Bedelia nabbed a five-year role as young teen Sandy Porter in the New York-based daytime soap Love of Life 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 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.
Films beckoned at this point, and Bedelia made her debut lending top-notch support in The Gypsy Moths, which reunited From Here to Eternity 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 delivering a touching pathos, she played the dirt-poor marathon dancer who pitches songs for pennies in the award-winning, Depression-era film drama They Shoot Horses, Don't They? On the other end of the acting spectrum, she played the lovable bride-to-be in the sidesplitting comedy classic Lovers and Other Strangers.
At the age of 33, Bedelia received critical acclaim and a Golden Globe nomination for her role as racecar driver Shirley Muldowney in Jonathan Kaplan's Heart Like a Wheel. She starred opposite Kevin Kline in Violets Are Blue; Ed Harris in Stephen King's Needful Things; Keanu Reeves in The Prince of Pennsylvania (for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nod); and Paul Newman in Roland Joffe's Fat Man and Little Boy. She chilled moviegoers as the deranged murderous wife of Harrison Ford in Alan Pakula's Presumed Innocent, and played Bruce Willis' endangered true love in Die Hard.
Bedelia found a niche in numerous television movies with relevant social themes such as The Elizabeth Morgan Story, Alex, The Life of a Child, and Any Mother's Son, for which she received a CableACE award nomination. Her miniseries credits include Switched at Birth, The Fire Next Time, the Showtime drama Judicial Consent, and the HBO drama Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture. She was nominated for an Emmy for Locked in Silence, and again for her performance in Stephen Soderbergh's The Quiet Room.
In a change of pace, Bedelia joined the ensemble cast of the low-budget cult comedy Sordid Lives, 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 eventually became a TV series, which she also starred in. Most recently she starred as Captain Kate McCafferty on the drama series The Division.
In 2006, Bedelia was presented with the Women in Film Nell Shipman Award for Career Achievement. The native New Yorker has been happily married for many years to actor Michael MacRae.
Read earlier biographies on this page.
Bonnie Bedelia Facts
|Birth Name||Bonnie Bedelia Culkin|
|Birthday||March 25, 1948 (71)|
|Birthplace||New York, New York, USA|
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