Bonnie Franklin Played Struggling Everymom to Perfection, Says PEOPLE’s Critic

Bonnie Franklin, Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli

CBS/Getty

updated 03/01/2013 AT 6:00 PM ET

originally published 03/02/2013 AT 9:00 AM ET

When certain television stars pass away, they don’t leave the stage – they leave your life. They played ordinary people so perfectly, you almost imagine that once their series concluded they went on living a plain existence parallel to yours as you worked, shopped, ate dinner, watched TV.

Actress Bonnie Franklin, who died of pancreatic cancer Friday at age 69, was for nine seasons America’s most contemporary everymom on CBS’s One Day at a Time (1975-1984). Franklin played Ann Romano, a divorced mother of two daughters (Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips) living in an apartment in Indianapolis.

Ann was cute but not pretty, youthful but not young, reasonable but not wise, optimistic but not deluded. You could have summed her up as pixieish, except she seemed too worn out to leap. Or maybe she’d need a minute to rev herself up.

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