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Barbara Bedford

Barbara Bedford

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Also Known As: Violet May Rose Died: October 25, 1981
Born: June 19, 1903 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A talented and attractive leading lady, Bonnie Bedelia (nee Culkin) began her career as a juvenile performer on stage and TV along with her older brother Kit. After being spotted by a talent scout in a school production of "Tom Sawyer," she made her stage debut at the North Jersey Playhouse and later earned a full scholarship at George Balanchine's New York City Ballet. The petite brunette danced in four productions at City Ballet before hanging up her toe shoes in favor of acting. After a five-year stint (1961-66) as a regular on the CBS daytime serial "Love of Life," Bedelia made a splash in the Broadway play "My Sweet Charlie," playing a pregnant young Southern woman on the lam with a black lawyer.It was only inevitable that movie roles would follow. She made her film acting debut in "The Gypsy Moths" in 1969, but was more memorable as a pregnant marathon dancer in that same year's "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" and as the bride to be in the superlative comedy "Lovers and Other Strangers" (1970). Although her career was on an upward swing, the actress opted to concentrate on marriage and motherhood and curtailed her feature film appearances for much of the remainder of the decade. She did,...

A talented and attractive leading lady, Bonnie Bedelia (nee Culkin) began her career as a juvenile performer on stage and TV along with her older brother Kit. After being spotted by a talent scout in a school production of "Tom Sawyer," she made her stage debut at the North Jersey Playhouse and later earned a full scholarship at George Balanchine's New York City Ballet. The petite brunette danced in four productions at City Ballet before hanging up her toe shoes in favor of acting. After a five-year stint (1961-66) as a regular on the CBS daytime serial "Love of Life," Bedelia made a splash in the Broadway play "My Sweet Charlie," playing a pregnant young Southern woman on the lam with a black lawyer.

It was only inevitable that movie roles would follow. She made her film acting debut in "The Gypsy Moths" in 1969, but was more memorable as a pregnant marathon dancer in that same year's "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" and as the bride to be in the superlative comedy "Lovers and Other Strangers" (1970). Although her career was on an upward swing, the actress opted to concentrate on marriage and motherhood and curtailed her feature film appearances for much of the remainder of the decade. She did, however, appear in several TV projects, including the above average romance "Sandcastles" (CBS, 1972) and the short-lived ABC adaptation of "The New Land" (1974), in which she portrayed a 19th-century Swedish immigrant to America.

Staging something of a comeback in 1983, Bedelia earned widespread critical praise for her performance as race car driver Shirley Muldowney in the biopic "Heart Like a Wheel." Although the expected Academy Award nomination did not materialize, the actress began to land prestige projects like CBS' "Memorial Day" (1983) and "Violets Are Blue" (1986), in which she was outstanding as the wife of a cheating husband. In 1988, Bedelia was cast as the businesswoman spouse of a man who sets out to save her when he plane is hijacked in "Die Hard," a role she reprised in the sequel "Die Hard 2: Die Harder" (1990). Her turn as the cheating wife of a right-wing nut whose alienated teenage son plans a kidnapping in "The Prince of Pennsylvania" (1988) earned her attention and a nomination for an Independent Spirit Award. On the other hand, the actress herself disavowed her work in "Fat Man and Little Boy" (1989) as scientist Kitty Oppenheimer, claiming that much of her best work ended on the cutting room floor.

The 1990s were good to the performer. She was excellent as Harrison Ford's wife in the legal thriller "Presumed Innocent" (1990) and delivered a string of memorable turns in small screen efforts. She finally gained widespread critical acclaim for her nuanced portrayal of real-life race car driver Shirley Muldowney in "Heart Like a Wheel" (1982). TV-movies and occasional miniseries took up the slack between films during the 1970s and 80s. Bedelia enjoyed renewed attention for her appearances as Bruce Willis' wife in the popular summer features "Die Hard" (1988), "Die Hard II: Die Harder" and was cast opposite Harrison Ford in "Presumed Innocent" (both 1990). Bedelia, who has a reputation for speaking her mind and being opinionated about her work, was well cast as one of the mothers whose children are "Switched at Birth" in the 1991 fact-based NBC drama. She also excelled as the no-nonsense physician willing to go to jail rather than reveal her daughter's whereabouts in the true story "A Mother's Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story" (ABC, 1992). Following her 1993 Emmy nomination for an episode of the Showtime series "Fallen Angels," Bedelia won plaudits opposite Brian Dennehy in "Shadow of a Doubt" (NBC, 1995) and as the mother of a sailor murdered because he was a homosexual in "Any Mother's Story" (Lifetime, 1997).

As the new millennium dawned, Bedelia was cast as the unhappy mother of the town's beauty in the CBS remake of "Picnic" (2000). While most critics had little that was nice to say about the production, nearly all singled out the actress for her sterling work as a woman desperate to escape the confines of a small town. In the ensemble comedy "Sordid Lives" (2001), Bedelia was cast as a homophobic woman coping with the death of her mother, the incarceration of her gay brother and her son's declaration of his homosexuality. Returning to the small screen, the actress starred in "The Division" (Lifetime, 2001-04), a female-driven ensemble cop show that cast her as the captain of a police precinct.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Lost Angel (1944) Operator
2.
 Meet the People (1944) Girl
3.
 The Cross of Lorraine (1944) Woman in village
4.
 Andy Hardy's Blonde Trouble (1944) Secretary
5.
 Girl Crazy (1943) Churchill's secretary
6.
 Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case (1943) Secretary
7.
 Presenting Lily Mars (1943) Assistant boardinghouse manager
8.
 The Human Comedy (1943) Woman on street
9.
 Born to Sing (1942)
10.
 The Vanishing Virginian (1942) Mildred Simpson
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