Tom Bosley, the veteran character actor best known for playing Howard Cunningham on Happy Days, has died. He was 83 years old. He reportedly passed away in his home in Palm Springs, California. He had been battling lung cancer for some time but succumbed to heart failure.
Born in a suburb of Chicago in 1927 to a Jewish Orthodox family, Bosley’s father was in real estate and his mother was, at one time, a concert pianist. The family was hard hit by the depression and they lost everything, including their home. They struggled for years, until the second World War when his father was able to re-enlist in the Army even though he was over 50 years old. Tom served in the Navy during the war.
After the war, Tom Bosley attended DePaul University in the windy city where his brother had also been schooled. He’d acted a bit in high school but wasn’t really interested in pursuing it as a career initially. He wanted to become a sports announcer and went to radio school but eventually found his way into performing. He acted in a number of area productions including Our Town and Golden Boy. He later went on to perform at the Woodstock Opera House in the small suburb of Woodstock, alongside Paul Newman at one point. He was also in one of the first televised broadcasts, in a production of Macbeth.