cover image Middle of the Rainbow

Middle of the Rainbow

Bonnie Bartlett Daniels. BearManor, $35 (220p) ISBN 979-8-88771-044-0

Daniels debuts with a fearless chronicle of her decades-long acting career and marriage to fellow actor Bill Daniels. She characterizes the partnership as “hardly a fairy tale” while recounting their professional success (a highlight was their 1986 dual Emmy awards for work on St. Elsewhere) and open marriage, along with revisiting her childhood abuse. Daniels pulls no punches describing her past: her father’s inappropriate sexual boundaries put a cloud over her childhood, she was raped by a costar from Love of Life in 1957, and her only biological son died during childbirth. She touches on the positive moments as well, particularly the adoption of two boys and her satisfaction with being a mother. Daniels doesn’t skimp on behind-the-scenes talk, dishing about, among others, Marilyn Monroe (“an ordinary girl wanting to learn to be a better actress”) and director Elia Kazan, who she describes as powerful but destructive. Her insider’s view of old Hollywood is both glamorous and disenchanting, but she’s unyielding in her determination to “come to grips with all of it.” A robust collection of photographs rounds out this intimate portrayal of self-actualization. Daniels’s raw honesty will ring true with her many fans. Photos. (Jan.)