Diagnosis: Unknown||Freddie Ziegler||Episode: "The Case of the Radiant Wine"|
|The Right Man||Throttlebottom||Television film|
|Arsenic & Old Lace||Teddy Brewster|
|The Law and Mr. Jones||Assistant D.A. Ryan||Episode: "The Man who Wanted to Die"|
|1963||Car 54, Where Are You?||Reverend Harold Petersen/Archie the Artist||Episode: "The Star Boarder"|
|Naked City||Judge||Episode: "Golden Lads and Girls"|
|Route 66||Jim Horst|
|"Soda Pop and Paper Flags"|
"Same Picture, Different Frame"
|"The Witch of the East Wing"|
"Rites of Spring"
|1964||A Very Close Family||Son||Television film|
|The DuPont Show of the Week||Howard||Episode: "The Gambling Heart"|
|1965||Dr. Kildare||Harry Markham||Episode: "All Brides Should Be Beautiful"|
|Profiles in Courage||George William Norris||Episode: "George W. Norris"|
|Ben Casey||Timothy Michael MacMurrough||Episode: "Did Your Mother Come from Ireland, Ben Casey?"|
|The Defenders||Charlie Barry||Episode: "The Bum's Rush"|
|1966||Jericho||Percy Vandercook||Episode: "Dutch and Go"|
|The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.||Quantum||Episode: "The Faustus Affair"|
|1968||The F.B.I.||John Clanton||Episode: "Ring of Steel"|
|Get Smart||Emil Farkas||Episode: "The Farkas Fracas"|
|"The Last Vote"|
"A Lawman's Lot is Not a Happy One"
|1969||The Virginian||Nat Trumbull||Episode: "Crime Wave in Buffalo Springs"|
|The Mod Squad||John Wells||Episode: "A Run for the Money"|
|Marcus Welby, M.D.||Tiny Baker||Episode: "A Matter of Humanities"|
|1969-1970||The Debbie Reynolds Show||Bob Landers||Series regular|
|1969-1971||Night Gallery||Sidney Resnick|
|"The Cemetery/Eyes/The Escape Route"|
"Make Me Laugh/Clean Kills and Other Trophies"
|1970||The Bill Cosby Show||Cookie Moharg||Episode: "The Gumball Incident"|
|The Most Deadly Game||George||Episode: "Breakdown"|
|The Silent Force||Binachi||Episode: "In By Nine, Out By Five"|
|1970-1973||Love, American Style||Dr. Y.A. Harris|
|"Love and the Uncoupled Couple"|
"Love and the Artful Codger"
"Love and the Old-Fashioned Father"
"Love and the Comedienne"
|1970-1971||The Name of the Game||Charley Reid|
|"A Love to Remember"|
"Seek and Destroy"
|1971||A Step Out of Line||Jack Berger||Television film|
|Bewitched||Ferdy||Episode: "Samantha's Magic Mirror"|
|Mission: Impossible||Henry Matula||Episode: "Blind"|
|Funny Face||Used Car Dealer||Episode: "The Used Car"|
|Congratulations, It's a Boy!||Herb||Television film|
|Sarge||Stanley Miller||Episode: "Psst! Wanna Buy a Dirty Picture?"|
|The New Dick Van Dyke Show||Mr. O'Hare||Episode: "A Home is Not a Home, Yet"|
|Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones||Mr. Jones||Television film|
|1972||Me and the Chimp||Goodrich||Episode: "The Paint Job"|
|Bobby Jo and the Good Time Band||Mayor||Television movie|
|No Place to Run||Dr. Golinski||Television movie|
|Banyon||Steve Corbett||Episode: "The Graveyard Vote"|
|The Sixth Sense||Albert||Episode: "The Eyes that Wouldn't Die"|
|The Sandy Duncan Show||Bert Quinn||Main cast|
|1972-1974||Wait Till Your Father Gets Home||Harry Boyle||Lead role|
|1973||Temperatures Rising||Gibson||Episode: "Black is Beautiful"|
|Medical Center||Howard Spirling||Episode: "Judgement"|
|The Paul Lynde Show||Congressman Landis||Episode: "The Congressman's Son"|
|Maude||Dr. Tasko||Episode: "Maude and the Medical Profession"|
|A Touch of Grace||Preacher||Episode: "The Lodge"|
|Chase||Axel Sullivan||Episode: "Gang War"|
|Tenafly||Dave Barker||Episode: "Joyride to Nowhere"|
