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Bonnie Franklin TV's Feminist Single Mom Dies at 69

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by Melissa Silverstein
March 4, 2013 11:00 AM
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One Day at a Time was a show that helped define what was going on for women in the 1970s.  It debuted in 1975 (and ran until 1984) and showed something no other show did at that time; it showed what it was like to be a divorced woman struggling to raise her two daughters, pay the bills, and have a sex life.

I remember her fiery red hair.  I remember that she had boyfriends and that they slept over.  I remember that she wasn't a good girl.  I remember that she dealt with realistic issues with her two daughters played by Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli.  And I remember Schneider.

This was a show that was different for its time.  Another great show from Norman Lear.  But this show reflected what was going on for women in the 70s.  It was the height of the women's movement and divorces were happening all over the place.  All of us kids who grew up in the 70s knew families that were breaking up.  It was the age when the dads left and at times disappeared, and moms were the ones working and taking care of the kids.  Ann Romano, Franklin's character on One Day at a Time, reflected the real world and the changing world for women.

She was a feminist in life and on TV taking on issues in her life like speaking at the March for Women's Lives in the 80s and dealing with issues like negotiating the workplace, teen sexuality. 

In 2011 the show was awarded the TV Land Innovators Award with the following citation:

"The series [One Day at a Time] was a hybrid drama/comedy, addressed such taboo topics as pre-marital sex, suicide, sexual harassment and more, breaking barriers and paving the way for future shows to tackle these issues as well."


Bonnie Franklin, star of TV's 'One Day at a Time,' dies at 69 (LA Times)

Actress Bonnie Franklin of TV's "One Day at a Time" dead at 69 (Reuters)



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