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Bonnie Franklin, One Day at a Time Star, Dies at 69

Bonnie Franklin David Crotty/ Press

At age 31, Bonnie Franklin became the mother of two teenage daughters—and millions of TV viewers.

Franklin, who played mom to Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips in the 1975-84 hit sitcom One Day at a Time died Friday at her home in Los Angeles after her family disclosed in September the actress was battling pancreatic cancer. She was 69.

The flame-haired Franklin earned one Emmy nomination, two Golden Globe nominations and a place in history for her performance as the fiery Ann Romano.

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For its time, the Norman Lear-produced comedy was considered notable for its showcase of feminism and the Midwestern Romano's insistence on being called "Ms."

Born Jan. 6, 1944, Franklin first appeared in prime time as a child. Later, the Southern California native moved to New York and Broadway, rating a Tony nomination for Applause, the musical version of All About Eve, with Lauren Bacall.

Cast as the 35-year-old Romano when she was barely over 30 herself, Franklin at first thought Phillips, then 15, was too old to play her eldest daughter, Barbara, Phillips wrote in her memoir, High on Arrival.

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As for Bertinelli, she thought Franklin was "like a hip, younger complement to [her] real mom," the actress wrote in her own memoir, Losing It.

Franklin said she preferred TV and theater to film and, other than TV movies, didn't do much of the latter.

Outside of occasional guest spots, including a 2011 appearance on the Bertinelli sitcom Hot in Cleveland, Franklin didn't do much TV, either, after One Day at a Time ended.

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