Thomas Edward "Tom" Bosley (October 1, 1927 – October 19, 2010) was an American actor. He portrayed Howard Cunningham in Happy Days, as well as the title character on the NBC/ABC series Father Dowling Mysteries. He also was featured in a recurring role on the long-running CBS-TV series Murder, She Wrote. He originated the title role of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Broadway musical "Fiorello!", earning the 1960 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical.[1]


Early life and careerEdit

Born the son of Jewish parents Dora (née Heyman) and Benjamin Bosley.,[2][3] Young Tom served in the United States Navy during World War II, and while attending DePaul University, a Catholic university in Chicago in 1947, he made his stage debut in "Our Town" with the Canterbury Players at the Fine Arts Theatre. He performed at the Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock, Illinois, in 1949 and 1950 alongside Paul Newman, later playing the Knave of Hearts in the telecast of Eva Le Gallienne's production of "Alice in Wonderland" in 1955 for the Hallmark Hall of Fame. His breakthrough stage role was as New York mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia in the long-running Broadway musical "Fiorello!" in 1959 for which he won a Tony Award.

Acting careerEdit

Despite his beginnings on stage, Bosley began graduating to movies and television. He starred in Love with the Proper Stranger with Natalie Wood in 1963, later appearing in The World of Henry Orient, Divorce, American Style, Yours, Mine and Ours, The Bang Bang Kid, The Secret War of Harry Frigg, Gus, The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal, Mixed Company, The Night That Panicked America,Paper Clips, and a 1973 remake of Miracle on 34th Street with Jim Backus, often as amiable friendly characters. His TV appearances include The Law and Mr. Jones, Car 54, Where Are You?, Bonanza, The Virginian, Bewitched, The Streets of San Francisco, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Night Gallery" and "The Love Boat."

In 1973, he auditioned for and was given the part of Howard Cunningham for the actual pilot episode of the ABC-TV series Happy Days, one of the most successful shows of the 70s and 80s. On the show, he played Howard Cunningham, his most famous role in his career and an iconic father for fans of the generation. After the series ended, he portrayed Sheriff Amos Tupper on "Murder, She Wrote" and the eponymous Father Frank Dowling on "Father Dowling Mysteries." In 1994, he originated the role of Maurice in the Broadway version of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." Bosley also toured as Cap'n Andy in Harold Prince's 1994 revival of 'Show Boat."

During the 1970s and 1980s, Bosley was the commercial spokesman for Glad Sandwich and Garbage Bags. He also made radio commercials for the new Saturn Car Company. Known for his unique gravelly voice, Bosley also did voice-over work narrating documentaries and voicing characters in such animated features as "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home," "The Stingiest Man in Town," "The World of David the Gnome" and "The Tangerine Bear." He also starred in the 2008 Hallmark Channel television movie "Charlie & Me" and "Santa Buddies" in 2010.


Sadly, after battling lung cancer for several years, 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. He was 18 days after his 83rd birthday.[4] His agent, Sheryl Himes, stated publicly that he had been battling lung cancer.[4][5] He was survived by his wife, former actress Patricia Carr.[6]

His remains were interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills Cemetery.[7]


  1. The Broadway League. Fiorello! details at. Retrieved on 2010-08-31.
  2. "Happy Days Actor Tom Bosley Dies", Baltimore Sun. Retrieved on 2010-10-19. 
  3. "Tom Bosley: A 'Golden Pond' of Memories", The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, 2006-10-26. Retrieved on 2006-12-13. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Tom Bosley, Father on 'Happy Days,' Dies at 83", Associated Press via The New York Times, October 19, 2010.
  5. "Tony-Winning Actor Tom Bosley, Best Known for 'Happy Days', Dies at 83",; accessed October 2, 2015.
  6. Happy Days Star Tom Bosley Dead at 83. People. Retrieved on 21 October 2016.
  7. FindAGrave-icon Tom Bosley at Find a Grave Memorial

External linksEdit