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Hill Street Blues Star Barbara Bosson Dead at 83

The world of entertainment has lost another one of its beloved stars with the recent passing of Barbara Bosson, who is best known for her role in the iconic police drama “Hill Street Blues”. Bosson’s portrayal of the tough, no-nonsense Fay Furillo captivated audiences and helped make “Hill Street Blues” one of the most acclaimed shows of its time.

As fans and colleagues mourn her loss, it is important to reflect on Bosson’s impact both on and off screen. Her talent and dedication to her craft have left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, and her memory will continue to be celebrated for years to come.

In this video, we will pay tribute to Barbara Bosson’s incredible life and career, remembering her as a gifted actress, a beloved friend and family member, and an inspiration to all those who were fortunate enough to know her.

Facts Verse Presents: Hill Street Blues Star Barbara Bosson Dead at 83

Hill Street Blues Was Groundbreaking

While Hill Street Blues was not the first show of its kind, Stephen Bochco’s 1981 series revolutionized the way police procedurals were depicted on television. Instead of simply portraying crimes and criminals, the show’s characters were complex and multi-dimensional. The program’s realistic, documentary-style approach made it more authentic and grounded than the stylized shows that preceded it, resulting in immediate success.

According to IMDb, the series ran for seven years and set the stage for future series with a similar tone, such as NYPD Blue. One of the show’s standout performers was Barbara Bosson, who had previously only taken on minor roles in films and television. She played a key role on Hill Street Blues for five years and 102 episodes, until her abrupt departure in 1985.

Let’s take a few minutes to reflect on Bosson’s time on Hill Street Blues while also detailing the nature of her relationship with the show’s creator, Steven Bochco.

She Was Never Intended to be a Series Regular

Bosson was born in Charlerol, Pennsylvania on November 1, 1939.

In 1970, Barbara Bosson wed Stephen Bochco, who was then an aspiring screenwriter. Together, they worked to build their careers in the entertainment industry. Bosson’s debut on the big screen was as an unnamed nurse in the Steve McQueen film Bullitt. She continued to act in small roles in productions such as the musical Mame, some of which had Bochco’s involvement.

Initially, Bosson’s character on Hill Street Blues was not intended to be a leading role. She portrayed Captain Frank Furillo’s ex-wife, Fay Furillo. However, the producers were impressed with her acting abilities and her character became one of the show’s most beloved. Fay began as a stereotypical nagging ex, but evolved into an empowered woman. Sadly, after Bochco was fired from the show, Bosson also departed. While some may attribute this to nepotism, Bosson maintained that there were other factors at play.

Bosson’s Unexpected Departure

In 1985, Bosson’s sudden departure from the show after appearing in only three episodes of the then-new season shocked both fans and the creators. Bosson explained that the writers were reverting her character back to a miserable housewife after she had worked hard to make her a more empowered woman. Though she was meant to appear in more episodes, she left after abruptly after that third episode of the sixth season.

According to Bosson, the disagreements over her contract and the direction of her character made it difficult to enjoy her time on the set. She also believed that she was not receiving fair compensation for her work despite being one of the show’s most popular characters.

Acting in the entertainment industry, especially during the era when Bosson was active, was a ruthless business. Women were rarely given decision-making power, and those who spoke up were often quickly dismissed.

Bochco Was Fired

Even though he helped create the series, Bocho announced in March 1985 that he was leaving the series because he was apparently “invited to leave.

Initially, he refused to elaborate on the reasons why he was being asked to leave, but years later it was revealed that he was fired by then-MTM President Arthur Price, due to his cost overruns coupled with the fact that the series had already managed to reach the 100 episode threshold that it needed to enter into syndication.

Simply put, he was no longer needed. But that didn’t seem to bother Bochco in the least bit, as he would go on to work on a variety of other successful television projects.

Her Legacy Will Live On For Generations

Barbara Bosson’s passing has left fans and colleagues heartbroken, as they remember the remarkable legacy she left behind. Her son’s recent tribute on Instagram reflects the deep love and respect that so many had for the actress, who was known for her boundless spirit and larger-than-life personality.

