The Working Actor EDITOR'S INTRO
This is the twenty second in a continuing feature at IndustryCentral profiling "The Working Actor". (See Archives below)
William Shakespeare said "There are no small parts.....". William Shatner may have said it too, but the longhair with the tights was first, or so the reports go. In this feature we will explore what it really means to be an actor working in Motion Pictures and Television.
Broad public acknowledgment may have eluded some who find their way to these pages, or perhaps they may have brushed against what is referred to as stardom by virtue of one or more remarkable performances. However for many, the rewards of plying their craft in a field which has allowed them to earn a living may exceed the burdens of public acclaim. Given the chance, some in this clan might prefer the longevity offered by anonymity over the potential for short lived fame.
These individuals, either by design or fate, have managed to sustain a career by crafting performances which rendered them a good casting choice. They are usually thought of as a face you recognize, but you just can't get the name past the tip of your tongue.
Most of these folks have spent countless hours on stage in theaters ranging from 20 seats to 2000, building characters from the works of Ibsen, to Eliot, to Williams, to yes even Shakespeare, and so many of the modern Playwrights. They have rounded their skills doing drama, comedy, & musicals. Their work is a serious venture.
These people have given us screen performances which quite often were the catalyst that brought an Oscar or Emmy to another and yet they continue to work as "Characters" or "Co-Stars" without the trophies and plaques adorning their mantle.
Bonnie Bartlett
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Bonny Bartlett, grew up in Illinois. Her interest in theatre came from her father, an actor turned businessman, who loved to quote Shakespeare. A straight-A student, Bonnie attended Northwestern University to study acting. There she met her future husband, Bill Daniels, also an actor (our March 2001 Profile).

Thirty odd years later, she and Daniels played husband and wife on the hit TV series ST. ELSEWHERE, for which they both won the coveted Emmy Award in 1986 and for which Bill won in 1985 and Bonnie again in 1987.

But before this dramatic push into the limelight, Bartlett worked for years in screen, television and on stage. Her first big break came when she won the much sought after role of "Vanessa" in the soap opera, LOVE OF LIFE. She spent four years working on the soap and then took a ten year break from her career to raise her two sons.

On Broadway she was in William Inge's NATURAL AFFECTION and Lanford Wilson's LEMON SKY. Bonnie appeared in the world premier of LEMON SKY at Studio Arena directed by Warren Enters. Off-Broadway she has had roles in TELMACHUS CLAY and at the L.A. Westwood Playhouse in Jules Feiffer's HOLD ME. In 1991 Bonnie appeared in AT LONG LAST LEO by Mark Stein at the Access Theatre in Santa Barbara. And most recently she performed with her husband, Bill, in A.R. Gurney's LOVE LETTERS in Buffalo, New York.

She has had roles in the movies PRIMARY COLORS, THE GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI, THE GRASS HARP, PROMISES IN THE DARK, SHILOH, TWINS, and FRANCES. Movies of the week have been TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE. VICTIM OF LOVE, TAKE ME HOME AGAIN, SLEEPING WITH THE DEVIL. NINJA MURDERS. RIGHT TO DIE, THE BIG ONE - L.A. EARTHQUAKE, DEADLY INTENTIONS, DELIBERATE STRANGERS. CELEBRITY and MALICE IN WONDERLAND. Others include DEMPSEY, 'V', A LONG WAY HOME, RAPE AND MARRIAGE and LIZZIE BORDEN.

T.V. Series, besides ST. ELSEWHERE, ONCE AND AGAIN, TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL, HOME IMPROVEMENT, E.R., THE PRACTICE, I'LL FLY AWAY, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, BARNEY MILLER, GOLDEN GIRLS, MIDNIGHT CALLER, LA LAW, MATLOCK, SEAQUEST and WISEGUY.

Bonnie has two sons, Roben and Michael, and two granddaughters, Shaina and Eliza. She currently divides her time between Studio City and Santa Barbara, California, and New York City with her husband, William Daniels.

