October 20, 2010, - 2:49 pm
It’s sad to lose America’s TV mom, Barbara Billingsley, and dad, Tom Bosley, within days of each other. As a kid, I loved watching “Happy Days” in prime time on ABC, mostly for “the Fonz” (Henry Winkler). But who could forget Tom Bosley as Richie and Joanie Cunningham’s caring, involved dad, who always had good moral lessons for his kids? As you probably heard, he died yesterday of lung cancer at age 83.
And, even though he played Catholic priests (including his starring role in the very wholesome “Father Dowling Mysteries”) and Italian-Americans, like New York’s Fiorello LaGuardia, Tom Bosley was a proud Jewish-American from Chicago. And he was a proud World War II veteran, who served in the U.S. Navy. This past weekend was his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah, according to Henry Winkler, in the video below.
Bosley told the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent about why he participated in the documentary, “Paper Clips,” which features American students learning about the Holocaust:
Bosley contributed not just clips to the effort but, in a film clip, is seen reading his response to a letter of help sent by the children.
“When I saw the film, I fell apart,” says Bosley, whose part in the movie is moving itself. “It was important for me as a Jew to do it; I had lost a great uncle — whom I never met — in the Holocaust.”
Sadly, his last role was in one of the most annoying movies of the year, Jennifer Lopez’s uber-bomb, “The Back-Up Plan” (read my review). But Bosley and Linda Lavin, playing her mother’s fiance and her mother, were about the only good thing in it.
Video: Henry Winkler remembers Tom Bosley on this morning’s “Today Show”:
Tom Bosley, America’s TV Dad, Zichrono LiVrachah — Blessed Be His Memory.
Tags: Chicago, Father Dowling Mysteries, Fiorello LaGuardia, Happy Days, Holocaust, Jewish, Jewish-Americans, Jews, Mr. C, Mr. Cunningham, Tom Bosley, US Navy, WWII, WWII veteran