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.

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Kim 24 months ago
How wonderful! 👏❤️
Pacificsun 24 months ago
A beautiful story, inspiring too, that a really neat actor had such a positive upbringing.

It's clear the writer did a lot research on this, and very well written. Thx!
Moverfan 24 months ago
I don't remember the Happy Days episode they mention in the article, but I do remember the one where Marion's giving a piano lesson before she and Howard go to an Open House at Joanie's school (it's the one where Herb Edleman plays a burglar, I think) and her student asks her "Can I be finished now?". I don't know who that little girl was, but she was darling...and yes, her request was granted.
Coldnorth Moverfan 24 months ago
I have watched Happy Days many times but I never knew Mrs. C. Gave piano lessons. I mean 0 recollections
LoveMETV22 24 months ago
Thank You MeTv. Do enjoy the stories with additional information that might not otherwise be shared. Interesting article.
Michael 24 months ago
Did people confuse her with David Doyle's mother?
Load previous comments
Michael Pacificsun 24 months ago
Maybe Bosley was Charlie, the voice over the phone some actor. I'm thinking it wou ld be like people thought Highins was Robin Master on Magnum PI. Or poor Stephanie Zimblist needing to hire someone to play Remington Steele.
Pacificsun Michael 24 months ago
John Forsythe was already known to be "Charlie."

But John Hillerman could 'veve ry well been Robin Masters, because he was excellent with accents. In fact, sometimes he was harder to spot in a role that didn't need his British accent.
Jeffrey Pacificsun 23 months ago
And later on, John Forsythe went on to be one of the stars of ''Dynasty''.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 23 months ago
I think they should do a Quiz regarding look-alikes (meaning true similarities). Especially between the early classic shows and those leading up to now.

I always thought it was my imagination. But I read in one of those fun-facts blurbs, that there is a chance of us having 9 look-alikes throughout the world. And I don't know if this references "simultaneously" or through the decades.

I think it's utterly impossible. But I was approached by an observer once who swore the person they saw, was me. I've seen one or two people looking like my parents, strikingly so.

But I guess it would be more fun, quiz-wise to point out the most unique celebrities among them.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?