John Bosley (Charlie's Angels)

John Bosley
First appearance "Pilot" (21 March 1976)
Last appearance "Royal Angels" (10 November 2011)
Created by Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts
Portrayed by David Doyle (1976–81)
Bill Murray (2000)
Ramón Rodríguez (2011)
Species Human
Gender Male
Occupation Private detective
Family Jimmy Bosley (brother)
For other uses, see John Bosley.

John Bosley is a fictional character in the 1976-1981 television series Charlie's Angels. He was portrayed by David Doyle.[1]

He, along with Kelly Garrett (actress Jaclyn Smith), is the only character to take part in every episode of the show's five-season run.

The character of John Bosley also appeared - played by Bill Murray - in the 2000 Charlie's Angels film. In the sequel, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, comedian Bernie Mac plays John Bosley's brother Jimmy Bosley. In the 2011 television reboot, John Bosley is portrayed by Ramón Rodríguez.

Original series

Boz's comic persona is integral to his function as mediator between the Angels and the enigmatic Charlie and between the show and the male viewers. Boz is Charlie's body without Charlie's voice, the surrogate for Charlie's body in the Angels' world who relays messages to Charlie and assists the Angels.
 Cathy Schwichtenberg, "A Patriarchal Voice in Heaven"[2]

In early episodes, Bosley takes a playfully antagonistic role to the Angels. He also frets about vacation days, car damages, and timeliness when the opportunity arises.[3] Bosley is apparently the only Townsend Agency employee to have ever met Charlie, and he remains steadfast in never revealing Charlie's identity, or even a clue as to what he looks like. This was a running joke in the series.[2]

Most of the Angels found themselves romantically involved at one time or another with someone they encountered on the job, and Bosley is no exception. In one early episode, Bosley mentions a wife, but by the second season he "has not been married for some time", and he became linked with several females encountered in cases, although always those of middle age. One particularly close relationship occurred when the Angels visited Aspen, Colorado in season three. However, these liaisons never seemed to last beyond the episode, and otherwise, we learn little about Bosley's private life. He remains a father figure to the Angels.[2] Ironically, although Bosley is proficient with firearms, disguises, and accents, his actions occasionally hampered the Angels' work. In one episode, Bosley, acting as an auctioneer, gets caught up in the excitement and mistakenly sells valuable merchandise not to an Angel as per the plan, ruining their attempt to catch a cat burglar.[4]

Critic's analysis

John Bosley (often nicknamed "Boz") is portrayed as a middle-aged man of average looks, especially when contrasted with the glamorous "Angels". However, he is warm, funny, and intelligent, and often helps the Angels either with background information, or by joining them in the field. Seemingly asexual[5] (and thus unthreatening - Bosley has been described as an "indulgent eunuch".[6]), he helped direct the Angels meet Charlie's desired ends in the series where most men were villains and women were often victims (outside the Angels themselves[7]). Several times he played either a pratfall-type character, the buffoon,[8] or a Sugar Daddy as part of one of the Angels' covers. Bosley always initiates the phone conferences between Charlie and the Angels as they learn of each case. He also acts as a bumbling father figure to the ladies.[5][9] Schwichtenberg described Bosley as a "narrative pimp" - with the sole male character (Bosley) an asexual "eunuch", the male viewer is free to desire the Angels without feeling threatened.[2] Writing for the New York Times in 2000, Molly Haskell noted that critics, more so than the fans, saw Bosley and Charlie "more as procurers than protectors" and that the two male characters and the Angels "fell into pimp-prostitute roles along traditional gender lines".[10]


David Doyle was nominated for a 1977 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series,[11] and a 1980 Golden Globe Award for Best TV Actor in a Supporting Role.[12]

Film series

In the Charlie's Angels film, John Bosley was played by Bill Murray, and then in the sequel, a new character, John's adoptive brother Jimmy Bosley (late comedian Bernie Mac), replaced him.[13] Murray's take on the stodgy and avuncular Bosley character was more buffoon-like, giving rambling speeches of little or no help to the Angels.[14] Murray's Bosley was well received; the Washington Post described him as "very funny as the Angels' fussy, butler-esque helper", but considered the fact that this was "only because Murray's funnier than the role written for him".[15]

For the first film, Drew Barrymore, the producer and star of the film series, pursued Murray for months to play Bosley; he consistently declined. Eventually, he did the film but did not return for the sequel. Bill Murray clashed with co-star Lucy Liu on the set; the two eventually made up, but Murray didn't want to work again with her, fearing that they may have another clash despite the success of the first film.[16][17]


  1. David Mansour, From Abba to Zoom, p. 249. (ISBN 0740751182)
  2. 1 2 3 4 Cathy Schwichtenberg (March 1981). "Charlie's Angels - A patriarchal voice in heaven". Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media. pp. 13–16.
  3. R White - Lipgloss Feminists: Charlie's Angels and The Bionic Woman, Storytelling: A Critical Journal of Popular Narrative (2006)
  5. 1 2 Sherry A. Inness, Disco Divas, p.156. (ISBN 0812218418)
  6. Todd Gitlin, Inside Prime Time, p. 121. (ISBN 0415085004)
  7. Charlie's Angels
  8. Bill Osgerby, Action TV, p. 94. (ISBN 0415226201)
  9. Otto Friedrich (8 June 1981). "Farewekk to a Phenomenon". TIME Magazine. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  10. Molly Haskell (10 September 2000). "Can 'Charlie's Angels' Still Fly in a 'G.I. Jane' World?". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  11. "Emmy Award nominees 1977". IMDB. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  12. "Golden Globe nominees 1980". IMDB. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  13. Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2004, P. 113. (ISBN 0740738348)
  14. "Jordan: Girl power rules". Athens Banner-Herald. 9 November 2000. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  15. Desson Howe (3 November 2000). "'Angels' Plays All the Right Angles". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  16. "Bill Murray wears his heart on his sleeve". The Guardian. 28 October 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  17. Bill Murray Clears Up 'Charlie's Angels' Feud with Lucy Liu
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