Bonnie Bedelia

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Bonnie Bedelia
Bonnie Bedelia 1974.JPG
Bedelia in The New Land (1974)
Bonnie Bedelia Culkin

(1948-03-25) March 25, 1948 (age 73)
New York City, U.S.
Years active1957–present
Ken Luber
(m. 1969; div. 1980)

Jay Telfer (divorced)
Michael MacRae
(m. 1995)
RelativesKit Culkin (brother)
Macaulay Culkin (nephew)
Kieran Culkin (nephew)
Rory Culkin (nephew)

Bonnie Bedelia Culkin (born March 25, 1948) is an American actress. After beginning her career in theatre, she starred in the CBS daytime soap opera Love of Life (1961–1967) before making her movie debut in The Gypsy Moths (1969). Bedelia was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her performance in the 1983 film Heart Like a Wheel, and for an Independent Spirit Award for The Prince of Pennsylvania (1988). She is best known for her role as Holly Gennero McClane in the action films Die Hard (1988) and Die Hard 2 (1990), and for her work in the movies They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), Lovers and Other Strangers (1970), Presumed Innocent (1990), and Needful Things (1993). Bedelia has also had many other leading and supporting film roles.

For her television work, Bedelia has earned two Emmy Awards nominations. From 2001 to 2004, Bedelia played the lead role in the Lifetime television drama series The Division. She later starred as family matriarch Camille Braverman in the NBC drama series Parenthood (2010–2015).

Early life and education[edit]

Bedelia was born in the Manhattan borough of New York City, the daughter of Marian Ethel (née Wagner), a writer and editor, and Philip Harley Culkin, who was in public relations and 50 years old at the time.[1] She was born in a difficult financial period when her father's firm went bankrupt, and they lived in "a cold-water tenement flat".[1] Her mother died when she was 14 and her father, "who had always had ulcers", died shortly afterward.[1] She has two brothers,[1] one of whom is actor Kit Culkin, and a sister, Candice Culkin.[2] She is the aunt of actors Macaulay, Kieran, and Rory Culkin.[1][2]

Bedelia studied dance in her youth, at School of American Ballet.[1] She received her acting training at HB Studio.[3]


Before becoming an actress, Bedelia studied ballet and appeared in a few productions with the New York City Ballet, including The Nutcracker. Her only dancing role onscreen was that of Clara in the Playhouse 90 television production of the George Balanchine Nutcracker (1958). From 1961 to 1967, Bedelia was a regular on the CBS soap opera Love of Life, portraying Sandy Porter. She also worked on Broadway, where she debuted supporting Patty Duke in 1962, in Isle of Children,[1] and won a Theatre World Award for playing the lead of in My Sweet Charlie, in 1966.[4]

Bedelia in the made-for-TV film Message to My Daughter (1973)

Bedelia made her film debut in The Gypsy Moths, and later in 1969 she attracted attention as the pregnant marathon dancer in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?[5] In following years, she starred in the comedy Lovers and Other Strangers (1970), had dramatic roles in The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie (1972) and Between Friends (1973), and appeared opposite Richard Dreyfuss in the comedy The Big Fix (1978). On television she played the leading role in the short-lived ABC drama series, The New Land.

In 1984, Bedelia received critical acclaim and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her starring role in Heart Like a Wheel (1983), as drag racer Shirley Muldowney.[2][6] Other well-known performances include her portrayals of Holly Gennero McClane, the wife of Bruce Willis's character John McClane in Die Hard (1988) and Die Hard 2 (1990), and of Barbara Sabich, the wife of Harrison Ford's character in Presumed Innocent (1990).[5][7]

Bedelia appeared in two Stephen King screen adaptations: Salem's Lot (1979) and Needful Things (1993). She was nominated for an Emmy Award for performances in the Showtime anthology series, Fallen Angels in 1993 and for the leading role in the made-for-television movie Locked in Silence (1999).[7] She played a number of leading roles in television films and miniseries, such as Switched at Birth, A Mother's Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story, Her Costly Affair, and Picnic. From 2001 to 2004, Bedelia starred as Capt. Kate McCafferty in the Lifetime television drama series The Division.[7] She later guest-starred in Big Love and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and starred opposite Rue McClanahan and Olivia Newton-John in the 2008 sitcom Sordid Lives: The Series.[8]

In 2010, Bedelia began starring in the NBC drama series, Parenthood, as the family matriarch, Camille Braverman.[9] The series aired for six seasons through 2015.[10]

In 2017, she appeared in season 2 of the TV series Designated Survivor, and in two Hallmark movies. In 2019, she guest starred on the Netflix series What/If.

Personal life[edit]

Bedelia married scriptwriter Ken Luber on April 24, 1969. Before divorcing in 1980, the couple had two sons, Uri (b. 1970) and Jonah (b. 1976).[1] She was also married briefly to musician and screenwriter Jay Telfer and then wed actor Michael MacRae in 1995.[11][12]



Year Title Role Notes
1969 The Gypsy Moths Annie Burke
1969 They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Ruby Bates
1970 Lovers and Other Strangers Susan Henderson
1972 In Pursuit of Treasure
1972 The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie Rosalie
1973 Between Friends Ellie
1978 The Big Fix Suzanne
1983 Heart Like a Wheel Shirley Muldowney
1986 Death of an Angel Deacon Grace McKenzie
1986 Violets Are Blue Ruth Squires
1986 The Boy Who Could Fly Charlene Michaelson
1987 Like Father Like Son Lady with Gum in Hair Cameo appearance
1987 The Stranger Alice Kildee
1988 The Prince of Pennsylvania Pam Marshetta
1988 Die Hard Holly Gennaro McClane
1989 Fat Man and Little Boy Kitty Oppenheimer
1990 Die Hard 2 Holly Gennaro McClane
1990 Presumed Innocent Barbara Sabich
1993 Needful Things Polly Chalmers
1994 Speechless Annette
1994 Judicial Consent Gwen Warwick
1997 Bad Manners Nancy Westlund
1999 Gloria Brenda
1999 Anywhere But Here Carol
2000 Sordid Lives Latrelle Williamson
2003 Manhood Alice
2005 Berkeley Hawkins
2013 Munchausen Mother Short film
2016 Broken Links Melanie
2017 The Scent of Rain and Lightning[13] Annabelle
2021 Violet Aunt Helen


