Bonnie Bedelia - Rotten Tomatoes

Bonnie Bedelia



One of the more underrated actresses working in the cinema, Bonnie Bedelia has been impressing critics and audiences with her strong and understated screen presence for over three decades. Frequently cast as put-upon wives and mothers, Bedelia did particularly memorable work in this capacity in the first two Die Hard movies and in Presumed Innocent (1990), all of which allowed her to provide depth and complexity to what could have been stock characters.



Born Bonnie Bedelia Culkin (she is the sister of Kit Culkin, father of Macaulay) in New York City on March 25, 1946, Bedelia began performing for an audience at a young age, beginning her study of ballet at the age of four and joining George Balanchine's School of Ballet three years later. At the advanced age of nine, she made her off-Broadway debut in a production of Tom Sawyer, then spent the next four years dancing professionally with the New York City Ballet and working in various summer stock and off-Broadway productions. Her television debut as a regular on the daytime soap Love of Life followed when Bedelia was 13; while working on the show, she also attended high school, studied at the Quintano School of Acting with Uta Hagen, and appeared in four Broadway productions. In 1967, Bedelia earned a Theatre World Award for her performance in the play My Sweet Charlie and subsequently joined actors Martin Sheen and Louis Gossett Jr. in their formation of a classical acting troupe in Los Angeles.



Bedelia made her film debut with a supporting role in The Gypsy Moths, a 1969 drama directed by John Frankenheimer that starred Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. That same year, she earned great acclaim for her work in Sydney Pollack's They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, which cast her as the pregnant wife of a hapless drifter (Bruce Dern). A role as a young bride-to-be in the similarly feted Lovers and Other Strangers followed in 1970, and Bedelia spent the remainder of the decade appearing largely in TV movies.



1983 provided Bedelia with a meaty starring role in the theatrical feature Heart Like a Wheel, the true-life tale of drag racer Shirley "Cha-Cha" Muldowney. Though the movie made minor waves in theaters, Bedelia's hardscrabble portrayal received universal praise, so much so that there was strong Academy Awards buzz surrounding the actress. A Best Actress nomination eluded her, although she was duly recognized with a nod from the Golden Globes in 1984. She continued to do prolific television work in the 1980s, but also had enthusiastically received turns in such films as The Boy Who Could Fly (1986), a family drama that cast her as the widowed mother of two children, and Die Hard (1988), the action blockbuster that saw her prove an able foil for star Bruce Willis in her role as Willis' estranged wife. She reprised her role in the latter for Die Hard 2 two years later, and that same year gave a haunting portrayal of Harrison Ford's neglected and embittered wife in Alan J. Pakula's Presumed Innocent.



Bedelia subsequently continued to do much of her work on TV, earning an Emmy nomination for her performance in the noirish made-for-cable Fallen Angels (1993) and a Cable Ace Award nomination for Any Mother's Son (1997), a drama about a young Navy seaman who was murdered for being gay. She made a colorful return to the big screen in 2000 as one of the stars of Sordid Lives, Del Shores' campy comedy about the reunion of three generations of a dysfunctional Texas family. The micro-budgeted film became something of a cult hit, and Bedelia parlayed the success into a starring role on the Lifetime network's police drama The Division. Though the award-winning series would eventually go off the air after four seasons, Bedelia continued to nurture a fruitful and rewarding career with series director Bobby Roth when she appeared in both his 2003 Jack the Dog follow-up Manhood, and his 2005 Vietnam-era drama Berkeley.



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Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
33% Berkeley
  • Professor Hawkins
2007
No Score Yet Shadow of a Doubt
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Manhood
  • Alice
2003
64% Anywhere but Here
  • Carol
2000
No Score Yet Flowers for Algernon (Charlie)
  • Rose
2000
37% Sordid Lives
  • Latrelle Williamson
2000
17% Gloria
  • Brenda
1999
No Score Yet Locked in Silence
  • Lydia Cline
1999
85% Bad Manners
  • Nancy
1998
No Score Yet Homecoming
  • Eunice Logan
1996
No Score Yet Shadow of a Doubt
  • Robin Harwell
1995
12% Speechless
  • Nanette
1994
No Score Yet ImplicaciĆ³n Judicial
  • Gwen Warwick
1994
26% Needful Things
  • Polly Chalmers
1993
No Score Yet The Fire Next Time
  • Suzanne Morgan
1993
No Score Yet When the Time Comes
  • Actor
1991
No Score Yet Switched at Birth
  • Regina Twigg
1991
No Score Yet Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture
  • Hannah McGrath
1990
86% Presumed Innocent
  • Barbara Sabich
1990
69% Die Hard 2
  • Holly McClane
1990
50% Fat Man and Little Boy
  • Kitty Oppenheimer
1989
No Score Yet The Prince of Pennsylvania
  • Pam Marshetta
1988
92% Die Hard
  • Holly McClane
1988
No Score Yet The Stranger
  • Alice Kildee
1987
71% The Boy Who Could Fly
  • Charlene Michaelson
1986
No Score Yet Alex: The Life of a Child
  • Carole Deford
1986
50% Violets Are Blue...
  • Ruth
1986
No Score Yet Death of an Angel
  • Grace
1986
No Score Yet The Lady from Yesterday
  • Actor
1985
100% Heart like a Wheel
  • Shirley Muldowney
1983
No Score Yet Memorial Day
  • Actor
1983
85% Salem's Lot
  • Actor
1979
No Score Yet The Big Fix
  • Suzanne
1978
No Score Yet A Question of Love
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Forever
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet Message to My Daughter
  • Actor
1973
84% They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
  • Ruby
1969
No Score Yet The Gypsy Moths
  • Annie Burke
1969

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
85% Big Love
2006-2011
  • Ginger
No Score Yet CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
2000-2015
  • Madelline Klein
90% Parenthood
2010-2015
  • Camille Braverman

Quotes from Bonnie Bedelia's Characters