January 6, 1944–March 1, 2013
I think there is no world without theatre. – Edward Bond
Since she was a child, Bonnie loved the stage. Everything about it. From the first day of rehearsal to the costume fittings, tech rehearsal, dress rehearsals, opening night, the whole run of a show and final cast party. A young thespian, her breakthrough onto the Broadway stage came when she was 26, in the Betty Comden–Adolph Green musical Applause, starring Lauren Bacall. A 10-minute song-and-dance performance as a chorus gypsy earned her a Tony nomination and made Bonnie one of the youngest performers to ever receive the honor.
While she is still widely known for her portrayal of Ann Romano on the long-running Norman Lear sitcom “One Day at a Time,” when its 9-year run came to a close, Bonnie returned to her first love—theater. For over 20 years, she performed in regional theater across the United States in a multitude of plays, including A Delicate Balance, A Thousand Clowns, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, Annie Get Your Gun, Dancing at Lughnasa, Grace and Glory, Love Letters, Love Loss and What I Wore, Love and Shrimp, Vagina Monolgues, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, to name a few. She also returned to New York in the off-Broadway production of Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune opposite Tony Musante.
Outside of performing, Bonnie was also a devoted and longtime activist for a wide range of charities and civic-oriented issues. Among them were: Women’s Right to Choose, AIDS Care and Research, The Epilepsy Foundation and The Stroke Association of Southern California.
A founding member of CCAP (Classic and Contemporary American Plays), Bonnie appeared in and directed over a dozen staged concert readings. As part of her legacy, Bonnie asked that CCAP continue to bring her love of theater and the great American playwrights to our local youth, creating a new generation of life-long theater audiences.
It is in her honor that CCAP has been renamed Bonnie Franklin’s Classic and Contemporary American Plays.