Where is Die Hard's Bonnie Bedelia now? Here's why she turned away from Hollywood to pursue other passions
With a career that spans over seven decades, Bedelia is most popularly known and remembered John McClane's wife Holly from the action thriller 'Die Hard'
Christmas Eve is the perfect time for a nice, warm family gathering and the neverending, burning debate of whether Bruce Willis' 'Die Hard' is actually a Christmas movie or not. While the argument goes on and on, the 1988 movie's central couple has somehow surpassed the test of time to be 2020's Top Holiday Couple of the year. But all of this resurfacing does bring to mind what exactly happened to John McClane's wife, Holly Gennaro McClane aka Bonnie Bedelia? There's a reason the popular CBS soap opera actor isn't a familiar face on the screen anymore. And although she has shifted gears to pursue other passion projects, the answer to why we don't see her on the screen anymore is how unappreciated Bedelia allegedly felt after her stint in the industry.
With a career that spans over seven decades, Bedelia is most popularly known and remembered as the leading lady from the action thriller 'Die Hard'. John and Holly's romance is still endgame to many, topping charts and staying evergreen, longer than one would have expected the talented and iconic Bedelia's time in the industry to last. And that coming after a story of hardship and struggles from a very young age is tragic because she is genuinely missed from the screens.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Bedelia and her family lived on welfare and in a cold-water tenement flat, where she found dancing and acting in plays to be her escape. Scouted from her performance as Becky Thatcher in 'Tom Sawyer', adversities rose for the then young Bedelia, first with the death of her mother, and then her father's hospitalization that left her and her three siblings without a guardian. But she found herself soaring to the ranks of television with a debut in a 1958 episode of 'Playhouse 90'. Soon, she would become the face of the CBS soap opera 'Love of Life' as a series regular from 1961 to 1967, and in two short years came her feature film debut in 1969, 'The Gypsy Moths', where she was cast as Annie Burke.
Bedelia also starred as Regina Twigg in 'Switched at Birth' for which NBC offered her a flashy deal, that she wasn't quite bought out by. Bedelia reportedly didn't prefer the lack of personal time television would leave her with. In a Dispatch interview back when she was busy with NBC's 'Parenthood', Bedelia notes how she "had a life and career before I ever got married and had my children. I’d done plays and movies, and I was established. I eased off when I was having kids, but I continued to work, and I worked much more as they got older.” But even with dedication as strong as her 70 years to the industry, Bedelia has been the recipient of only three awards so far, and without a Hollywood star to her name.
In the Chicago Tribune interview from 1992, Bedelia quips about how critics always wonder why she would go MIA for years and then come back with a performance that would stump everyone. "It's about trying to get hired for 25 years,'' Bedalia mused, before adding: "I'm going to get myself in a lot of trouble here. It's about someone who arguably is one of the finest actresses in America, who never has had a drug problem, never has had a drinking problem, is always on time, always gives 200 percent, is beautiful and sexy and can't get a job! Critics say, 'Why is it that Bonnie Bedelia disappears for years at a time and then comes back and wows us with her performance and then disappears again? Why is she so choosy?' If they only knew!''
The actress had then shared the reason to be Hollywood's wicked obsession with youth when it comes to women – that is what irks her the most. She claimed studios will ''put Jack Nicholson with Meg Tilly and Madeline Stowe and nobody says anything... Sean Connery with Michelle Pfeiffer and nobody bats an eyelash. (But) I'm too old (to play opposite) them (actors in their 50s and 60s)?" She adds: "'Also, many movies don't have any women in leading parts – just two or three males. And if it's a woman's role of any substance at all, they go, 'OK, number one, Julia Roberts.' It doesn`t matter – the part could be a hunchback, 50-year-old Black woman, and they're going to go to Julia Roberts even before they go to Whoopi! It's unbelievable! (Studio executives) have their little list, and that's just the way it goes. There isn't enough for everybody to be working.''
Opening up about how hot and cold her character's inclusion was in the third 'Die Hard' film, Bedelia told TV Times, "I wasn't in the last one. One minute Holly was in the script, the next minute she was out. But as it worked out, I had tied up with two telemovies that year anyway, so who knows if I could've done it anyway." The actor had also expressed her interest in a fourth film should there ever be one, telling the outlet in 2004 how "It's being written right now. I'm definitely doing this one. It's going to feature John and Holly's kids too, I believe." The film did happen, and John and Holly's daughter was in fact in the movie. The person who was visibly missing was Holly.what/I'.
Bedelia, who played the family matriarch Camille Braverman in 'Parenthood' for five years from 2010 to 2015, was most recently seen as Margaret Denner on the Netflix series 'What/If'. She also currently has a 2020 feature in post-production, titled 'Violet', where she plays the role of Aunt Helen. Other than that, the actress married her third husband Michael MacRae in 1995 and has since, been mostly occupied with painting. Having studied art in her teens, Bedelia reportedly enjoys painting portraits even though she doesn't plan on staging an exhibition anytime soon. She is also engaged in writing a memoir for her children – sons Uri (born 1970) and Jonah (born 1976) from her first husband Ken Luber.