The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Featured Series (W)
Who's the Boss?
(ABC, 1984-1992)

Tony Micelli.....Tony Danza
Angela Bower.....Judith Light
Samantha Micelli.....Alyssa Milano
Jonathan Bower.....Danny Pintauro
Mona Robinson.....Katherine Helmond

Two television series featuring macho guys working as domestics in a household debuted in 1984. One, Charles in Charge, featured Scott Baio lasted only one season and then, in the late 1980s, reappeared in syndication. Who's the Boss?, starring Tony Danza, late of Taxi fame, would become one of the most enduring and popular sitcoms of the decade, thanks in large measure to the instant chemistry that developed between Danza and his costar Judith Light -- and, later, to Alyssa Milano's ascension to the status of teen sensation.
Tony Micelli (Danza) is a widower and former second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals who wants to remove his young daughter Samantha (Milano) from the chaos, crime and congestion of New York City. To that end he takes a job as housekeeper for Angela Bower (Light), who lives in suburban Connecticut and works as president of an advertising agency. Angela, a divorcee, has a rambunctious son of Jonathan (Danny Pintauro), who doesn't take right away to the new situation. But Angela's free-spirited mother Mona (Katherine Helmond) is all for it.  Tony brings order to the Bower household -- and provides Jonathan with a much-needed father-figure. But the underlying theme throughout the series was the evolving relationship between Tony and Angela. Not until near the end of the series does the pair admit their love for one another, but then Tony takes a coaching job in Iowa. Angela tries living with him in Iowa, and when that doesn't work the duo try to make do with a long distance relationship. That, too, seems destined for failure. In the end, millions of fans are delighted when Tony reappears on Angela's doorstep; he's decided their relationship is more important than his coaching job.
Tony Danza (b. 4.21.51, Brooklyn, NY) earned a bachelor's degree in history education from the University of Dubuque, attending on a wrestling scholarship, before being discovered in a New York boxing gym by a producer of the sitcom Taxi. After starring in that series for five seasons, Danza moved immediately to Who's the Boss? He later appeared in another series, the short-lived Hudson Street (1995) followed by The Tony Danza Show (1997). He appeared as Joe Celano in Family Law (1999). His film work includes numerous made-for-TV features, such as Doing Life (1986) and 12 Angry Men (1997), along with a few feature films like She's Out of Control (1989) and Angels in the Outfield (1994). Danza has also proven himself on the stage; his theatrical debut in Wrong Turn earned him an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, and he has won critical acclaim in a Broadway revival of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh. In addition, Danza's song-and-dance show debuted to rave reviews in Atlantic City in 1995; he has since taken the show on the road. Recently, he won an Emmy nomination for a guest-starring role on The Practice.
Judith Light (b. 2.9.49, Trenton, NJ) graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1971 and appeared from 1977-83 on the daytime drama One Life to Live before moving on to Who's the Boss? Since then she has starred in a number of made-for-TV movies (Betrayal of Trust, Lady Killer, Murder at My Door) and, most recently, landed a recurring role in the acclaimed NBC drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Born 12.19.72 in Brooklyn, NY, Alyssa Milano was dragged to an audition for Annie by her babysitter, who sought a role in the play. It was Milano, however, who landed a role, and at the tender age of seven went on the road (her mother in tow). Milano also appeared in other off-Broadway productions and several television commercials before signing on with Who's the Boss?, at which point her entire family pulled up stakes and moved to Hollywood. Since WTB?, Milano has stirred controversy by posing nude in Bikini magazine and appearing in a commercial for Candies perfume that was too steamy for some networks. She was married (for a while) to Cinjun Tate, lead singer for the rock group Remy Zero. She released five albums in Japan, all of which went platinum. And a picture of her was used in the creation of the character Ariel for the hit Disney movie The Little Mermaid. Recently, she was voted # 4 in FHM Magazine's 100 Sexiest Women list.

Series Highlights
Pilot (9.20.84): Hoping for a better life for himself and his street-smart daughter Samantha, Tony Micelli takes a job as live-in housekeeper for a well-to-do businesswoman.
Angela's First Fight (10.23.84): Back in Tony's old neighborhood in Brooklyn, Angela stands up for him when he's criticized for becoming a housekeeper, and even gets into a cat fight with a waitress.
Requiem (12.18.84): When Tony starts moonlighting to raise extra cash, Mona suspects that he has a secret girlfriend back in Brooklyn.
Guess Who's Coming Forever? (1.29.85): When Mona is evicted from her apartment, Tony suggests she move into the Bower household -- an idea that doesn't thrill Angela.
Angela's Ex (2.5.85): Angela's ex-husband comes by to sign the divorce papers; instead, the two appear to reconcile, and the ex gives Tony his walking papers.
Just Like Tony (3.12.85): Inspired by Tony's tales of his rebellious youth, Jonathan steals a hubcap, and despite Angela's insistence that she be consulted in all decisions related to her son, Tony tries to handle the crisis himself.
It Happened One Summer 2 (10.1.85): Visiting Jonathan's summer camp, Tony and Angela take a walk in the woods, are caught in a thunderstorm, and end up spending the night together in a cheap motel.
Ad Man Micelli (10.8.85): Trying to impress the wealthy students at her new school, Samantha tells them that her father owns Angela's house and is an advertising executive.
The Anniversary Show (5.6.86): Angela's plans for a special dinner commemorating Tony's and Samantha's two years in the house is ruined when Tony gets sick and is rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.
Angela Gets Fired (9.23.86): While Angela is off on a much-needed vacation, Tony fields an important message for her, but when he forgets to give it to her, she loses an important account -- and her job.
Semi-Private Lives (11.25.86): With the house empty, Tony decides to invite old flame Tanya over for a pleasant evening -- one that's interrupted when Angela and her friend Geoffrey return unexpectedly.
The Matriculator (2.9.88): While encouraging Samantha to go to college, Tony is bitten by the bug and applies himself -- only to chicken out when time comes to take the admissions test.
Model Daughter (3.22.88): Samantha takes a job as a model and becomes a big success, which doesn't thrill her father, who discovers his little girl is no longer depending on him.
First Date (2.21.89): Learning that Angela may have to pay an escort for a dinner event, Mona talks Tony into asking her daughter out on a date.
To Tony, With Love (11.28.89): As part of an independent study course, Tony takes on the task of teacher's assistant for a third-grade class -- an experience that leaves him contemplating a career as a teacher.
Hey Dude! (9.29.90): Samantha spends a summer working on a dude ranch in New Mexico, and Tony is shocked when she calls to say she's thinking about staying out West permanently.
Ms. Mom (1.29.91): Angela takes over Tony's household duties for two weeks while he studies for an all-important exam.
Death and Love (11.9.91): Tony suffers a midlife crisis and decides to make a proposal of marriage to Angela -- a proposal she turns down.
Better Off Wed 2 (2.22.92): When Samantha and Hank elope, Tony scrambles to make it to the wedding on time.