Year Title Role Notes
1958 Playhouse 90 Clara Episode: "The Nutcracker"
1961–1967 Love of Life Sandy Porter Series regular
1964 East Side/West Side Linda Stuart Episode: "The $5.98 Dress"
1968 Judd for the Defense Ellie Episode: "The Death Farm"
1968 The High Chaparral Tina Granger Episode: "The Deceivers"
1969 Then Came Bronson Temple Brooks Episode: "Pilot"
1969, 1972 Bonanza Laurie Mansfield /Alice Harper Episodes: "The Unwanted" and "Forever"
1972 Sandcastles Jenna Hampshire Television film
1973 A Time for Love Kitty Television film
1973 Hawkins Edith Dayton-Thomas Episode: "Death and the Maiden"
1973 Message to My Daughter Janet Thatcher Television film
1973 Love Story Alice Hartman Episode: "Love Came Laughing"
1974 Heatwave! Laura Taylor Television film
1974 The New Land Anna Larsen Series regular, 13 episodes
1978 A Question of Love Joan Saltzman Television film
1979 Walking Through the Fire Dr. Rand Television film
1979 Salem's Lot Susan Norton Miniseries
1980 Tourist Mandy Burke Television film
1982 Fighting Back Aleta Television film
1982 Million Dollar Infield Marcia Miller Television film
1983 Memorial Day Cass Television film
1985 The Lady from Yesterday Janet Weston Television film
1986 Alex: The Life of a Child Carole Deford Television film
1987 When the Time Comes Liddy Travis Television film
1990 Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture Hannah McGrath Television film
1991 Switched at Birth Regina Twigg Television film
1992 A Mother's Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story Elizabeth Morgan Television film
1993 Fallen Angels Sally Creighton Episode: "The Quiet Room"
1993 The Fire Next Time Suzanne Morgan Television film
1995 Legacy of Sin: The William Coit Story Jill Coit Television film
1995 Shadow of a Doubt Robin Harwell Television film
1996 The Outer Limits Nancy McDonald Episode: "Worlds Apart"
1996 Homecoming Eunice Logan Television film
1996 A Season in Purgatory Valerie Sabbath Miniseries
1996 Her Costly Affair Dr. Diane Weston Television film
1997 Any Mother's Son Dorothy Hajdys Television film
1998 To Live Again Iris Sayer Television film
1999 Locked in Silence Lydia Television film
2000 Flowers for Algernon Rose Television film
2000 Picnic Flo Owens Television film
2001–2004 The Division Capt. Kate McCafferty Series regular, 88 episodes
2007 Big Love Virginia Ginger Heffman Episode: "Good Guys and Bad Guys"
2008 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation DDA Madeline Klein Episode: "Grissom's Divine Comedy"
2008 Sordid Lives: The Series Latrelle Williamson Series regular, 12 episodes
2010–2015 Parenthood Camille Braverman Series regular, 103 episodes
2017 Designated Survivor Eva Booker 5 episodes
2017 A Joyous Christmas Joy Television film (Hallmark)
2017 Christmas on the Coast Ellie Cassadine Television film (Hallmark)
2019 What/If Margaret Denner Episode: "What Secrets"
2021 Panic Anne McCarthy 8 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
1967 Theatre World Award Theatre World Award My Sweet Charlie Won
1984 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Heart Like a Wheel Nominated
1989 Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Female The Prince of Pennsylvania Nominated
1994 Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series Fallen Angels Nominated
1997 CableACE Award Outstanding Actress in a Movie or Miniseries Any Mother's Son Nominated
1999 Lone Star Film & Television Awards Best TV Actress To Live Again Won
2000 Emmy Award Outstanding Actress in a Movie or Miniseries Locked in Silence Nominated
2012 Ojai Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award Won


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Bandler, Michael J. (October 25, 1992). "Character Study Despite Her Laurels, Bonnie Bedelia Wonders When Stardom Will Arrive". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Bonnie Bedelia: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  3. ^ "Alumni". HB Studio.
  4. ^ The Broadway League. "Bonnie Bedelia". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Bonnie Bedelia". March 25, 1946. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  6. ^ "Bonnie Bedelia Bio | Parenthood". NBC. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c "Bonnie Bedelia". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  8. ^ Backlot, The (July 3, 2008). "The To-Die-For Cast of "Sordid Lives: The Series"". Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  9. ^ "More stars join NBC's 'Parenthood'". HitFix. April 19, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2013.
  10. ^ "Parenthood: Renewed for Sixth and Final Season". Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  11. ^ Neilly, Peter (2010). "Out to Lunch!: Jay Telfer". The Wayback Times. Hastings, Ontario, Canada. Archived from the original on November 1, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  12. ^ Ryon, Ruth (November 24, 1996). "10-Year 'Affair' With L.A. Ends". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  13. ^ "Logan Miller, Mark Webber, Justin Chatwin Join 'The Scent of Rain and Lightning'". TheWrap. Retrieved November 10, 2015.

External links[edit]