February 20, 2023
Sad to report Barbara Bosson, who was the achingly vulnerable divorcée Fay Furillo on Hill Street Blues, died Saturday, February 18, 2023, in L.A. in her sleep.
Born November 1, 1939, in Pennsylvania, she lived in Florida before moving to NYC to pursue acting. She was accepted to Carnegie-Mellon, but could not afford tuition, so she did what any bad-ass would do in the '60s — she worked as a Playboy bunny.
After studying acting with luminaries like Milton Katselas (1933-2008) and also working as a secretary, Bosson had saved enough money by her mid-20s to enter Carnegie-Mellon. She met Steven Bochco (1943-2018) and his friends Bruce Weitz (b. 1943) and Charles Haid (b. 1943).
She also joined the comedy troupe The Committee, with whom she made her TV debut on an episode of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1968-1969).
Her first two film appearances were uncredited, but were major motion pictures — Bullitt (1968) and The Love God? (1969).
In 1970, she married Bochco, staying with him until their 1997 divorce. He died of leukemia in 2018.
Her union with Bochco proved creatively fruitful, leading to her supporting role on Hill Street Blues (1981-1987) and roles on his series Hooperman (1987-1989), Cop Rock (1990) and Murder One (1995-1997). She was Emmy-nominated five times in a row for Hill Street, and once for Murder One. She would go on to recreate her tough-as-nails character from Murder One in a 1997 miniseries before retirement.
Bosson also made numerous TV guest appearances, including on Mannix (1969), Emergency! (1972), Ironside (1972), McMillan & Wife (1974 & 1976), five episodes of Richie Brockelman, Private Eye (1978), Crazy Like a Fox (1986), Hotel (1988), Murder, She Wrote (1988), Civil Wars (1992-1993), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1994), NYPD Blue (1994), and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1995).
Her movie work included Mame (1974), Capricorn One (1977) and The Last Starfighter (1984), for which she was especially fondly remembered.
Bosson is survived by her two children and two grandchildren with Bochco.