Bosley became a family favourite starring for ten years in ABC sitcom Happy Days, but remained a fixture on US and UK screens with later roles in Murder She Wrote and Father Dowling Mysteries – the latter, which he took lead role.
It was however his role as Howard Cunningham on Happy Days that most will remember Tom fondly. The role as father of the family, and landlord to iconic character ‘the Fonz’, in the 1950s set sitcom made him one of the best loved characters on US television – so much so that despite the show being out of production for 20 years in 2004 he was voted the 9th ‘Greatest TV Dad of all Time’ in the American TV Guide poll.
Bosley died of heart failure aged 83 at a hospital near Palm Springs. Only a short distance from his home where for the past few years the actor had been battling lung cancer.
Happy Days aired originally from 1974 to 1984 – on ITV in the UK – but has been repeated a number of times since, gaining a new audience when the comedy was broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK in the late 80s and early 90s. Father Dowling was screened on ITV in the 1990s in the UK and Murder She Wrote continues to draw audiences with several re-runs in recent times on both the BBC and ITV.
Happy Days co-stars Henry Winkler and Scott Baio were said to be ‘shocked’ by the news of the death, with Winkler adding that the actor will be ‘sorely missed‘.