Bosson’s role on “Hill Street Blues” cemented her status as a primetime star, and her portrayal of Fay Furillo was one of the show’s most memorable characters. She brought a toughness and authenticity to the role that won her critical acclaim and a devoted following among viewers.

While Bosson’s time on “Hill Street Blues” was cut short, her impact on the show and on television as a whole was lasting. Her talent and dedication to her craft inspired countless others in the entertainment industry, and her memory will continue to be cherished by those who knew and loved her.

Barbara Bosson and Steven Bochco collaborated on several series during their 27-year marriage, including the 1970s spin-off “Richie Brockelman, Private Eye”, the late ’80s dramedy “Hooperman” starring John Ritter, and the infamous ’90s musical-procedural hybrid “Cop Rock”. Despite their personal and professional partnership coming to an end in 1997, their collaboration yielded memorable and groundbreaking shows.

Steven was known to joke about his wife’s name, quipping to PEOPLE in 1981 that it was spelled “B-O-S-S-O-N, with an ‘n’ as in ‘nepotism'”. However, he also emphasized that he held his loved ones to the same high standards as other actors and actresses, and had turned Barbara down for roles in the past.

Barbara, in turn, noted that the couple had a successful working relationship, although she sometimes had to assert herself in their collaborations. Despite the challenges that come with mixing business and personal relationships, the two were able to create impactful shows that will be remembered for years to come.

Her Husband Died In 2018

On Sunday April 1, 2018, Steven Bochco passed away at the age of 74 in his sleep after battling cancer.. Bochco, as we already touched on, made a name for himself as a well-known writer and producer, having created the critically acclaimed police drama Hill Street Blues, as well as other successful television shows such as LA Law, NYPD Blue, and Doogie Howser, MD.

Hill Street Blues premiered in 1981 and initially puzzled its audience before gaining popularity and critical acclaim, ultimately receiving 27 Emmy nominations in its first year. Over its seven-season run, the show won 26 Emmy awards and launched Bochco’s career, which led to dozens of series and earned him four Peabody awards, in addition to the 10 Emmys he received.

The success of Hill Street Blues was largely due to the complex characters, quick pace, and overlapping dialogue shot in a documentary style. However, what set it apart from other series was its multiple narratives that intertwined with previous and future episodes. In an interview that he gave a couple of years before his passing, Bochco explained that he always wanted to create a show with a memory and that it took him a decade or so to get there.

Bochco, the son of a painter and concert violinist, grew up in Manhattan and began his career as a story editor for The Name of the Game at the age of 22. He wrote the screenplay for the 1972 sci-fi movie Silent Running, but the experience soured him on writing for the big screen due to the lack of respect given to writers after the screenplay is delivered.

Bochco’s memoir, Truth Is a Total Defense: My Fifty Years in Television, chronicles his successful career, from his early days as a story editor to his final series, Murder in the First, which ran on TNT from 2014 to 2016. The memoir recounts his collaborations, battles with actors, studio heads, and network executives, as well as the flops that made the triumphs even sweeter. If you want to learn more about his life and career, we highly recommend picking his novel and giving it a read.

Barbara Bosson will be remembered as an actress who made a significant impact on television, particularly for her role as Fay Furillo on the groundbreaking police drama, Hill Street Blues. Bosson played a pivotal role in the series, which challenged the traditional format of television dramas at the time, and her character was seen as a complex and multi-dimensional portrayal of a woman in a difficult marriage. Despite her departure from the show after three episodes of its fifth season, Bosson left a lasting impression on viewers and her contributions to the series will be remembered as an important milestone in the evolution of television dramas.

We’re deeply saddened to learn of Bosson’s passing. She’s survived by her two sons, who no doubt will do their best to keep their mother’s memory alive for as long as they are around. But even years down the line, when they too have passed, Bosson’s legacy will still be immortalized within the body of work that she put all of her heart, soul, and dedication into throughout her career.

Now it’s time to hear from you! Did you know that Barbara Bosson was married to Steven Bochco and that they went on to work together on a number of other television projects following their departure from Hill Street Blues? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thanks for watching!

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