BWW Interview: Emmy-Award Winner William Daniels Talks Playing Mr. Feeny, KITT & Dr. Craig
Many fans may remember William Daniels from TV on shows like Boy Meets World (Mr. George Feeny), St. Elsewhere (Dr. Craig), Night Rider (KITT) and the Broadway cast and film of the first historical musical of our founding fathers, 1776 (John Adams).
Recently, Daniels released his first tell-all book called There I Go Again: How I Came to Be Mr. Feeny, John Adams, Dr. Craig, KITT, and Many Others.
Now, at 90-years-old, Daniels tells BWW's Kevin Pollack why it took so long to write the memoir and other stories!
BWW: Congrats on your new book! Why did you decide to write a memoir now compared to years earlier like some have?
Daniels: I one day picked up a pencil and a yellow pad, and started writing a memoir. I have no idea why.
BWW: In the book, you really share a lot of intimate details like your relationship with your father. Looking back while writing this book, was it difficult to revisit some of these memories to put down on paper?
Daniels: Not really. Capturing the past was like revisiting my past life, and how I got to be where I am today.
BWW: Tell me what meeting Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was like for you?
Daniels: Being myself a young tap dancer like Mr. Robinson, he became my hero, and when he invited my mother and I to the Cotton Club, for me it was like a dream come true.
BWW: How tough was it being a child performer back in the day? Was there stress to being in a "family" singing group like the Von Trapps?
Daniels: Being a child, it never occurred to me how stressful performing was. I only realize today how frightful it must have been.
BWW: One of your most famous roles is John Adams in 1776. With what's going on in today's society with the Presidency, what is your opinion on staying true to the constitution?
Daniels: It seems to me staying true to the constitution is a necessity for being the president.
BWW: What is the key to the long standing relationship you and Bonnie have?
Daniels: Mutual respect in our profession, and I still love her very much.
BWW: In 1986, you and Bonnie both won Emmys on the same night. Describe that experience for you.
Daniels: I won an Emmy the previous year, and that year we both won. A photographer who was taking our picture, wanted a single shot of Bonnie. He said to me: Mr. Bartlett, would you please step aside?" I thought: There goes my 15 minutes of fame.
BWW: From 1993-2000, the world got to know Mr. Feeny on TV's Boy Meets World. What is one of your favorite moment from the show?
Daniels: One of my favorite moments was perhaps my last moment, when the children had all left the classroom, and I alone said: "I love you all."
BWW: Describe to us the experience of working on St. Elsewhere. It seems you just kept getting promoted with a bigger role throughout the series?
Daniels: Getting promoted with a bigger role throughout the series was promised to me. The additional characters of Ed Begley, Ed Flanders, and my wife Bonnie, made for a lot more situations.
BWW: You've gotten to work with your wife Bonnie through the years on St. Elsewhere and then again on Boy Meets World. What's it like getting to work together each time. Have you ever had disagreements on set?
Daniels: Getting to work together was always a pleasure. We love to disagree. It's very lively when we work together.
BWW: In 2016, you had a few cameo appearances as Mr. Feeny on Disney's Girl Meets World. What was it like getting to reunite with the original cast, yet starting fresh again with some new cast members?
Daniels: Such a pleasure to see the cast grown up with families and in the case of Ben Savage, watching him drive to the set in a truck.
BWW: Now that you've written your life story, what's next for you?
Daniels: Hopefully a few more birthdays.
Make sure to pick up a copy of Daniels' book There I Go Again: How I Came to Be Mr. Feeny, John Adams, Dr. Craig, KITT, and Many Others in book stores now!
Photo Courtesy of Pontomac Books