The 1970s were a time of change in all sorts of ways, and thanks to producer Norman Lear, that was particularly true in television. His shows took on racism (All in the Family), put Black families at the center of things (Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons), and explored the challenges facing a divorced mother trying to raise her kids. Bonnie Franklin led the original One Day at a Time 1975 cast, the series that tackled that very subject.
Running for nine seasons between 1975 and 1984 for a total of 209 episodes (and rebooted as a whole new show in 2017), One Day at a Time focused on divorced mom Ann Romano, who moves herself and her two teenage daughter — the rebellious Julie and sweet, but wisecracking Barbara — from their longtime home in Logansport, Indiana to Indianapolis. There she tries to remain the authority figure, while simultaneously attempting to give them the sort of freedom that she never had in life.
In addition to Bonnie, the original One Day at a Time 1975 cast includes Valerie Bertinelli as Barbara, Mackenzie Phillips as Julie and Pat Harrington Jr as building superintendant Dwayne Schneider, who always has advice to offer, whether wanted or not.
There would, of course, be other characters weaving in and out of the storyline over the course of those nine years, but Bonnie, Valerie, Mackenzie and Pat were the heart and soul of the One Day at a Time 1975 cast, which really connected with the audience.
As Bonnie told The Miami News in 1984, “The show’s mail response and my personal letters show that we touched a lot of lives on a very emotional level. Most of the mail has said something about the honesty of our storylines. The mail always has been of a much higher caliber than the typical fan stuff which says, ‘We like your program, please send an autographed picture.’ We’ve dealt with runaway children, teenage sex and pregnancy, mental retardation and assorted legitimate mother-daughter conflicts.”
Take a look back — then and now — at the One Day at a Time 1975 cast.
‘One Day at a Time’ 1975 Cast: Bonnie Franklin as Ann Romano
Head of the One Day at a Time 1975 cast is, of course, Bonnie Franklin, born January 6, 1944 in Santa Monica, California and who graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 1966. At that point, though, she had already begun making inroads in the world of acting, appearing on The Colgate Comedy Hour at age 9, and, two years later, in a non-credited role in the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film The Wrong Man. She really made her mark in 1970 for her Tony-nominated performance in the Broadway musical Applause.
Other stage roles followed as did several TV guest appearances, but it was, of course, her being cast as Ann Romano on One Day at a Time that opened her up to her widest audience. What was particularly interesting is that while performing live allowed her to connect to audiences in the moment, the television series was much for far-reaching with longer after effects. From almost the start to the show’s end, she recognized the impact she and the series was having.
The show would last, as noted, for nine seasons and conclude in 1984. During the course of the series, she would also travel with a cabaret act, making sure to remind people that she was more than Ann Romano. When the show was over, she appeared in some TV movies and made guest appearances, but spent the vast majority of the rest of her life on various stages, whether in comedies, musicals or her cabaret act.
Bonnie was married to playwright Ronald Sossi from 1967 to 1970 and film producer Marvin Minoff from 1980 until his death in 2009, and became stepmother to two of his children. Sadly, she died on September 24, 2013 from pancreatic cancer.
Valerie Bertinelli as Barbara Cooper
In a 1976 profile of Valerie Bertinelli, The News described her background as follows: “Raised in Delaware, Valerie and her three brothers jumped around the country with her parents due to job transfers for her father, a General Motors executive. The Bertinellis left Delaware for Michigan, then shifted to California, to Oklahoma and back to California again. The California kid is living just the way chamber of commerce ad men picture things. A junior in high school, she dates the handsome senior, an athlete, and shoots to work in a brand new white gas saver which says ‘I Like Elton John’ on the rear window. Elton John is her idol.'”
Before all of that, of course, she was born on April 23, 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware and studied acting at the Tami Lyn School of Artists, eventually finding herself cast in an episode of the drama Apple’s Way, which was being produced by All in the Family creator Norman Lear. Impressed by her performance, he approached Valerie regarding One Day at a Time. Obviously she accepted, and her career was truly launched.
