Top of the Pops: Who Was the Best TV Dad?



It was a sad day for "Happy Days" fans this week, as children of the '60s, '70s, and '80s lost a surrogate parent.

Tom Bosley, who played kindly TV dad Howard Cunningham on "Happy Days" from 1974 to 1984, died of heart failure at age 83, his agent Sheryl Abrams told the Associated Press. He also had lung cancer.

SODAHEAD SLIDESHOW: See the most beloved TV dads.

Bosley played a hardware store owner, father to Richie (Ron Howard) and Joanie Cunningham (Erin Moran) and landlord to Arthur "the Fonz" Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler).

And while Generation X grew up with the show, it also appealed to their parents, taking place as it did in the 1950s.

"Kids were watching their parents grow up, and parents were watching themselves grow up. And that was the key to success of that show," Bosley said in a 2000 interview.

Bosley died just a few days after legendary TV mom Barbara Billingsley, who played June Cleaver on "Leave It to Beaver."

And like Billingsley, Bosley has secured his place in TV history.

"If you think about it, every TV father that has come since has had a little bit of Mr. C in him," said Scott Baio, who played The Fonz's cousin Chachi Arcola.