|McMillan & Wife||Sam Hamilton||Episode: "Freefall to Terror"|
|Miracle on 34th Street||Judge Harper||Television film|
|1973-1976||The Streets of San Francisco||Saretti|
"Dead or Alive"
|1974||The Girl Who Came Gift-Wrapped||Harold||Television film|
|Death Cruise||David Mason||Television film|
|1974-1984||Happy Days||Howard Cunningham||Main cast|
Nominated- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
|1975||Who is the Black Dahlia?||Bevo Means||Television film|
|Insight||Incredible Man||Episode: "The Incredible Man"|
|The Last Survivors||Marcus Damian||Television film|
|Kolchak: The Night Stalker||Jack Flaherty||Episode: "The Sentry"|
|Ellery Queen||Bud Armstrong||Episode: "The Adventure of the Comic Book Crusader"|
|The Night That Panicked America||Norman Smith||Television film|
|Mobile One||John Brewster||Episode: "The Crusader"|
|1976||The Love Boat||George Havlicek||Pilot film|
|1977||Testimony of Two Men||Dr. Lewis Hedler||Miniseries|
|Black Market Baby||Dr. Andrew Brantford||Television film|
|1978||With This Ring||Edward Edwards||Television movie|
|The Bastard||Benjamin Franklin||Miniseries|
|The Stingiest Man in Town||B. A. H. Humbug, Esq.||Television special|
|1979||The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal||Morris Feldman||Television film|
|The Castaways on Gilligan's Island||Henry Elliott||Television film|
|The Rebels||Benjamin Franklin||Miniseries|
|The Return of Mod Squad||Frank Webber||Television film|
|1980||For the Love of It||Norman||Television film|
|1982||Tales of the Unexpected||Robert Stackpole||Episode: "Light Fingers"|
|Joanie Loves Chachi||Howard Cunningham||Two episodes|
|1982-1987||The Love Boat||Harry Meacham|
|"Pride of the Pacific/The Viking's Son/Separate Vacations/The Experiment/Getting to Know You"|
"Julie and the Bachelor/Set-Up for Romance/Intensive Care"
"Hidden Treasure/Picture from the Past/Ace's Salary"
"Who Killed Maxwell Thorn?"
|1984||The Jesse Owens Story||Jimmy Hoffa||Television film|
|1984-1988||Murder, She Wrote||Sheriff Amos Tupper||Recurring role|
|1985||Finder of Lost Loves||Malcolm Beck||Episode: "Deadly Silence"|
|Private Sessions||Harry O'Reilly||Television film|
|Glitter||Doc||Episode: "Rock 'n' Roll Heaven"|
|1986||Perry Mason: The Case of the Notorious Nun||Father Chris DeLeon||Television film|
|1987||Fatal Confession: A Father Dowling Mystery||Father Frank Dowling||Television film|
|The World of David the Gnome||David the Gnome||Voice role (English version)|
|1988-1989||Out of This World||Grandpa Zelig||Two episodes|
|1989||Fire and Rain||Derryl Price||Television film|
|1989-1991||Father Dowling Mysteries||Father Frank Dowling||Lead role|
|1990||The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage||Lt. Logan||Television film|
|1992||Hearts Are Wild||Sam Fesman||Episode: "The Catch"|
|1993||ABC Weekend Special||Carl W. Clemmer||Episode: "The Parsley Garden"|
|"King Ten Pen/Runaway Angelica"|
"Murmur on the Ornery Express"
|1994||Burke's Law||Dr. Burke||Episode: "Who Killed Alexander the Great?"|
|Heaven Help Us||Albert||Episode: "Lovers Lullaby"|
|1996||The Drew Carey Show||Mr. Bobeck||Episode: "Mimi's Day Parade"|
|Boy Meets World||Himself||Episode: "I Was a Teenage Spy"|
|1997||Johnny Bravo||Santa Claus||Voice role|
Episode: "'Twas the Night"
|1999||Early Edition||Uncle Vic||Episode: "Just One of Those Things"|
|Port Charles||Burt||One episode|
|Maggie||Father George||Episode: "Uh-oh Baby"|
|2000||Jack & Jill||Bernie||Episode: "Lovers and Other Strangers"|
|Walker, Texas Ranger||Minister||Two episodes|
