Absolute Strangers is a 1991 made-for-television CBS docudrama featuring Happy Days star Henry Winkler returning to his first major TV role in eight years. The screenplay, written by Robert Woodruff Anderson, was based on the true story of a husband's controversial decision to have his wife undergo an abortion to aid her recovery after a head-trauma accident had left her comatose. The title is taken from court decision that used "absolute strangers"—itself apparently derived from a courtroom outburst by the husband—to describe two anti-abortion activists, one of whom sued the husband to get custody of the fetus, the other to be appointed guardian of the comatose wife. The impending broadcast of the film spurred anti-abortion activists, including the American Family Association, to try to discourage advertisers from buying time during the show. These efforts provoked counter-demonstrations, and campaigns of letter-writing in support of the broadcast from Planned Parenthood, the National Council of Jewish Women, and other groups. The real-life husband, Martin Klein, appeared in a cameo. Henry Winkler played Martin Klein, with his wife Nancy played by Jennifer Hetrick. Others in the cast included Karl Malden as Nancy Klein's father, Patty Duke as the appeals court judge (personally opposed to abortion) in the pivotal court case, and Richard Kiley as a doctor who favors abortion in such cases. The film's director, Gilbert Cates, was nominated for a Primetime Emmy.
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