Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tom Bosley R.I.P.

Tom Bosley, who appeared in such films as Love with the Proper Stranger, The World of Henry Orient, and Divorce American Style, as well as starring in the TV series Happy Days and The Father Dowling Mysteries, passed yesterday at the age of  83. The cause was lung cancer.

Tom Bolsey was born in Chicago on October 1, 1927. During World War II he served in the United States Navy. After he was demobilised in 1947, Mr. Bosley returned to Chicago where he enrolled in classes at DePaul University in hopes of becoming a sportscaster. While there he made his acting debut with the Canterbury Players at the Fine Arts Theatre in a production of Our Town. He would also play the Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock, Illinois alongside Paul Newman.

In 1955 Mr. Bosley made his television debut on The Hallmark Hall of Fame in a production of "Alice in Wonderland." He made his debut on Broadway in 1958 The Power and the Glory. In 1959 he appeared on Broadway in the play The Beaux Stratagem. It was that year that his big break would come. He was cast Mayor Fiorello La Guardia of New York City in the musical Fiorello! For his role in the play Mr. Bosley won the 1960 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical.  Over the next few years Tom Bosley guest starred on such shows as Play of the Week, Hallmark Hall of Fame, The Law and Mr. Jones, Car 54 Where Are You, The Naked City, and Route 66. On Broadway he appeared in the plays Nowhere to Go But Up (1962) and Natural Affection (1963).

Tom Bosley made his film debut in Love with the Proper Stranger (1963), in which he played Anthony Columbo, the clumsy but sweet owner of a small restaurant. For the remainder of the Sixties Mr. Bosley would work in the movies, television, and on Broadway. He appeared in such films as The World of Henry Orient (1964), Divorce American Style (1967), The Bang-Bang Kid (1967), The Secret War of Henry Frigg (1968), and Yours Mine and Ours (1968). He was a regular on the short lived sitcom The Debbie Reynolds Show. He guest starred on such shows as Dr. Kildare, Profiles in Courage, Ben Casey, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., The F.B.I., Get Smart, The Virginian, and Bonanza. On Broadway he appeared in A Murderer Among Us  (1964), Catch Me If You Can (1965), and  The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N (1968).

In the Seventies Mr. Bosley would be a regular on The Sandy Duncan Show and Howard Cunningham on the long running sitcom Happy Days. He was the voice of lead character Harry Boyle on the animated series Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. He guest starred on such shows as Night Gallery, The Name of the Game, Bewitched, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, The Sixth Sense, Medical Centre, The Paul Lynde Show, Maude, Love American Style, McMillan and WifeInsight, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Ellery Queen, and The Streets of San Francisco. He appeared in the films To Find a Man (1972), Mixed Company (1974), and Gus (1976).

In the Eighties Tom Bosley was a regular on Murder She Wrote, playing Sheriff Amos Tupper. He also played the lead role in The Father Dowling Mysteries. He was the voice of David the Gnome in the animated series of the same name. He guest starred on such shows as Tales of the Unexpected, Hotel, and Out of This World. He appeared in the films O'Hara's Wife and Million Dollar Mystery. From the Nineties into the Naughts, Mr. Bosley guest starred on such shows as Burke's Law, The Drew Carey Show, Johnny Bravo, Port Charles, Maggie, Jack and Jill, Family Law, and One Tree Hill. He returned to Broadway in Beauty and the Beast (1994) and a revival of Cabaret (1998). His last work was as the voice of Santa Paws in the movie Santa Buddies (2009).

Many might best remember Tom Bosley as Howard Cunningham on Happy Days, but he did so much more. Indeed, he was a very prolific actor who appeared in movies, on television, and on Broadway. Indeed, I remember Mr. Bosley best not as Mr. C, but from his very film roles: Columbo in Love with the Proper Stranger, Frank Boyd in The World of Henry Orient, and Farley in Divorce American Style. It should be little wonder that Mr. Bosley should have such a long and prolific career playing in three different media. He was a gifted actor, particularly as comedy. He had a perfect sense of timing that was unmatched by most actors, and he was equally good whether playing the straight man or the gag man. He was also a consummate professional who was loved by everyone who worked with him. Indeed, it is a testament to Tom Bosley that he would have a character in one of the most popular shows from the Seventies named for him. Aaron Spelling named "Bosley" on Charlie's Angels for Mr. Bosley and even wanted him to play the role (ultimately played by David Doyle). Unfortunately for Mr. Spelling, Tom Bosley had turn him down as he was already in the hit show Happy Days. So talented and beloved was Mr. Bosley that he would inspire a character based on himself

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