Tom Bosley

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Tom Bosley (1927-2010) recalls his earliest days as an actor, working on NBC's Hallmark Hall of Fame productions of "Born Yesterday," "The Good Fairy," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Arsenic and Old Lace," and also of working on the popular Broadway production of "Fiorello!," for which he won a Tony award. Next, he talks about many of his early television credits, including those for That Was The Week That Was, an unsold pilot for Marty, the pilot episode of Marcus Welby, M.D. and the famed episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery starring Joan Crawford and directed by Steven Spielberg. Mr. Bosley also discusses his work on the series The Debbie Reynolds Show and The Dean Martin Show. On the topic of his most well-known credit, Mr. Bosley speaks at length about his role as Howard Cunningham on the long-running sitcom Happy Days, and fondly remembers his fellow cast members and creator Garry Marshall. Finally, he recalls working on the mystery drama Murder, She Wrote with star Angela Lansbury, and then on his own series The Father Dowling Mysteries opposite Tracy Nelson. Michael Rosen conducted the interview on September 12, 2000 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"'Happy Days' was about a family...although the show was shot in the 70s, it was about a family in the 50s. I realized that kids were watching their parents grow up and the parents were watching themselves grow up. That was the key to the success of our show."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Tom Bosley on appearing in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Arsenic & Old Lace" with Boris Karloff and Tony Randall
Tom Bosley on his character "Howard Cunningham," and on dropped older son "Chuck," played by Gavan O'Herlihy, on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on Ron Howard leaving Happy Days
Tom Bosley on his role in the pilot of Night Gallery, directed by Steven Spielberg, and co-starring Joan Crawford
Tom Bosley on his character "Father Dowling" on Father Dowling Mysteries, and on Mary Wicks on the show
Tom Bosley on making his Broadway debut in the hit musical "Fiorello!" as "Fiorello LaGuardia"
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on radio shows he listened to growing up; on movies he enjoyed growing up
On his love of sports, and on deciding to become an actor; on appearing in plays early on; on appearing in summer stock, and on his stage fright
On his earliest experiences with television, including an early production of "Macbeth" from Chicago; on moving to New York in 1950 to pursue his acting career

Chapter 2

On working in New York City in the 1950s; on appearing in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Born Yesterday" starring Mary Martin and of "Alice in Wonderland" directed by George Schaefer; on making his Broadway debut in the hit musical "Fiorello!" as "Fiorello LaGuardia"
On appearing in The Right Man starring Art Carney, and on meeting John F. Kennedy; on appearing in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Arsenic & Old Lace" with Boris Karloff and Tony Randall
On guest-starring on Car 54, Where Are You? and Route 66 and on the pilot Marty; on guest-starring on Profiles in Courage

Chapter 3

On appearing in the pilot of Marcus Welby, M.D; on his acting process, and how he approaches a role; on his role in the pilot of Night Gallery, directed by Steven Spielberg, and co-starring Joan Crawford
On appearing in various feature films
On co-starring on The Debbie Reynolds Show; on guest-starring on The Virginian and Bonanza

Chapter 4

On technological innovation in his early television years; on appearing in A Step Out of Line with Peter Falk; on appearing in Vanished and Congratulations It's a Boy
On appearing as a regular on the The Dean Martin Show produced by Greg Garrison; on appearing in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street; on shooting the pilot for Happy Days, and on shooting the first few episodes
On the decision to make Happy Days a three-camera show, and focus on the "Fonzie" character; on the popularity of Happy Days; on his character "Howard Cunningham," and on dropped older son "Chuck," played by Gavan O'Herlihy, on Happy Days

Chapter 5

On the rising popularity of Happy Days; on working with Happy Days creator Garry Marshall; on the challenges of trying not to be typecast as "Howard Cunningham" from Happy Days
On finding the character of "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days; on Marion Ross as "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days
On working with Ron Howard as "Richard Cunningham" on Happy Days; on working with Erin Moran as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days; on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on the show

Chapter 6

On Anson Williams as "Potsie Webber" and Donny Most as "Ralph Malph" on Happy Days; on "Scott Baio" as "Chachi Arcola" on Happy Days; on Pat Morita as "Arnold" on Happy Days
On the logistics of shooting Happy Days, and on shooting in front of a studio audience; on specific episodes of Happy Days; on watching his performances as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
On shooting the final episodes of Happy Days; on Ron Howard leaving Happy Days; on the continued popularity of Happy Days in syndication and on cable
On appearing on the pilot for Love Boat; on appearing in Murder, She Wrote