Following the series, she appeared in a few films, 9 TV movies and two-miniseries. Beyond a few guest appearances, she also co-starred with Matthew Perry in the series Sydney (1990), and was featured in Cafe Americain (1993 to 1994), 59 episodes of Touched by an Angel (2001 to 2003), and Hot in Cleveland (2010 to 2015).
Over the years, Valerie has been public regarding her battle with weight, which led to her becoming a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig and writing autobiographies Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time, Finding It: And Satisfying My Hunger for Life Without Opening the Fridge and the memoir Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I Am Today. She would also go on to host the television shows Valerie’s Home Cooking and Kids Baking Championship, which would lead to a long partnership with the Food Network on different shows.
In 1981, her personal life really moved into the spotlight when she married rocker Eddie Van Halen, with whom she would have son Wolfgang in 1991. The couple would separate in 2001 and divorced six years later, the dissolution of their marriage a result of Van Halen’s struggles with addiction. They remained friends throughout the years, and he would sadly die at age 65 of throat cancer October 6, 2020, with Valerie by his side.
In 2004 Valerie began a relationship with financial planner Tom Vitale, the two of them marrying on January 1, 2011, though she filed for separation on November 24, 2021. They’d be divorced about a year later. Valerie is currently 63-years-old.
Mackenzie Phillips as Julie Cooper
If you were to look at somebody and wonder how they made it through their life as long as they have, it’s a pretty good bet that actress Mackenzie Phillips would come to mind. As far as the 64-year-old is concerned, it’s absolutely been a hell of a ride.
The daughter of The Mamas & the Papas‘ John Phillips and his first wife, Susan Stuart Adams, she was born November 10, 1959 in Alexandria, Virginia. When she was 12, she launched a band with three of her classmates, a performance of which was seen by a casting agent who recommended her to director George Lucas for his 1973 film American Graffiti and the part of Carol Morrison. This would lead to to 15 more films between 1975’s Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins and 2018’s North Blvd.
Following her rule as Julie Cooper as part of the One Day at a Time 1975 cast, there would be many TV guest appearances over the years, TV movies, a starring role in the show So Weird (1999 to 2001) and recurring roles in the 2017 to 2020 reboot of One Day at a Time (playing a character named Pam Valentine) and Orange is the New Black (2018). On top of that, from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s she was singer and part of the touring act, The New Mamas and The Papas.
Professionally, it was all there for her, but her private life was the problem. She spent many years fighting alcohol and drug abuse, resulting in her going in and out of rehabs with frequent relapses. She would be given hiatus from One Day at a Time, brought back and ultimately fired. In her 2009 memoir High on Arrival, there was an even more horrible revelation: her father had not only gotten her hooked on drugs, but engaged in an incestuous relationship that lasted a decade.
It seems that Mackenzie, married three times and the mother of one, has turned her life around. In 2016, she began working as a drug rehab counselor at West Hollywood’s Breathe Life Healing Center.
Pat Harrington Jr. as Dwayne F. Schneider
Building superintendent Dwayne Schneider was meant to be a much smaller part than it actually turned out to be, the increased presence thanks to the performance of actor Pat Harrington Jr, who brought the character to life in such a way that he became an integral part of the One Day at a Time 1975 cast. He was born August 13, 1929 in New York City.
During the Korean War, Pat served as an intelligence officer with the U.S. Air Force, achieving the rank of first lieutenant. Like his father — a song and dance man from vaudeville and Broadway — he decided to pursue a career in entertainment. He landed stage work, toured with a number of shows and eventually made it to Broadway himself.
In 1959 he scored a recurring role on The Danny Thomas Show, from 1965 to 1969 he starred in thirty-four shorts for the series The Inspector and made a number of guest appearances before being cast in One Day at a Time. Afterwards there would be more guest shots and he was part of the national tour of Show Boat in 1997 and 1998, followed two years later with a regional production of Into the Woods, where he served as Narrator.
He was married twice and has four children, one of whom is tennis player Mike Harrington. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and would die on January 6, 2016 at age 86.
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