TODAY   |  March 02, 2013

Bonnie Franklin remembered as ‘full of light and love’

Bonnie Franklin, one of the great TV moms, personified the struggling single parent on the seventies classic "One Day at a Time." She lost her battle with pancreatic cancer Friday. NBC’s Diana Alvear reports.

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>>> bonnie franklin personified the struggling single parent in "one day at a time." franklin lost her battle with cancer on friday in her california home. diana alviar has more from los angeles . this is it this is life

>> reporter: flawed and single and an romano was no june cleaver .

>> i'm not married.

>> you are divorced?

>> yes, i am.

>> great.

>> reporter: bonnie franklin 's character on "one day at a time" was a first for a prime time sitcom. she talked about it in a 2005 pbs reunion special.

>> back in the '70s when we were doing this, across the country were single parents . yet, it hadn't been reflected on camera.

>> reporter: born bonnie gale franklin , she made her tv debut at 9. franklin 's biggest impact was as mom to daughters julie played by mckenzie phillips and barbara played by valerie bert nelly.

>> steve asked me to go away with him for the weekend and i'm going.

>> great, mom. have a great time.

>> barbara? you don't understand. she's going to shack up.

>> reporter: "one day at a time" was ground breaking , in this case because franklin played a single mom with a very active dating life.

>> i guess it's been a long time since you had a man sleep over, huh?

>> no.

>> this is really the first time we saw a divorcee on television dating men and really trying to get her love life back in order after a failed marriage.

>> reporter: last september, she was diagnosed with pafrpg ree nk kree attic cancer.

>> my heart is breaking. bonnie is always one of the most important women in my life and was a second mother to me. phillips said shes with just full of light and love. and the man who cast franklin in her iconic role said "i was wrong. i thought life forces never die. bonnie was such a life force . bubbly, always up, the smile never left her face." a feisty feminist who inspired her fans.

>> i love you.

>> and you.

>> with her trade mark pictures of grace and grit.

>> we're back in a moment. this is "today" on nbc.

>>> still to come on "today,"