Who is Bonnie Bedelia?
Bonnie Bedelia is an American actress. She is one of those American actors who, despite getting critically acclaimed perpetually by the critics, remained in the background more often than not. She began her acting career with theatre in college and in the early 60s she embarked into TV with the daily soap ‘Love of Life’, where her performance was appreciated. Despite this appreciation in the very early phase of her career, she had to wait a few more years for her very first film role, which was ‘The Gypsy Moths’ in 1969. Later, she was appreciated for her roles in two ‘Die hard’ films and she continued to work throughout the 70s and 80s in main roles and supporting ones. She never had the fascination or madness for playing the leading roles, and she would accept the films if her role offered something interesting. She also earned a Golden Globe nomination for the film ‘Heart like a Wheel’ and one Independent Spirit award for ‘The Prince of Pennsylvania’. Lately, she was seen in NBC drama ‘Parenthood’ and she continues to show her acting prowess guest starring in TV shows and playing supporting roles in films.
Childhood & Early Life
Bonnie Bedelia was born in New York City on 25th March 1948 to a writer mother, Marian, and a Journalist father, Philip, in very humble conditions. The family of four children somehow managed to survive as her father’s company almost went bankrupt when Bonnie was born, but being artists themselves, the parents encouraged their children to be artists.
Bonnie was much more interested in Ballet as a kid and she joined a dance school at the age of 7, to hone her skills. That was her very first tryst with performing arts and she developed a knack for it, knowing all well that it was something she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
At a tender age of 9, she joined the prestigious New York City Ballet after she was spotted in an off-Broadway show in a production by Tom Sawyer. Somehow, during all this time, the acting bug had seeped into her psyche slowly and discreetly, which she later expressed openly to her parents.
Her brother Kit Bedelia Culkin was already trying to become an actor by this time and although he would go on to achieve moderate success as an actor, his children became way more popular as actors such as Macaulay Culkin and Kieran Culkin.
Bonnie thought about taking professional training in acting before going ahead with the auditions and she got herself enrolled in the Actor’s Studio and HB studios in New York City, where she learned the basics of acting.
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A popular daytime soap ‘Love of Life’ hired a young Bonnie to play the role of Sandy Porter. While working on the show, Bonnie simultaneously finished her high school. She also kept herself busy in doing the Broadway productions at that time and remained attached to the character of Sandy until 1967, winning awards and appreciation and by then, she was an adult and ready to take on the roles of leading ladies.
In 1969, she appeared in her very first full-fledged feature film titled ‘The Gypsy Moths’ and in the very same year, she played a pregnant marathon dancer in the film ‘They Shoot Horses don’t they?’ Both the roles proved to be stepping stones for a successful film career as she had everything, from looks to acting talent, to dancing skills.
Naturally, Hollywood quickly rained offers on her and she went on to star in films such as ‘Lovers and Other Strangers’ and ‘The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie’. She was keeping a perfect balance in the comedy roles, which were in trend in those days, and heavily dramatic roles, that perfectly exhibited her acting skills.
She also starred in late 70s in a comedy film titled ‘The Big Fix’ and happened to do a few TV movies and a soap opera titled ‘The New Land’. Other than that, almost all of the 70s was quite uneventful for her as she had a decent starting of a career and yet, she was not getting offered any career defining roles, but somehow, she kept her sanity in check and kept working, in hopes of better roles.
In the 80s, she was offered the role of a drag racer in the film ‘Heart Like a Wheel’, which came out in 1984. The film was a major commercial and critical success and Bonnie went on to receive a Golden Globe Nomination for her role. It seemed that she had made a solid comeback, and she kept doing big and small roles in movies in the following years, but she desired a solid worldwide hit, and that came to her with Bruce Willis starrer ‘Die Hard’ which released in 1988. The film was a hardcore action entertainer and she got to play the role of lead character’s wife Holly McLane.
With ‘Die Hard’, she became a household name and she continued her role in the sequel to the heavily successful film in 1990 titled ‘Die Hard 2’. The humongous success those films received, relied heavily on Bruce Willis’ shoulders and Bonnie appeared as a side character. Bonnie’s acting career didn’t flourish much after that success and she continued doing roles in TV, films and TV films.
She appeared in ‘Fallen Angels’, an anthology series for Showtime in the year 1993 and her performance was highly appreciated. She earned an Emmy nomination for the 1999 film ‘Locked in Silence’. The film was made for television and its success brought Bonnie in heavy demand for TV films in the next few years. She appeared in films like ‘Manhood’ and ‘Sordid Lives’ in the early 2000s and TV series’ such as ‘Picnic’ and ‘The Division’.
Later, Bonnie played some significant and some guest roles in ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ and ‘Sordid Lives’ and a film ‘Berkeley’. Somehow, her career saw a downhill as she aged and although she was a very talented actor, Hollywood never treated her right and proved once again that even the best ones can still remain mostly obscure if their luck turns its backs on them.
Very lately, she was seen in ‘Parenthood’, a drama series, which stopped airing after 2015 and in 2017, she was seen in the movie titled ‘The Scent of Rain and Lighting’.
Bonnie met screenwriter Ken Luber during a meeting for a film in the late 60s and they immediately started dating. It didn’t take much time after that for them to fall in love with and the couple got married on 24th April 1969 and in the very next year, the couple welcomed a son in their family, named Yuri.
She indulged into motherhood and gave lesser time to her acting career and when she got pregnant again in mid 70s, this was the time when her acting career really went downhill.
Unfortunately, the marriage hit a rock bottom and the couple divorced in 1980. Bonnie went on to marry Jay Telfer, then divorced him and finally met and got married to her current husband Michael MacRae in 1995.