Bonnie Franklin, star of the long-running CBS sitcom One Day at a Time, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, according to a spokesman. The brief statement from her family, circulated by CBS, said she was being treated for pancreatic cancer and was “continuing her normal schedule during this time.”
“She and her family remain extremely positive and thank everyone for their support and concern,” the statement said, concluding with a request that her privacy be respected.
Franklin, 68, was born in Santa Monica, Calif., the daughter of Claire (née Hersch) and Samuel Benjamin Franklin, an investment banker. Her parents were both immigrants, her father from Russia and her mother from Romania. Her family moved to Beverly Hills when she was 13 years old, and she graduated from Beverly Hills High School in 1961. She once said that because of her red hair and freckles, people have a hard time believing that she is Jewish.
She won a Theatre World Award in 1970 for the Broadway musical Applause, for which she was also nominated for a Tony. But it was One Day at a Time that made Franklin a household name. The sitcom debuted in 1975 and ran for nine seasons. Franklin played Ann Romano, a young divorced mother raising two teenage daughters (Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips) in Indianapolis. Pat Harrington played Schneider, their wacky but loveable super. Franklin was nominated for an Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards for the show.
Glenn Scarpelli, Franklin’s co-star on One Day at a Time, posted on his Facebook page, “I have been hearing from so many of you regarding Bonnie’s announcement today that she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My love and support has been and will be with her during this entire situation. Thank you for the kind words. I will pass along to Bon all your loving thoughts.”
On Twitter, Mackenzie Phillips wrote, “Sending out love and sweet prayers to my ‘mom.’ The incomparable Bonnie Franklin.”
After One Day at a Time went off the air in 1984, Franklin appeared only sporadically on television but worked behind the camera directing an episode of Charles in Charge and a dozen episodes of The Munsters Today. Last year she played the mother of Valerie Bertinelli’s character’s boyfriend on Hot in Cleveland and recently appeared as a nun on the daytime drama The Young and the Restless. Earlier this year Franklin joined her One Day at a Time co-stars for a reunion when they were honored at the TV Land Awards.
According to the National Cancer Institute, there were 43,920 new cases of pancreatic cancer this year with 37,390 deaths. It is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, often because it is not found until in its late stages. 75 percent of patients die less than a year after diagnosis, and 94 percent die within five years, according to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PCAN), an organization in Manhattan Beach, Calif., that champions research and patient and family support. Astronaut Sally Ride and actors Patrick Swayze and Michael Landon all died of the disease.
Franklin’s husband of 29 years, producer Marvin Minoff, died in 2009.