Boy Meets World Stars Open Up About What They Learned From Mr. Feeny Actor William Daniels While Working With Him On Set
Working with a true thespian would be intimidating for a lot of performers, especially when they're 18 and younger. The Boy Meets World cast found themselves in such a situation when it came to Mr. Feeny actor William Daniels. But eventually, Daniels became a mentor to his teenage co-stars – both directly and indirectly – during their time working together. Now, years after the series' final episode, his younger collaborators have opened up about what they learned while acting alongside him.
Seeing that he was an established actor by the time Boy Meets World came around, it's understandable that William Daniels would leave an impression on his co-stars. While speaking with EW, Rider Strong, Will Friedle, and Danielle Fishel discussed how important Daniels was to their development as actors, after speaking with him on their podcast -- Pod Meets World. According to Strong, the on-screen teacher possessed the regal persona both on and off camera, which was something that he admired:
When we were kids, goofing off and having a good time, he was very much a Feeny-like presence, even when the cameras weren't there, in terms of knowing his lines, being a complete professional, being on time. Those were things that we needed to see, and had to learn to emulate in order to be professionals in the industry.
The St. Elsewhere actor was apparently the best example of how to carry one's self as a professional actor, and that was surely important for a group of actors who were just at the start of their careers. Knowing your lines and being prompt are important, especially when working on a weekly show, after all. Will Friedle reinforced his co-star’s sentiment by recalling how Daniels’ on-set demeanor influenced him:
That's basically what I got from him too. He really taught me how to be a professional actor, and that matters.
Today's best Disney+ deals
Working with younger actors can also be difficult from a more seasoned performer, as one may be tempted to merely treat them as kids instead of colleagues. That doesn't seem to have been the case on Boy Meets World, however. Danielle Fishel went on to explain how William Daniels showed her and her fellow tween stars respect all those years ago:
He really treated us as his equals, as far as being an actor. And now I recognize that it was actually a huge form of respect. That he knew we were professionals, we were going to get it done, we had a different process than he did because we were 12 and 16, or 12, 13, 16, but he was going to let us come to it honestly. That's something that I really learned from him now in my relationships with young actors. I direct for children's TV almost exclusively now, and I treat them as if they were any other peer or equal of mine. I think I really learned that from Bill.
Whether he knew it or not, the actor, who was among the returning stars on Girl Meets World Season 2, was showing his young co-stars that actors – no matter their ages – should be consistent when it comes to respect. As a result, it would seem that the actor helped to create a safe creative space for his colleagues to work. And that's something that Danielle Fishel and her castmates seem to have appreciated.
William Daniels certainly sounds like a class act, which could be a major reason why he's had such professional longevity. Of course, through the '90s sitcom, he endeared himself not just to his colleagues but to the viewers at home as well. The Emmy winner's impeccable performance arguably made him young America’s favorite fictional educator, leading to funny fan encounters with his wife. Taylor Swift even freaked out over Daniels endorsing the re-release of her 2012 album, Red. So all in all, his reach definitely goes beyond just his BMW co-stars, who are surely better actors today because of him.
Boy Meets World devotees can learn more about William Daniels and the influence other adult co-stars had on the young stars by listening to the aforementioned rewatch podcast Pod Meets World. The show has already dropped great BTS gems like why Cory's sister Morgan changed actresses midway through the series. And if you want to watch along with the podcast, stream all seven seasons of Boy Meets World by subscribing to Disney+.
A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).