|2001||Jason and the Heroes of Mount Olympus||Jupiter||Main cast|
|2001||ER||Walter Nikolaides||Two episodes|
|Legend of the Candy Cane||Franklin Holz||Voice role|
|Family Law||Kyle Mason||Episode: "Angel's Flight"|
|2002||Touched by an Angel||Elmer||Episode: "The Blue Angel"|
|Mary Christmas||Les Turner||Television film|
|2004||It's All Relative||Father Joseph||Episode: "Fight for Your Invite to Party"|
|Christmas at Water's Edge||Harry||Television film|
|2005||Still Standing||Dr. S.T. Bloom||Episode: "Still Holding"|
|The Fallen Ones||Rabbi Eli Schmitt||Television film|
|One Tree Hill||Mel McFadden||Episode: "Champagne for My Real Friends, Real Pain for My Sham Friends"|
|Family Guy||Howard Cunningham||Voice role|
Episode: "The Father, the Son and the Holy Fonz"
|2006||Nobody's Watching||Tom Bosley||Television pilot|
|Hidden Places||Wakefield||Television film|
|That '70s Show||Dr. Hammond||Episode: "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"|
|2008||Charlie & Me||Charlie||Television film|
|2010||Betsy's Kindergarten Adventures||Principal Richard Warner||Voice role|
Episode: "The People in Our Community: Introducing the Police Department"
|1958||The Power and the Glory||Villager, Prisoner, Indian||Broadway|
|1959||The Beaux' Stratagem||Scrub||Broadway|
|1962||Nowhere to Go But Up||Izzy Einstein||Broadway|
|1963||Natural Affection||Vince Brinkman||Broadway|
|1964||A Murderer Among Us||Cabouche||Broadway|
|1965||Catch Me If You Can||Performer||Broadway|
|1968||The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N||Hyman Kaplan||Broadway|
|1994||Beauty and the Beast||Maurice||Broadway|
|1996||Show Boat||Cap'n Andy||national tour|
|2006||On Golden Pond||Norman Thayer, Jr.||national tour|
- Glover, William (October 25, 1959). "Newcomer Tom Bosley plays famous mayor in 'Fiorello'". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. p. 2.
- "Happy Days Actor Tom Bosley Dies". Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on October 22, 2010. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- "Tom Bosley: A 'Golden Pond' of Memories". The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. October 26, 2006. Retrieved December 13, 2006.
- Bloom, Nate (September 16, 2008). "Jewish Stars". Cleveland Jewish News.
- The Broadway League. "Fiorello! details at". IBDb.com. Retrieved August 31, 2010.
- IMBD Page, The Virginian, Season 7, episode 17 - "Crime Wave in Buffalo Springs
- WPIX-TV coverage of "The M*A*C*Y*S 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular", July 4, 1984.
- "SMC". Smcorp.com. Archived from the original on June 15, 2006. Retrieved December 22, 2015.
- "Tom Bosley, Father on 'Happy Days,' Dies at 83", Associated Press via The New York Times, October 19, 2010.
- "Tony-Winning Actor Tom Bosley, Best Known for 'Happy Days', Dies at 83", broadway.com; accessed October 2, 2015.
- Silverman, Stephen M. "Happy Days Star Tom Bosley Dead at 83". People. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
- Zamost, Scott (April 20, 2011). "'Happy Days' actors claim fraud, money owed for merchandising". CNNMoney.
- Gardner, Eriq (June 5, 2012). "'Happy Days' Actors Win Key Ruling in CBS Lawsuit". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Scott, Zamost (June 5, 2012). "'Happy Days' cast members' lawsuit heading for trial". CNN.
- Daley, Sean (August 6, 2012). "Chachi done with broke Joanie". New York Post.
- Zamost, Scott (July 7, 2012). "'Happy Days' actors settle lawsuit with CBS". CNN.