Bonnie Bartlett Discussed Her Briefly Open Marriage With 'Boy Meets World' Star
Bonnie Bartlett is best known for playing Ellen Craig in the ’80s hospital hit St. Elsewhere and Grace Snider Edwards in Little House on the Prairie. The iconic Emmy-winning actress also starred in Boy Meets World — alongside her real-life husband, no less. Working so closely with a spouse has surely got to result in a bit of drama every now and then, especially in the world of showbiz. And it turns out Bartlett has more than a few stories to tell about that time. With the release of her 2023 memoir, the now-93-year-old has caused a bit of a stir with some surprisingly salacious revelations about her 70-plus years of marriage.
Married on and off screen
For ‘90s kids, the mere mention of the name “Mr. Feeny” will give them a warm, fuzzy feeling. On Boy Meets World, veteran actor William Daniels played the kindly teacher who was never short of sage wisdom to hand out to the show’s various teen characters. But fans might not have realized that Dean Lila Bolander, his love interest in the final season, was actually played by his wife in real life. Interestingly, it wasn’t the first time they’d played a couple on screen.
An all-conquering TV couple
In the ’80s, Daniels also starred in St. Elsewhere alongside his real-life wife. He was Dr. Mark Craig, the husband of Ellen, who was famously played by Bartlett. Their time on that show was so successful that Bartlett won consecutive supporting actress Emmys in ’86 and ’87, while Daniels won Best Lead Actor in ’85 and ’86. Their ’86 wins made them the first married couple since 1965 to win Emmys on the same night! Talk about a power couple.
An actors’ meet cute
It maybe shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that the famous couple has been together for so long. In fact, their union dates all the way back to their days as acting students at Northwestern University. In a 2020 interview with Forbes magazine, Daniels revealed, “I waited for her at the door of the classroom until she came by, and I said, ‘How about a cup of coffee?’ And she said, ‘You're too short.’ I said, ‘Come on, have a cup of coffee.’ She said, ‘Okay.’ Turns out, she heard I had been on Broadway!”
It’s all in the family
In 1951 the smitten couple went on to marry, and ten years later Bartlett gave birth to their son William Jr. Tragically, the baby passed away after only 24 hours. Happily, though, they were later able to start their family by adopting sons Michael and Robert. Michael grew up to become an L.A. stage manager and assistant director, while Robert is an artist and graphic designer in New York.