Chapter 7

On his Murder, She Wrote character "Sheriff Amos Tupper", and on various episodes; on how the Father Dowling Mysteries came about; on his character "Father Dowling" on Father Dowling Mysteries, and on Mary Wicks on the show
On the writers of Father Dowling Mysteries, and on the popularity of the show; on the end of Father Dowling Mysteries
On returning to the Broadway stage; on continuing to work, and on then-current projects; on working with director George Abbott

Chapter 8

On working with stage director George Abbott; on advice to aspiring actors; on what he's likely to be remembered for and on his greatest achievement
On b-roll- pictures from his career- with Marion Ross; with Marion Ross on the softball field; with the cast of Happy Days; with Angela Lansbury on the set of Murder, She Wrote; with Tracey Nelson as "Father Dowling"
Shows

Bonanza

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Tom Bosley on guest-starring on The Virginian and Bonanza

Car 54, Where Are You?

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Tom Bosley on guest-starring on Car 54, Where Are You? and Route 66 and on the pilot Marty

Dean Martin Show, The

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Tom Bosley on appearing as a regular on the The Dean Martin Show produced by Greg Garrison

Debbie Reynolds Show, The

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Tom Bosley on co-starring on The Debbie Reynolds Show

Father Dowling Mysteries

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Tom Bosley on how the Father Dowling Mysteries came about
Tom Bosley on his character "Father Dowling" on Father Dowling Mysteries, and on Mary Wicks on the show
Tom Bosley on the writers of Father Dowling Mysteries, and on the popularity of the show
Tom Bosley on the end of Father Dowling Mysteries

Hallmark Hall of Fame

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Tom Bosley on appearing in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Born Yesterday" starring Mary Martin and of "Alice in Wonderland" directed by George Schaefer
Tom Bosley on appearing in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Arsenic & Old Lace" with Boris Karloff and Tony Randall

Happy Days

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Tom Bosley on the decision to make Happy Days a three-camera show, and focus on the "Fonzie" character
Tom Bosley on the popularity of Happy Days
Tom Bosley on his character "Howard Cunningham," and on dropped older son "Chuck," played by Gavan O'Herlihy, on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on shooting the pilot for Happy Days, and on shooting the first few episodes
Tom Bosley on the rising popularity of Happy Days
Tom Bosley on working with Happy Days creator Garry Marshall
Tom Bosley on the challenges of trying not to be typecast as "Howard Cunningham" from Happy Days
Tom Bosley on finding the character of "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on Marion Ross as "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days and on the sense of values on the show
Tom Bosley on working with Ron Howard as "Richard Cunningham" on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on working with Erin Moran as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on Anson Williams and "Potsie Webber" and Donny Most as "Ralph Malph" on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on "Scott Baio" as "Chachi Arcola" on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on Pat Morita as "Arnold" on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on the logistics of shooting Happy Days, and on shooting in front of a studio audience
Tom Bosley on specific episodes of Happy Days
Tom Bosley on watching his performances as "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on shooting the final episodes of Happy Days
Tom Bosley on Ron Howard leaving Happy Days
Tom Bosley on the continued popularity of Happy Days in syndication and on cable
Tom Bosley on appearing on the pilot for Love Boat

Marcus Welby, M.D.

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Tom Bosley on appearing in the ABC pilot of Marcus Welby, M.D

Murder, She Wrote

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Tom Bosley on appearing in Murder, She Wrote
Tom Bosley on his Murder, She Wrote character "Sheriff Amos Tupper" and on various episodes

Night Gallery

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Tom Bosley on his role in the pilot of Night Gallery, directed by Steven Spielberg, and co-starring Joan Crawford

Profiles in Courage

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Tom Bosley on guest-starring on Profiles in Courage

Right Man, The

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Tom Bosley on appearing in The Right Man starring Art Carney, and on meeting John F. Kennedy

Route 66

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Tom Bosley on guest-starring on Car 54, Where Are You? and Route 66 and on the pilot Marty

Virginian, The

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Tom Bosley on guest-starring on The Virginian and Bonanza
Topics

Advice

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Tom Bosley on advice to aspiring actors

Characters & Catchphrases

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Tom Bosley on his character "Father Dowling" on Father Dowling Mysteries, and on Mary Wicks on the show

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Tom Bosley on working with director George Abbott

Pivotal Career Moments

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Tom Bosley on working with director George Abbott

Pop Culture

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Tom Bosley on his character "Father Dowling" on Father Dowling Mysteries, and on Mary Wicks on the show

