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Bonnie Bedelia Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trivia (8) | Personal Quotes (19)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 25 March 1948New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameBonnie Bedelia Culkin
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The native New Yorker was born Bonnie Bedelia Culkin on March 25, 1948, the daughter of Phillip Harley Culkin, a journalist, and Marian Ethel Wagner Culkin, a writer and editor. Trained in ballet, her parents guided all of the children at one time or another into acting (which included Christopher (Kit), Terry and Candace Culkin). Bonnie herself attended Quintano School for Young Professionals in New York at one point and Bonnie and Kit went on to appear on the local stage and TV. Brother Kit would later be known more for siring a handful of talented child actors and/or stars (Macaulay Culkin, Kieran Culkin, and the rest).

It was Bonnie who was first spotted among the other acting siblings by a talent scout who happened to catch her in a school production of "Tom Sawyer", and encouraged her. She made her professional debut at age 9 in a 1957 North Jersey Playhouse production of "Dr. Praetorius" and then was handed a full scholarship to study at George Balanchine's New York City Ballet. But the acting bug had bitten and after dancing in only four productions (including playing the role of Clara in "The Nutcracker"), she decided to hang up her ballet slippers. She proceeded to study at both the HB Studio and Actors Studio in New York.

Bonnie nabbed a five-year role as young teen "Sandy Porter" in the New York-based daytime soap Love of Life (1951) starting in 1961. During that time, she took her first Broadway bow in "Isle of Children", a show that lasted but a week in March of 1962. She was also a replacement in the established hit comedy "Enter Laughing", a year later. After appearing in the stage play "The Playroom" in 1965, she earned strong reviews for her touching performance in "My Sweet Charlie", for which she won the 1967 Theatre World Award for "promising new artist". In it, she played a pregnant young Southern girl on the lam with a black lawyer. Patty Duke recreated the role a few years later on TV and captured an Emmy.

Films beckoned at this point and Bonnie made her debut lending topnotch support in The Gypsy Moths (1969) which reunited From Here to Eternity (1953) stars Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. She earned even better marks in her next two films, one performance simply haunting and the other one hilarious. Once again playing pregnant and once again delivering a touching pathos, she played the dirt-poor marathon dancer who pitches songs for pennies and the almost-mother of Bruce Dern's child in the superb, award-winning, Depression-era drama They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969). On the other end of the acting spectrum, she played the lovable bride-to-be in the side-splitting comedy classic Lovers and Other Strangers (1970).

By this time, Bonnie had started concentrating on family values. She married scriptwriter Ken Luber on April 24, 1969, and bore him a son, Yuri, the following year. The time off to focus on motherhood (she had second son, Jonah Luber, in 1976) proved detrimental to her rising star. The remaining decade was uneventful at best, despite some fine showings in a splattering of TV-movies. Her big comeback came again on the movie trail in the early 1980s when she absolutely nailed the role of race car driver Shirley Muldowney in Heart Like a Wheel (1983). She was surprisingly overlooked at Oscar time, however, despite the praise she received. Despite respected work in subsequent movies such as Violets Are Blue... (1986), The Prince of Pennsylvania (1988), Presumed Innocent (1990) and a running role as Bruce Willis's put-upon wife in Die Hard (1988) and its sequel, she found better and more frequent parts on TV. She found her niche in TV-movies with social themes and tugged at more hearts in Switched at Birth (1991), A Mother's Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story (1992), Any Mother's Son (1997) and To Live Again (1998).

In a change of pace, Bonnie joined the ensemble cast of the low-budget cult comedy Sordid Lives (2000), as "Latrelle", a homophobic woman dealing with her mother's death, the imprisonment of her gay brother and her own son's "coming out". The movie has recently evolved into a TV series, which is scheduled for some time in 2008 and reunites her with original cast members Leslie Jordan and Olivia Newton-John.

