Tom Bosley's real wife played his bowling buddy on Happy Days
They were married for 30 years.
Mr. and Mrs. C burst in the front door of the Cunningham home in the Happy Days episode "Howard's Bowling Buddy."
In matching bowling shirts, they are the ideal couple, but later in the episode after Marion sustains an injury, Howard has to find a new bowling buddy and he finds it in a lovely bank teller named Fern. To make sure Mrs. C isn't jealous of his new "buddy," Mr. C assures her that Fern is a spinster.
"Very interesting to meet you," Fonzie says suspiciously when he meets Fern, who we see is a pretty blonde enthusiastically donning Mrs. C's bowling shirt. "I was just here visiting the Cunninghams," he adds, "You know, they've been married for 27 years."
It would be natural for anyone in the audience to feel as protective of the Cunningham family as the Fonz, so you'd be forgiven if you, too, gave this newcomer with terrible intentions Fern the side-eye. It might delight you to know, however, that Fern isn't just any stranger off the street turning the usually wise and loyal Mr. C into a total pinhead.
Fern is played by Patricia Carr, an actress who actually married Tom Bosley, the actor who played Howard Cunningham. They wed in the year just before we saw her on the show. So while you were worried about the Cunninghams staying together back then, now you know the supposed onscreen interloper was just at the start of her own long and happy marriage to the sitcom patriarch.
Just stick around for the credits, and you'll see in this role, she's even credited as Patricia Carr-Bosley. They remained married for 30 years, until Bosley passed away in 2010.
And Happy Days ran for three years past this episode, so that means by Fonzie's math, Bosley was married to Mrs. C for exactly that long, too!
For Bosley, remarrying was a big deal. He lost his first wife Jean Eliot in 1978, in the middle of his success on Happy Days. "The most adverse thing I had to face was the loss of my first wife," Bosley said in an interview a few years after Happy Days ended. He said his wife had gotten sick with a terminal illness before the show started and then after she was gone, he was left to care for their 11-year-old daughter.
"After we lost her, I had to go through that extremely awkward period of being both a father and a mother," Bosley said. "Then all of a sudden, getting over the loss of my wife and realizing that I had to go on, that life has to go on. And I went through that terrible phase of having to date."
Almost like a moral lesson learned on Happy Days, he said he learned at the age of 50 that he was capable of making the same mistakes in dating that he had made at 20.
That's when the interviewer asked him if he remarried, and Bosley brightened up immediately at the thought of Patricia Carr, quickly answering, "Yes, very happily so."