Technological Innovation

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Tom Bosley on technological innovation in his early television years

Television Industry

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Tom Bosley on advice to aspiring actors
Professions

Actor

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Tom Bosley on his acting process and how he approaches a role
Tom Bosley on advice to aspiring actors

Performers

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Tom Bosley on his acting process and how he approaches a role
Tom Bosley on advice to aspiring actors
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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Tom Bosley on appearing in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Born Yesterday" starring Mary Martin and of "Alice in Wonderland" directed by George Schaefer
Tom Bosley on appearing in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Arsenic & Old Lace" with Boris Karloff and Tony Randall
Tom Bosley on his role in the pilot of Night Gallery, directed by Steven Spielberg, and co-starring Joan Crawford

Comedy Series

View Genre
Tom Bosley on guest-starring on Car 54, Where Are You? and Route 66 and on the pilot Marty
Tom Bosley on co-starring on The Debbie Reynolds Show
Tom Bosley on playing "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on playing "Howard Cunningham" on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on appearing on the pilot for Love Boat

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Tom Bosley on appearing in Murder, She Wrote
Tom Bosley on Murder, She Wrote
Tom Bosley on Father Dowling Mysteries

Drama Series

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Tom Bosley on guest-starring on Profiles in Courage

Medical Dramas

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Tom Bosley on appearing as "Tiny Baker" in Marcus Welby, M.D, the ABC pilot for the television medical series

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Tom Bosley on appearing as a regular on the The Dean Martin Show

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Tom Bosley on appearing in The Right Man starring Art Carney, and on meeting John F. Kennedy
Tom Bosley on appearing in A Step Out of Line with Peter Falk
Tom Bosley on appearing in Vanished and Congratulations It's a Boy

Western Series

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Tom Bosley on guest-starring on The Virginian and Bonanza
People

George Abbott

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Tom Bosley on working with stage director George Abbott

Scott Baio

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Tom Bosley on "Scott Baio" as "Chachi Arcola" on Happy Days

Joan Crawford

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Tom Bosley on his role in the pilot of Night Gallery, directed by Steven Spielberg, and co-starring Joan Crawford

Peter Falk

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Tom Bosley on appearing in A Step Out of Line with Peter Falk

Greg Garrison

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Tom Bosley on appearing as a regular on the The Dean Martin Show produced by Greg Garrison

Ron Howard

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Tom Bosley on working with Ron Howard as "Richard Cunningham" on Happy Days
Tom Bosley on Ron Howard leaving Happy Days

Boris Karloff

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Tom Bosley on appearing in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Arsenic & Old Lace" with Boris Karloff and Tony Randall

John F. Kennedy

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Tom Bosley on appearing in The Right Man starring Art Carney, and on meeting John F. Kennedy

Garry Marshall

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Tom Bosley on working with Happy Days creator Garry Marshall

Dean Martin

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Tom Bosley on appearing as a regular on the The Dean Martin Show produced by Greg Garrison

Mary Martin

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Tom Bosley on appearing in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Born Yesterday" starring Mary Martin and of "Alice in Wonderland" directed by George Schaefer

Erin Moran

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Tom Bosley on working with Erin Moran as Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days

Pat Morita

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Tom Bosley on Pat Morita as "Arnold" on Happy Days

Donny Most

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Tom Bosley on Anson Williams and "Potsie Webber" and Donny Most as "Ralph Malph" on Happy Days

Gavan O'Herlihy

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Tom Bosley on his character "Howard Cunningham," and on dropped older son "Chuck," played by Gavan O'Herlihy, on Happy Days

Tony Randall

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Tom Bosley on appearing in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Arsenic & Old Lace" with Boris Karloff and Tony Randall

Debbie Reynolds

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Tom Bosley on co-starring on The Debbie Reynolds Show

Marion Ross

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Tom Bosley on Marion Ross as "Marion Cunningham" on Happy Days and on the sense of values on the show

George Schaefer

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Tom Bosley on appearing in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Born Yesterday" starring Mary Martin and of "Alice in Wonderland" directed by George Schaefer

Steven Spielberg

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Tom Bosley on his role in the pilot of Night Gallery, directed by Steven Spielberg, and co-starring Joan Crawford

Lee Strasberg

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Tom Bosley on studying under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio

Anson Williams

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Tom Bosley on Anson Williams and "Potsie Webber" and Donny Most as "Ralph Malph" on Happy Days

Henry Winkler

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Tom Bosley on Henry Winkler as "Fonzie" on Happy Days

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