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“One Day at a Time” starring Bonnie Franklin begins its second season.

September 28, 1976

After originally debuting as a mid-season replacement in 1975, the television show One Day at a Time had its first full season premiere on this date.  Starring Bonnie Franklin as Ann Romano, the show rooted its humor in the everyday troubles of a divorced working woman balancing the roles of mother, employee, and feminist in changing times.  Produced by Norman Lear, the show raised contemporary issues for nine seasons, with Ms. Franklin receiving Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her work.  The show also featured Valerie Bertinelli, Mackenzie Phillips, and Pat Harrington.

Born to Jewish immigrant parents in Santa Monica, California on January 6, 1944, Franklin’s mother encouraged her in the performing arts.  Her television debut was at the age of 9, tap-dancing with Donald O’Connor on the Colgate Comedy Hour.  But the precocious performer turned down the chance to join the Mickey Mouse Club as a Mouseketeer.  Instead she studied at Smith College in Massachusetts and graduated from UCLA with a degree in English in 1966.  She married Ronald Sossi, a playwright, that same year.  Divorced in 1970, she was nominated for a supporting actress Tony Award for her 10-minute song and dance performance as a chorus gypsy in the musical Applause with Lauren Bacall.

During her years on One Day at a Time, Franklin insisted that her character not rely on a man to make decisions for her, but it was a struggle.  “And I’m not working with insensitive men,” she told the Boston Globe in 1981.  “But the men who produce and write the show still don’t believe me when I present them with the women’s point of view.  After seven years, I just want to say, ‘C’mon guys, I’m an intelligent person, why don’t you just trust me?’  I’m so tired of fighting.  But you can’t give up.”

In the midst of her television success, Franklin won acclaim for her work playing Margaret Sanger, the women’s rights and birth-control advocate, in Portrait of a Rebel: The Remarkable Mrs. Sanger, a 1980 movie on CBS.  On the Sanger set, she met the movie’s executive producer, Marvin Minoff.  They were married for 29 years before his death in 2009.

One Day at a Time was consistently rated as one of the most watched shows on television.  The show was recognized for its accomplishments when it won the Innovation Award on the TV Land Award show on April 29, 2012.

Sources: This Day in Jewish History; “Bonnie Franklin, Steadfast Mom on ‘One Day at a Time,’ Dies at 69,” New York Times, March 1, 2013; “’One Day at a Time’ Star Bonnie Franklin Dead at 69,” ABC News.

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Bonnie Franklin and the "One Day at a Time" Cast, 1975
Full image

The One Day at a TIme cast in 1975.  Clockwise from left:Bonnie Franklin (Ann Romano), Mackenzie Phillips (Julie Cooper), and Valerie Bertinelli (Barbara Cooper).

Photo in the public domain.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "“One Day at a Time” starring Bonnie Franklin begins its second season. ." (Viewed on December 15, 2017) <https://jwa.org/thisweek/sep/28/1976/one-day-at-time-starring-bonnie-franklin-begins-its-second-season>.

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