One Day at a Time
American actress of stage and screen Bonnie Franklin became famous in the 1970s and 1980s thanks largely to her starring role as Ann Romano in the hit sitcom “One day at a Time” (CBS, 1975-1984). She picked up an Emmy nomination and two Golden Globe nominations for her performance. Prior to this TV breakthrough, Franklin gained critical acclaim on Broadway with her Tony Award nominating performance on “Applause” (1970), from which she also received a Theatre World Award. Franklin's other theater credits include “Your Own Thing,” “Frankie and Johnnie in the Clair de Lune,” “Annie Get Your Gun” and “For the Price of a Cup of Coffee.” Franklin directed episodes of “One day at a Time,” “Karen's Song,” “Charles in Charge” and “The Munsters Today.”
Franklin has been married twice. She married first husband Ronald Sossi from 1967 to 1970 and second husband Marvin Minoff from 1980 until his death in 2009.
Childhood and Family:
Bonnie Gail Franklin was born on January 6, 1944, in Santa Monica, California, to immigrant parents, Samuel Benjamin Franklin, an investment banker, and Claire Franklin. Her father was from Russia, while her mother from Romania. When she was 13, her family moved from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills, CA. In 1961, Bonnie graduated from Beverly Hills High School, whose renowned alumni included Michael Lembeck, Angelina Jolie, Michael Klesic, Nicolas Cage, Corben Bernsen, Lenny Kravitz, David Schwimmer, Jonathan Silverman, and Richard Dreyfuss. She went on to study at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts until 1963. As a freshman, she performed in an Amherst College production of “Good News.” Bonnie later returned back to California to attend the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
On March 4, 1967, at age 23, Bonnie was married to playwright Ronald Sossi, but the marriage ended in divorce in February 1970. Talking about problems in her first marriage, she said, “We were very much in love. But then I made this discovery. There was something I needed to do that had nothing to do with cooking meals and having babies. I developed this incredible guilt about not being your usual little housewife, and my sinuses started acting up.”
Bonnie married second husband film and television producer Marvin Minoff on August 31, 1980. The couple remained together until Minoff's death on November 11, 2009. Bonnie has no children from both marriages. She is a Jewish.
Bonnie Franklin started her professional acting career when she was a child. At age 10, she played the role of Susan Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol” (1954), which was included in CBS' “Shower of Stars.” Tow years later, she landed uncredited parts in “The Kettles in the Ozarks,” a comedy film directed by Charles Lamont and starring Marjorie Main, Arthur Hunnicutt and Una Merkel, and the Alfred Hitchcock film “The Wrong Man,” starring Henry Fonda and Vera Mile. She continued to appear in an episode of “Cavalcade of America” called “The Man from St. Paul” (1957) and in the drama/romance movie “A Summer Place” (1959), where she had a non credited role as girl in dormitory.
Franklin resurfaced in 1964 with a two episode arc in the James Franciscus television drama series “Mr. Novak,” which ran on NBC fro tow seasons from September 1963 to August 1965. Between 1965 and 1966, she guest starred in several television series like “Profiles in Courage” (as Deborah), “Karen” (as Charlotte Burns), “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” (as Peggy Durrance), “Gidget” and “The Munsters” (as Janice). She played Dorie in two episodes of “Please Don't Eat the Daisies” called “Very, Very Huckleberry” (1965) and “Big Man on Campus” (1966). Besides, she was cast as Trudy in the AT&T produced film “Invisible Diplomats” (1965), opposite Audrey Meadows, Ruta Lee and Bek Nelson. In 1968, Franklin made her Off Broadway debut in the musical “Your Own Thing,” where she was the understudy for Sandy Duncan.
Franklin attracted much attention on stage with her portrayal of Bonnie in the Broadway Award winning musical “Applause” (1970), directed by Don Pippin. She won a Theatre World Award and was nominated for a Tony Award in the category of Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for the performance. The original cast also included Lauren Bacall, Len Cariou, Penny Fuller, Lee Roy Reams, Robert Mandan, Brandon Maggart, Ann Williams, and Nicholas Dante.
