Tom Bosley, whose long acting career was highlighted by his hugely popular role as the understanding father on television's nostalgic, top-rated 1970s comedy series Happy Days, has died. He was 83.
Bosley died of heart failure at a hospital near his Palm Springs home. His agent, Sheryl Abrams, said he was also battling lung cancer.
When Happy Days debuted in 1974 and ran for 11 seasons. When he was first offered the co-starring role in the series about teenage life in the 1950s, he turned it down.
"After rereading the pilot script," he recalled in a 1986 interview, "I changed my mind because of a scene between Howard Cunningham and Richie. The father/son situation was written so movingly, I fell in love with the project."
Propelled by America's nostalgia for the simple pleasures of the 1950s, slowly built to hit status, becoming television's top-rated series by its third season.
It also made a star of Henry Winkler, who played hip-talking, motorcycle-riding hoodlum Arthur "Fonzi" Fonzarelli.
His image initially clashed with that of Richie and his "straight" friends. But over the show's 11-season run Fonzarelli would transform himself from high school dropout to successful businessman.
Bosley went on to a recurring role in Murder, She Wrote as Sheriff Amos Tucker, who was often outsmarted by Angela Lansbury's mystery writer, Jessica Fletcher.