We look upon them, the iconic TV moms and dads of our youth, and wish to ourselves, "God I wish he was my Dad," or "If she was my Mom, she'd ever touch my special area."
And now they are dropping like flies: Before Barbara Billingsley's body could reach room temperature, Tom Bosley, the man who played Mr. Cunningham on Happy Days, has passed at 183.
Pollyanna Principle: The tendency for people to agree with positive statements describing themselves.
platitude: A trite or banal remark or statement, especially one expressed as if it were original or significant.
Snowclone: A type of clichéd phrasal template originally defined as "a multi-use, customizable, instantly recognizable, time-worn, quoted or misquoted phrase or sentence that can be used in an entirely open array of different variants". See: "Grey is the new black." or "X is the Cadillac of Ys"
Those who knew the lovable TV dad recycled the same Outwardly Pollyannaesque, platitudinous sentimental snowclones to express just how profoundly Tom affected them.
"Tom's insight, talent, strength of character and comic timing made him a vital central figure in the 'Happy Days' experience," says Bosley's on-screen son Ron Howard, who never cast Bosley in any of his movies, while giving his troll of a brother, Clint, 5 minutes of screen time in EVERY movie. "A great father and husband, and a wonderful artist, Tom led by example, and made us all laugh while he was doing it.
"My last conversations with Tom reflected the love of life and peace of mind that he always maintained throughout his full and rewarding life," said Roz Kelly, also 83, who played Pinky Tuscadero on Happy Days. "Of course, that conversation was in 1984. I think he blocked my number after that."
The Fonz Henry Winkler says, "Can you believe how frumpy and nebbishy I've become? If I grew a beard I'd look like Shmuley Boteach. For 10 years, I had to pretend to be cool, and Tom really helped me with that."
And his on-screen wife Marion Ross says, "He was my husband for 11 years, I think, right? And he was so handsome.
"It was August 14, 1945. Tom has just gotten back from the war, and I was in Times Square in a white nurse's uniform; he ran up to me in a sailor suit, and kissed me," continued Ross. "The next day a photo of it appeared in the 'New York Times'. Where's my nurse?"
Scott Baio: "Mr. Tom Bosley will be missed by many. He was a great actor, teacher and man."
Neil Patrick Harris: "Sad news: Tom Bosley has passed away. Such a wonderful man. We worked together in Cabaret on Broadway. So kind. Did that sound gay? GOOD!
Kevin Smith: "America's Dad dies: g'bye & thanks, Tom Bosley"
Alyssa Milano: "Please help. I need work. Please call my agent at CAA. I'm living on Ramen noodles and tap water. Please help me."
Michael McKean, who played 'One Wolf' on Laverne Loves Chachi, a Happy Days spinoff: "Tom Bosley, actor, gentleman, suburban dad, & former mayor of a mythic NYC; RIP."
(What the f--k? Mythic NYC? What does that even... Never mind.)
According to his Will, Bosley's tombstone is to read as follows:
THOMAS "Mr. Cunningham" BOSLEY
"I've Jumped The Shark."