Thomas Edward "Tom" Bosley (born October 1, 1927) is an American actor, best known for his starring and supporting roles on the television shows Happy Days, Murder, She Wrote, and Father Dowling Mysteries, as well as the title role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fiorello!.

Early life

Bosley was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Dora (née Heyman) and Benjamin Bosley.[1] Despite being well known for playing a Catholic priest, and numerous Protestants, Bosley is Jewish.[2] During World War II, Bosley served in the United States Navy. While attending DePaul University, in Chicago, in 1947, he made his stage debut in Our Town with the Canterbury Players at the Fine Arts Theatre. Bosley performed at the Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock, Illinois, in 1949 and 1950 alongside Paul Newman.


Bosley played the Knave of Hearts in a Hallmark Hall of Fame telecast of Eva Le Gallienne's production of Alice in Wonderland in 1955. But his breakthrough stage role was New York mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia in the long-running Broadway musical Fiorello! in (1959), for which he won a Tony Award.[3] In 1994, he originated the role of Maurice in the Broadway version of Disney's Beauty & the Beast.

His first motion picture role was in 1963, as the would-be suitor of Natalie Wood in Love with the Proper Stranger. Other films include The World of Henry Orient, Divorce American Style and the made-for-television The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal. Bosley shared a heartfelt story about his experience with the Holocaust in the documentary film Paper Clips.

Among his early television appearances was in 1960 on the CBS summer replacement series, Diagnosis: Unknown, with Patrick O'Neal. In 1962, he portrayed Assistant District Attorney Ryan in the episode "The Man Who Wanted to Die" on James Whitmore's ABC legal drama The Law and Mr. Jones. In 1969 he appeared in a comical episode of The Virginian.

Bosley's best known role is the character Howard Cunningham, Richie Cunningham's father, in the long-running sitcom Happy Days. Bosley is also known for portraying Sheriff Amos Tupper on Murder, She Wrote. He also portrayed the titular Father Frank Dowling on the TV mystery series, Father Dowling Mysteries. In 2004, Bosley guest starred as a toy maker named Ben-Ami on the series finale of the Christian video series K10C: Kids' Ten Commandments. Among myriad television appearances, one notable early performance was in the "Eyes" segment of the 1969 pilot episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Joan Crawford.

Also notable as a voice actor due to his resonant, fatherly yet expressive tone, Bosley hosted The General Mills Radio Adventure Theater, a 1977 radio drama series for children. He went on to voice many cartoon characters, including Harry Boyle in the animated series Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. He provided the voice of the title character in the 1980s cartoon The World of David the Gnome and the shop owner Mr. Winkle in the children's Christmas special The Tangerine Bear. He also narrated the movie documentary series That's Hollywood. Additionally, he played the narrator B.A.H. Humbug in the Rankin/Bass animated Christmas special The Stingiest Man In Town. Bosley was also the voice of Mister Geppetto, Pinocchio's 'dad' in Filmation's Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, released in 1987. Bosley also starred in the 2008 Hallmark Channel television movie Charlie & Me. In 2010 he appeared in The Backup Plan starring Jennifer Lopez.

In 1984, Bosley guest-hosted the "Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular" with local newscaster Pat Harper.[4]

Bosley also toured as Cap'n Andy in Harold Prince's 1994 revival of Show Boat.

He has endorsed Glad Trash Bags, D-Con, the IQ Computer and Sonic Drive-Ins, and currently is the spokesman for SMC (Specialty Merchandise Corporation).


  1. "Tom Bosley Biography (1927-)". Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  2. "Tom Bosley: A 'Golden Pond' of Memories". The Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  3. The Broadway League. "Fiorello! | IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". IBDB. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  4. WPIX-TV coverage of "The M*A*C*Y*S 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular," 4 July 1984.

External links

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