Actress Bonnie Franklin, known to TV fans as divorced mom Ann Romano on the '70s sitcom "One Day at a Time," has died at age 69. Her family says her death was due to complications from pancreatic cancer, which Franklin revealed she was battling back in September.
Her longtime manager, Robert Malcolm, confirmed Franklin's death to Yahoo!: "Bonnie died this morning at home, surrounded by her family. She had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in August 2012 and tried everything they could, but nothing worked." A private memorial service is planned for Monday in Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, her family is asking for donations to CCAP, a nonprofit founded by Franklin that brings great American plays to inner-city schools.
Franklin earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her lead role on "One Day at a Time," the groundbreaking 1975-1984 comedy from producer Norman Lear which tackled hard-hitting issues like sexual harrassment, suicide, and premarital sex. The show was a Top 20 hit and made stars of Franklin and her TV daughters, Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli. In 2011, Franklin and Bertinelli reunited on the latter's TV Land sitcom "Hot in Cleveland."
Bertinelli released a statement today after learning of Franklin's death: "My heart is breaking. Bonnie has always been one of the most important women in my life and was a second mother to me. The years on 'One Day at a Time' were some of the happiest of my life, and along with [co-star] Pat [Harrington] and Mackenzie, we were a family in every way. 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."
Phillips, who played Ann's older and more rebellious daughter Julie on "One Day," reacted to Franklin's death today as well. "I am so saddened by the loss of our dear friend, Bonnie Franklin," she said in a statement. "She was just full of light and love. Bonnie will be very much missed by all the people she touched with her love: family, friends, and fans. Please respect the privacy of her wonderful family at this difficult time. We all loved her very much."
Born in Santa Monica in 1944, Franklin made her TV debut on "The Colgate Comedy Hour" at age 9. She earned a Tony nomination in 1970 for her work on the Broadway musical "Applause," and guest starred on "Gidget," "The Munsters," and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." before landing her signature role on "One Day." In that show's final season, Franklin stepped behind the camera to direct a pair of episodes, and went on to helm episodes of "Charles in Charge" and "The Munsters Today."
In recent years, Franklin went back to the theater, founding CCAP and working with Los Angeles-area theater groups to produce staged readings for students; she also played a nun on the CBS soap "The Young and the Restless" earlier this year. Franklin was married to producer Marvin Minoff for 29 years, until his death in 2009. She had no children, but is survived by her 101-year-old mother, Claire.
Watch the opening credits to "One Day at a Time" right here:
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