William Daniels reveals he almost didn’t take the iconic role of Cory’s teacher in “Boy Meets World’.
The Emmy award-winning actor dropped by the “Pod Meets World” podcast with his wife Bonnie Bartlett to reunite with his co-stars Danielle Fishel, Will Friedle and Rider Strong.
The actors revealed some of the behind the scenes gossip of the iconic ’90’s show as well as talked Daniels’ time playing Mr. Feeny.
The show, which was originally titled “Eleven” as well as “The Untitled Ben Savage Project” as its working title, almost missed out on casting Daniels, he shared.
“I asked for a meeting [with Michael Jacobs] because I turned it down and he wanted to know why,” he recalled. “I said ‘well, that’s a funny name and I don’t wanna make fun of teachers. I respect them and they’re unpaid and all that. Then he told me what my role was based on, which was a mentor of his when he was in high school.”
When he learned the role as actually dedicated to someone who inspired Jacobs, it changed Daniels’ mind.
“I realized the plot would be written with respect,” said the actor. His wife added that Jacobs actually rewrote some parts with that in mind. “He rewrote something and the powers that be didn’t want to, but he made them and that’s what sold you,” she said.
Strong, who played Shawn in the series, recalled the disastrous table read for the first episode that had Daniels threatening to leave the show. Jacobs rewrote the script that night until the actor was satisfied.
He ended up staying with the show for seven years and Bartlett even ended up appearing in the final season. She played the dean of the school who ended up falling in love with Mr. Feeny.
She recalled a meeting where she was signing autographs for a “Golden Girls” event when a little girl came up to her.
“She looked up and down and said, ‘you’re Mrs. Feeny!’” Bartlett said with a laugh. “She got so excited. I’d never been called Mrs. Feeny. She connected it, I thought it was so sweet.”
Fishel, who played Topanga on the show, grew emotional as she recalled the last scene on “Boy Meets World” that she shot with Daniels.
“I can very easily cry thinking about that last scene that we did with you at the end of our show,” shared the actress. “For all the years that we worked together, gosh, seeing you, and being with you in that last scene in the classroom, really nailed home for me that this was the end of an era. It was also very much the end of my childhood.”