Tom Bosley's mother was a famous concert pianist
You can bet she tickled the ivories even better than Mrs. C.
By the fourth season of Happy Days, both Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham have gotten a little fidgety, no longer content to just fill their roles in the house.
In the episode "Fonz-How, Inc.," Mr. C tries to invent a new kind of trash compactor and perhaps even more memorably, in the episode "A.K.A. The Fonz," Mrs. C brings a piano into the Cunningham living room, declaring, "I’m going to make a lot of money giving piano lessons."
For Tom Bosley, who played Happy Days patriarch Howard Cunningham, he must’ve felt even more at home on set the day that piano arrived.
Bosley grew up in Chicago, a young boy who worshipped the Cubs, raised by a dad who was also a native Chicagoan, and a mother who also kept a piano in her home – not to give lessons, but to practice her highly acclaimed performances.
According to newspapers, Tom Bosley’s mom Dora Heyman was one of the best young pianists in the country from 1913 to 1920 when she wed Bosley’s dad, Benjamin.
The story goes that Dora took piano lessons from a music teacher Della Thal, a pianist who wanted her students to really push themselves to emote in their performances.
Dora may have been Della’s best pupil, because by 18 years old, she had become so famous in her hometown Kenosha that she was invited to give a recital in Chicago.
After that debut, a critic proclaimed that "musical taste, poetic feeling and imagination made up the principal elements" in her recitals, calling Dora a genius with "a genuine artistic fashion."
Once the critic dubbed her a star, soon cars would be chartered to carry all her fans to Kenosha from Chicago and Milwaukee any time she played.
On her programs, she was known for her technical prowess playing Schumann, as well as her flourishment to music by Bach, Chopin and Debussy.
Visiting Chicago often to perform, Bosley’s mom met his dad (who was in charge of running the books for his family business) because he was an extremely popular man in social circles there, and she was a rising star whom papers noted was also "good to look upon."
When Bosley’s dad proposed, the Kenosha News declared their wedding the "culmination of the romance of one of Kenosha’s most accomplished, prominent young women."
You can bet at home, young Tom Bosley grew up listening to his mother tickle the ivories, just as Richie and Joanie would become accustomed to doing once Mrs. C brought the piano into their home.