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One Day At A Time Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

"One Day at a Time" was one of the most popular television shows of the 1970s. The Norman Lear sitcom ran for nine seasons on CBS—from 1975 to 1984—and even spawned a modern-day Netflix reboot. The 1970s series tackled then-controversial topics, including teen pregnancy, sexual harassment, drug use, birth control, and divorce. 

The original show focuses on Ann Romano (Bonnie Franklin), a newly single mom of two, as she raises her teen daughters Julie (Mackenzie Phillips) and Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli) in an Indianapolis apartment. Mama Romano was the second divorced mother ever featured as a regular on TV show— coming in second only to Vivian Bagley on "The Lucy Show," per Mental Floss

Throughout the series' long run, viewers were introduced to a cast of supporting players, including building superintendent Dwayne Schneider (Pat Harrington Jr.), Ann' s boyfriends David (Richard Masur) and Nick (Ron Rifkin), and Nick's son Alex (Glenn Scarpelli), who moves in with the Romanos after his father dies in a car accident.

Other memorable characters included Ann's boss Mr. Connors (John Hillerman), Julie's boyfriend-turned-husband Max (Michael Lembeck), and Grandma Katherine Romano, who was played by Nanette Fabray, per IMDB. Sadly, nearly 40 years after the original "One Day at a Time" ended, many of the stars from the CBS comedy have passed away.

Bonnie Franklin died in 2013

Series star Bonnie Franklin will always be remembered for her groundbreaking role as the independent single mother she played on "One Day at a Time" for nine seasons. Franklin went on to appear in other TV shows including "Hot in Cleveland," "Touched By an Angel" and "The Young & the Restless," per IMDB. However, her career was cut short when she fell ill. On March 1, 2013, Franklin passed away following a battle with pancreatic cancer, according to Yahoo. She was just 69 years old.

Franklin's TV daughters, Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips, released statements following her death. Bertinelli described Franklin as a "second mother" to her and credited her with helping her find her way in show business. "The years on One Day at a Time were some of the happiest of my life, and along with Pat and Mackenzie, we were a family in every way," Bertinelli said. "She taught me how to navigate this business and life itself with grace and humor, and to always be true to yourself. I will miss her terribly."

Phillips added that she was "saddened" by the loss of Franklin. "She was just full of light and love," the actress said. "Bonnie will be very much missed by all the people she touched with her love."

Nanette Fabray passed away after her TV daughter

Starting in the fourth season of "One Day at a Time," veteran stage and screen star Nanette Fabray played Grandma Katherine Romano. Viewers may recall that her character leaves her husband and comes to live with her daughter Ann and her granddaughters in the Indianapolis apartment. Fabray enjoyed a recurring role on "One Day at a Time" from 1979 until the series ended in 1984, per IMDB.

Although she played Bonnie Franklin's mother on "One Day at a Time," Nanette Fabray outlived her TV daughter by five years. Fabray died on February 22, 2018 of natural causes at her home in Palos Verdes Estates, according to her Los Angeles Times obituary. She was 97 years old.

Several years before her death, Fabray fondly recalled her time on "One Day at a Time" in an interview with EMMY TV Legends (via YouTube). The actress said she especially loved working with Franklin, whom she described her as the "heart and soul" that "kept that show together." The Emmy-winning actress shared a close bond with Franklin and cherished her years on "One Day at a Time."

Pat Harrington Jr. died on his co-star's birthday

Fans loved wacky superintendent Dwayne Schneider on One Day at a Time, and his unannounced visits to the Romano family's apartment occurred in nearly every episode of the series. Pat Harrington Jr. won an Outstanding Supporting Actor Emmy Award for his role –  and it's no surprise, as he put his heart and soul into the role from day one. He grew a skinny, Clark Gable-style mustache and rolled a pack of cigarettes under his t-shirt sleeve to give his character that extra "kick," but he decided at the last minute that Schneider needed something more. He paid a studio electrician for a worn out tool belt and hammer which he wore around his hips for the entire run of the series, according to the New York Times.

Sadly, Harrington died January 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, following a battle with Alzheimer's disease, according to an obituary posted by The Washington Post. The actor was 86 years old when he died, following years of declining health.

"One Day at a Time" producer Normal Lear took to Twitter at the time to note that, coincidentally, Harrington passed away on his longtime costar Bonnie Franklin's birthday. "Who filled out a more hilarious character than Pat Harrington Jr.? " Lear wrote. It's hard to come up with a better answer.