'Happy Days' dad Tom Bosley dies - USATODAY.com Tom Bosley, whose long acting career was highlighted by his hugely popular role as the understanding father on television's nostalgic, top-rated 1970s comedy series Happy Days, died Tuesday. He was 83. Bosley died of heart failure at a hospital near his Palm Springs home. Bosley's agent, Sheryl Abrams, said he was also battling lung cancer. TV Guide ranked Bosley's Happy Days character, Howard Cunningham, at No. 9 on its list of the 50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time in 2004. The show debuted in 1974 and ran for 11 seasons.