William Daniels’ Wife: Meet Bonnie Bartlett – Hollywood Life

William Daniels’ Wife Of 7 Decades: Meet Bonnie Bartlett

The actor, who played Mr. Feeny in 'Boy Meets World,' got hitched to his actress wife in 1951! Meet the amazing Bonnie Bartlett, here.

Reading Time: 4 minutes
View gallery
Image Credit: s_bukley/Newscom/The Mega Agency

  • William Daniels is a beloved American actor with 2 Emmy Awards
  • The New York native was the voice of Kitt in  ‘Knight Rider’ and played Mr. Feeny in ‘Boy Meets World’
  • He’s been married to his wife for over 70 years

William Daniels is a highly accomplished American actor known for his versatile performances in film, television, and theater. Born on March 31, 1927, Bill has had a career spanning over seven decades, with his breakout role arriving in the 1960s when he portrayed John Adams in the Broadway musical 1776, for which he won a Tony Award. He reprised this role in the 1972 film adaptation, further solidifying his reputation as a skilled actor.

William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett married in 1951. (s_bukley/Newscom/The Mega Agency)

However, Bill is perhaps most cherished for his portrayal of beloved teacher Mr. Feeny in the hit television series Boy Meets World. His wise and caring character became a mentor for a generation of viewers, making him an iconic figure in the realm of family-oriented TV shows.

Bill’s talent extends beyond acting; he is also an accomplished voice actor, lending his voice to iconic characters such as KITT, the talking car in Knight Rider, the hit 1980s show starring David Hasselhoff.

Along with his enduring Hollywood legacy, the star found success in his personal life, having a long and successful marriage with actress Bonnie Bartlett. The couple tied the knot on June 30, 1951, and their partnership has endured, making them one of Tinseltown’s most enduring couples. Through the ups and downs of show business, Bill and Bonnie have proven that true love can withstand the test of time. Learn more about his wife, below.

Bonnie Got Her Start On A Soap Opera

Bonnie, who was born on June 20, 1929 in Wisconsin, is no stranger to Hollywood herself, building her own impressive legacy within the industry. She got her start playing Vanessa Dale Raven on the soap opera Love of Life from 1955 to 1959.

She also played the mother of Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1988 film Twins, she played Tim Allen’s mom on the hit ‘90s series Home Improvement, as well as other memorable television performances on Little House on the Prairie and The Golden Girls.

Bill Was Bonnie’s First Boyfriend

Bill and Bonnie experienced a lifetime together, as they had started their romance journey early on after meeting at Northwestern University. “When we got together, I was 18. Bill was my first boyfriend… We just had to go through all that and still, we loved each other very much and always have,” she told People in 2023.  “[We] have always been there for each other,” she added. “That’s what matters – if you’re there for the person and help [them] along in a relationship, [have] respect for them and what they’re doing and being there for them… [You have to] be together on the other side.”

This real-life couple even played spouses Dr. Mark and Ellen Craig on the 1980s drama St. Elsewhere, where their individual performances made them both Emmy winners during the mid-1980s.

Their Marriage Was An Open One… At First

There was a bit of a learning curve after the pair married on June 30, 1958. “I guess it was a little bit of an open marriage at first, but that was very painful,” Bonnie explained while promoting her memoir Middle of the Rainbow, per People.  “That didn’t work well. And it was a time when people were doing that. It was at a time in New York when there was a lot of sex and a lot of people doing all kinds of things, you know – very free.”

She acknowledged being involved in a “brief affair” with another actor in 1959, but it was her husband’s affair in the early 1970s that deeply hurt her and significantly impacted how she viewed their marriage. The experience left her feeling “devastated,” and it completely altered her perspective on the idea of having an open marriage. From that moment on, she stated that she could no longer bear the idea of such arrangements in their relationship.

The two eventually worked it out and made the marriage last, obviously!

The Couple Lost Their First Child

In 1961, Bill and Bonnie gave birth to a son, who died 24 hours later. They adopted two sons: Michael, who became an assistant director in Los Angeles, and Robert, who became an artist based in New York City.

The ‘Secret’ To Their Lasting Marriage

“We’ve hurt each other but you recover and you grow and you change and you adapt. You have to be able to adapt to the other person. You have to think of them first,” Bonnie told Forbes. “It doesn’t happen overnight. It took us years to get to a real companionship marriage.”