Scott Baio grew up on the set of Happy Days, and now he is sharing his memories of Tom Bosley, the ultimate TV dad, who died Tuesday at age 83.
“He was always a father to us, both on screen, of course, and backstage. He was always giving us advice – little pieces of wisdom, whether it was about acting or finances or life in general,” Baio, 50, who played The Fonz’s cousin Chachi Arcola, tells PEOPLE. “He played that father part so well because that is who he was. I don’t know what he was like at home, but in my mind and I think for the rest of us on Happy Days, there was very little distinction between Tom, the man, and Mr. C, the character.
“He was also an incredibly calm guy. He never got rattled. I think that was a really important aspect to Happy Days, where so many of us were so young. He was a very grounding influence on us.
“If you think about every TV father that has come since has had a little bit of Mr. C in him. The dad from the Family Guy is basically just Mr. C without a filter. And everyone was touched by him too. You go up to a 5-year-old and mention Mr. C, they will probably know who you are talking about. Tom Bosley may have passed, but through that part and that character, a part of him will live on forever.”