Back to the small screen, Franklin made her television movie debut in “The Law” (NBC), where she starred as Bobbie Stone, opposite Judd Hirsch as Murray Stone and John Beck as Gene Carey. Directed by John Badham and written by Joel Oliansky and William Sackheim, the crime/drama telepic received a 1975 Emmy for Outstanding Special - Drama or Comedy and two additional nominations for Outstanding Directing in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy and Outstanding Writing in a Special Program - Drama or Comedy - Original Teleplay.
Franklin guest starred in “Bronk” (1975) and “The Love Boat” (1977). However, she did not score a huge break on television until she won the starring role of divorced mother Ann Romano on the CBS situation comedy “One Day at a Time,” opposite Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli, who played her two teenage daughters Julie and Barbara Cooper, respectively, and Pat Harrington as Schneider, the family's building superintendent. The show enjoyed a strong ratings and ran for nine seasons from December 1975 until May 1984. In 1982, Franklin was nominated for both an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series – Comedy/Musical. She picked up an additional Golden Globe nomination in 1983. She later also received two TV Land nominations for The “She Works Hard for the Money” Award (Favorite Working Mom) (2007) and Mad Ad Man (or Woman) of the Year (2008). In 1984, Franklin made her directing with episodes of “One Day at a Time.”
During her stint on the show, Franklin also worked in several television movies. She contributed voices on the 1978 animated telepic “ All-Star Comedy Ice Revue” (1978), supported Cybill Shepherd, Charles Frank and John Hillerman in the comedy/romance “ A Guide for the Married Woman” (1978) and portrayed Gail in ABC's “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” (1979). In 1980, she was cast as birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger on the CBS biopic “Portrait of a Rebel: Margaret Sanger,” which was helmed by Virgil W. Vogel and penned by Blanche Hanalis. She co-starred with Sylvia Fine, Annette Charles and Richard Crenna in PBS's “Musical Comedy Tonight II” (1981), with Peter Bonerz, Guy Boyd and Tyne Daly in “CBS's “ Your Place... or Mine” (1983) and with Michele Lee, Eddie Albert and Jack Klugman in “Parade of Stars” (1983).
In 1987, three years after the demise of “One Day at a Time,” Franklin starred as Sister Margaret on the made for television film “Sister Margaret and the Saturday Night Ladies,” which aired on January 17, 1987 on CBS. In the following year, she revisited the New York stage in “Frankie and Johnnie in the Clair de Lune,” by Terrence McNally. The same year, she also had the title role on “Annie Get Your Gun,” which produced at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pa and at the Pocono Playhouse in Mountainhome, Pa. Franklin directed two episodes of “Karen's Song” called “Don't Fence Me In” and “It Was Fascination” (both 1987) and an episode of “Charles in Charge” called “Berkling Up Is Hard to Do” (1988). From 1988 to 1990, she helmed 12 episodes of the sitcom “The Munsters Today,” a sequel to the 1960s sitcom “The Munsters.”
Franklin appeared as Theresa St. Claire in the 1994 episode “Who Killed the Soap Star?” of “Burke's Law” and as Mary Ryan in the “Almost Perfect” episodes titled, “Moving In: Part 1 & 2” (both 1996). In the late 1990s, she appeared on stage productions such as “Grace & Glorie” (1997, played Gloria), “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” (1997), “ Double Act” (1998, opposite Keir Dullea), “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1999) and “For the Price of a Cup of Coffee” (1999).
In 2000, Franklin briefly returned to the small screen with a one episodic appearance in “Touched by an Angel.” It would become her last TV appearance for over a decade. More recently, she guest starred as Agnieszka in a 2011 episode of “Hot in Cleveland” called “Bad Bromance.” Meanwhile, on stage, Franklin appeared with Bruce Weitz at the New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas, in the comedy “2 Across” in 2005. From 2006 to 2007, she appeared in Lillian Hellman's “Toys in the Attic” From August to September 2011, she played the role of Ouiser in “Steel Magnolias” at the Rubicon Theater in Ventura, California.
Theatre World: “Applause,” 1970