Representation:
Agency:
Gold Marshak Liedtke
Agent: Harry Gold
818-972-4300

Bonnie Bartlett's advice to the aspiring actor:

"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.

If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.

Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction, whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

Martha Graham (in a letter to Agnes DeMille)

Bonnie Bartlett' Credits (partial)

FILM

  •  Primary Colors
  •  The Ghosts Of Mississippi
  •  Courtyard
  •  My Love Letters
  •  All Night Long
  •  Promises In The Dark
  •  Shiloh
  •  The Grass Harp Twins
  •  Frances
  •  Seed Of Innocence

TELEVISION/MOW'S
  •  Tuesdays With Morrie
  •  Sleeping With The Devil
  •  In The Name Of Love - A Texas Tragedy
  •  Take Me Home Again
  •  Murder In The Family (ninja Murder)
  •  Donato & Daughter
  •  Right To Die
  •  Deadly Intentions
  •  Celebrity
  •  Dempsey
  •  A Long Way Home
  •  Llzzie Borden
  •  Death In Cannan
  •  Family Blessings
  •  See Jane Run
  •  Perry Mason
  •  Where Are My Children
  •  Victim Of Love
  •  The Big One (L.A. Earthquake)
  •  Deliberate Stranger
  •  Malice In Wonderland
  •  'V'
  •  Rape And Marriage
  •  Ike
  •  She Drinks A Little

TELEVISION/SERIES
  •  Once And Again - Recurring
  •  Touched By An Angel (2)
  •  E.R. - Recurring
  •  The Practice - Recurring
  •  I'll Fly Away
  •  St. Elsewhere - Series Regular
  •  Golden Girls
  •  Little House On The Prairie - Recurring
  •  Wiseguy
  •  Boy Meets World
  •  Seaquest
  •  L.A. Law
  •  Home Improvement - Recurring
  •  Midnight Caller - Recurring
  •  Matlock

THEATER
  •  Natural Affection By William Inge - Broadway
  •  Lemon Sky By Lanford Wilson - Broadway
  •  Telmachus Clay By John Lewis Carlino - Off-Broadway
  •  Hold Me By Jules Feiffer- Westwood Playhouse
  •  At Long Last Leo By Mark Stein- Access Theatre/Santa Barbara
  •  Love Letters W/bill Daniels By A.R. Gurney - Buffalo, New York

For more info and credits see IMDb

-- End ---
IndustryCentral wishes to acknowledge the efforts of Ilyanne Morden Kichaven, Sherry John, and Greg Krizman of the Screen Actors Guild Communications Department for their contributions to this Profile.

WORKING ACTOR ARCHIVE
Archives William Daniels [March 2001]
William Daniels
March 2001
Archives
Dick Whittinghill [February 2001]
Dick Whittinghill
February 2001
Chris Ellis [January 2001]
Chris Ellis
January 2001
James Whitmore Jr. [December 2000]
James Whitmore Jr.
December 2000
Vince Grant [November 2000]
Vince Grant
November 2000
Judith Hoag [October 2000]
Judith Hoag
October 2000
Madison Mason [September 2000]
Madison Mason
September 2000
Jay Acovone [August 2000]
Jay Acovone
August 2000
Richard Riehle [July 2000]
Richard Riehle
July 2000
Charlie Brill [June 2000]
Charlie Brill
June 2000
Edie McClurg [May 2000]
Edie McClurg
May 2000
Miguel Sandoval [April 2000]
Miguel Sandoval
April 2000
Tom Bower [March 2000]
Tom Bower
March 2000
Amy Aquino [February 2000]
Amy Aquino
February 2000
Danny Chambers [January 2000]
Danny Chambers
January 2000
Eve Gordon [December 1999]
Eve Gordon
December 1999
Barbara Niven [November 1999]
Barbara Niven
November 1999
Bill Lucking [October 1999]
Bill Lucking
October 1999
Richard Roundtree [September 1999]
Richard Roundtree
September 1999
Pat Harrington [August 1999]
Pat Harrington
August 1999
Robert Donner [July 1999]
Robert Donner
July 1999

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