Bonnie Bartlett

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Bonnie Bartlett
Williamdaniels bonniebartlett (cropped).jpg
Bartlett with husband William Daniels,
1987 Emmy Awards
Born(1929-06-20) June 20, 1929 (age 85)
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, USA
OccupationFilm, television actress
Spouse(s)William Daniels (1951-present)
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Bonnie Bartlett
Williamdaniels bonniebartlett (cropped).jpg
Bartlett with husband William Daniels,
1987 Emmy Awards
Born(1929-06-20) June 20, 1929 (age 85)
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, USA
OccupationFilm, television actress
Spouse(s)William Daniels (1951-present)

Bonnie Bartlett (born June 20, 1929) is an American television and film actress. Her career spans over 60 years, with her first major role being on a 1950s daytime drama, Love of Life. She is best known for her role as Ellen Craig on the medical drama series St. Elsewhere. She and her husband, actor William Daniels, who played her fictional husband Dr. Mark Craig, won 1986 Emmy Awards on the same night, becoming the first married couple to accomplish the feat since Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in 1965.


Early life[edit]

Bartlett was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, the daughter of Carrie and E.E. Bartlett,[1] and raised in Moline, Illinois. Her father was an insurance salesman and a failed actor, and she was determined to live out his dream. Bartlett met her husband, actor William Daniels at Northwestern University. They were married on June 30, 1951. In 1961, she gave birth to a son, who died just 24 hours later. They later adopted two children: Michael, who became an assistant director and stage manager in Los Angeles, and Robert, who became an artist and computer graphics designer based in New York City.


Bartlett studied acting with Lee Strasberg, and first got her start in television playing the heroine "Vanessa Dale Raven" on the soap opera Love of Life from 1955 to 1959, replacing actress Peggy McCay. Ironically, she had a previous role on the program, in which briefly she played the character of Ellie Crown, a role which was played for several years by Hildy Parks. She then moved on to nighttime roles in the 1960s. Her most widely known role was as Ellen Craig on St. Elsewhere. Initially an infrequently recurring character, she took on greater prominence in the 1984–1985 season when the storyline included Ellen and Mark's marital problems. The storyline deepened in the next season when their son was killed and they had to raise their granddaughter. Bartlett won back-to-back Emmys, and was made a contract player. Further difficult material included Ellen and Mark's divorce and slow reconciliation following the loss of their granddaughter in a custody dispute with her birth mother.

While her children were growing up, Bartlett was mostly a stay-at-home mother, accepting only small guest appearances on such programs as Gunsmoke, The Rockford Files, The Waltons as well as a recurring role as Grace Snyder Edwards on Little House on the Prairie from 1974 to 1977. Her acting career picked up considerably in the 1980s, including the miniseries V and North and South: Book II.

Bartlett and husband William Daniels made Emmy Awards history in 1986 when they became just the second real-life married couple to win acting awards on the same night. Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne first accomplished the feat in 1965. Bartlett and Daniels won for their portrayals of Dr. Mark and Mrs. Ellen Craig on the TV series St. Elsewhere. They later acted together again when she played a college dean who employed her husband's character, in a season of Daniels' ABC series Boy Meets World, and their characters later married.

When St. Elsewhere ended in 1988, Bartlett's career moved to a wide variety of guest-starring appearances, including major roles on Wiseguy as a tough and corrupt matriarch of a sewage business; as Andrea Drey, Secretary General of the United Earth Oceans Organization (UEO) on seaQuest DSV; on Home Improvement as Lucille Taylor (Tim "The Tool-Man" Taylor's mother); and on ER as Ruth Katherine Greene (Dr. Mark Greene's mother).

In the fall of 2000, she was an honoree at Moline High School in Moline, Illinois. Her plaque sits in a viewing window in the auditorium lobby at the school. Bartlett is an active member of Screen Actors Guild and currently serves on its National Board of Directors.[2]

Most recently, Bartlett wrapped production on Valediction, which was scheduled to begin its film festival circuit in October 2011. The teaser trailer can be found on YouTube via Valediction Teaser Trailer


1951Love of LifeEllie CrownTelevision series
1955–59Love of LifeVanessa Dale RavenTelevision series
1974Waltons, TheThe WaltonsMartha RudgeTelevision series, "The Car"
1974–77Little House on the PrairieGrace Snyder EdwardsTelevision series, 23 episodes
1976Last Tycoon, TheThe Last TycoonBrady's secretary
1979California DreamingMelinda Brooke
1979Salem's LotAnn NortonTelevision miniseries
1982–88St. ElsewhereEllen CraigTelevision series
1983VLynn BernsteinTelevision miniseries
1988Golden Girls, TheThe Golden GirlsBarbara ThorndykeTelevision series, episode "Dorothy's New Friend"
1988TwinsMary Ann Benedict
1990WiseguyHarriet Weiss"Brump-Brump" & "Sanctuary"
1993DaveFemale Senator
1994SeaQuest DSVSecretary General of the UEO"The Last Lap at Luxury"
1995Home ImprovementLucilleTelevision series
1995Grass Harp, TheThe Grass HarpMrs. Buster
1996Ghosts of MississippiBillie DeLaughter
1997-99Boy Meets WorldDean BolanderTelevision series
1997Sleeping with the DevilStasha DubrovichTelevision film
1998ERRuth GreeneTelevision series, "Family Practise" & "Father and Sons"
1998Primary ColorsMartha Harris
1998Stargate SG-1Linea"Prisoners"
1999–2002Once and AgainBarbara BrooksTelevision series
2002General HospitalDamian Spinelli's grandmotherEp. #11191
2004NCIS: My Other Left FootDr. Sylvia ChalmersSeason 1, Episode 12
2006Saving ShilohMrs. Wallace
2008Grey's AnatomyPatient Rosie Bullard"Rise Up"


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