Divorced from the father of her two children, she is presently married to third husband (or fourth, depending on your source of reference) actor Michael MacRae, whom she married in 1995.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (3)

Michael MacRae (1995 - present)
James Telfer (24 May 1975 - ?) (divorced)
Ken Luber (15 April 1969 - 1980) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (8)

Her picture appears on the cover of the book "The Films of Don Shebib" by Piers Handling (Canadian Film Institute, Ottawa, 1978). Donald Shebib was her director for Between Friends (1973).
Sister of Christopher Culkin, Candace Culkin and Terry Culkin.
She appears in two films based on Stephen King books where there's an evil antique shop owner in the plot (Salem's Lot (1979) and Needful Things (1993)).
She has two children with Ken Luber: Uri Luber (born 5 June 1970) and Jonah Luber (born 15 June 1976).
Co-founded the Los Angeles Classic Theater Works.
She studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
Her paternal grandfather was of Irish descent. Her other ancestry includes German, English, Swiss-German, and French.

Personal Quotes (19)

I like to do a movie, to be on it 8, 10 weeks. It evolves as you're working on it. Little things come to you every day. It's a slow process, and when you have to pack it into a short period of time, which you do for television, the experience is not one that I cherish. So if it's going to be television, it's really got to be the right thing.
It's hard to think it's important to try out as cheerleader when you're starring on Broadway. But you do kind of miss the things that I now see my children doing. I'm just happy they are not actors. The Valentine's Day dance is really important. Pitching in Little League is very important. And the medals and the scouts are really important.
I don't consider roles like in Die Hard (1988) what I do. This is like a hobby. It's fun. I had a good time. And I love being in a movie that people actually go see. But it's about things getting blown up. It's not about great character development.
When I was 14, my mother died. My father, who had always had ulcers, came apart. He had a series of intestinal operations, and was in the hospital for nearly a year. So the four of us teenagers lived by ourselves in the apartment without a guardian.
Unless you burst into movies as a sex goddess, you're likely to play wives and mothers. I came into movies as a teenager in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) playing a pregnant waif from the Ozarks. I didn't get a chance to burst into movies in 'Body Heat'. My career isn't based on having a 23-inch waist and a big bust, though I do.
Women over 35 have great stories, and the actresses are there, but you can't get the movies made.
I'm from New York; I've been in show business all my life. I'm a wild and crazy gal, yet I always play these soft, warm, loving earth mothers. It's a pain in the butt. I'm a femme fatale!
If someone were to come from another planet and see the world through movies, they'd think that the world was populated by white men in their 30s who shoot a lot.
I grew up in a slum neighborhood - rows of tenements, with stoops, and kids all over the street. It was a real neighborhood - we played kick-the-can and ring-a-levio.
If I spoke Italian, I'd be in Italy in a minute. I love the food, I love the way people live there. I mean, it really is my idea of paradise.
I didn't even know how to judge 'Die Hard 1.' It's not anything I know how to judge. I'd never seen an action movie. I'd never seen a Sly Stallone ('Silvester Stallone') movie or an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie or a Charles Bronson movie. And that is the truth.
I don't take the roles home with me. I don't work that way. I don't understand that; I mean, I really don't when I hear that.
We need children to play the parts in movies. I'm just glad it's not my kids.
My grandfather had been on the New York City force with his 11 brothers around the turn of the century. He was killed in the line of duty. My father, who was 16, was the oldest son, so he had to quit school and go to work to support his mother.
I've had some interesting roles along the way, but they tend to be cause-driven. They're always about something. There isn't time for character work as an actor because you're fighting the cause or mourning the child or fighting the disease, etc.
It's pretty scary, but it really is just numbers. I heard someone say that, and it's true. I turn 65 in March, and I actually just got my Medicare card because I'd been dragging my feet about that. But, boy, do I not feel like 65. I feel like I'm 40.
I have two children - could I ever choose between them? Never. That's what 'Sophie's Choice' was about. If you have 50 children, you don't love one less.
Whenever there's heavy-duty emotional work to be done, they call me. As for playing the completely off-the-wall, sexy, gorgeous lady that I am - no, they don't think of me.
I look in the mirror, and I go, 'You look 40.' I feel like I look 40. I may not, but that's my feeling, so I can't really relate to it (being 65). I'm going to have to start. I can't say it's scary. It's weird; it's just weird.

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