Bea Daniels was very short, but people rarely noticed, because everything
else about her was outsized. She was. quick, smart, funny, outspoken, and impatient. She was also a devout Catholic.
She gave people orders, if they needed them, but she preferred people who didn’t need them. She could probably have run a company or a country, for that matter, but she chose to use her considerable gifts in service to her husband and children.
Bea’s devotion to the people she loved was boundless, and fierce, as anyone who had the brass to criticize or bully them quickly learned.
She was a consummate wife and mother, but she was also a pluperfect stage manager – whether the stage was the family home, a hotel suite on the road, a sound stage in Hollywood, a Broadway stage, or the Danny Daniels Dance America studio in Santa Monica, and she was Oscar-worthy in all her roles.
She and Danny Daniels went together for five years and then were married for 60 years, He was a brilliant dancer and choreographer on Broadway and in Hollywood, on films and television, and she was at his side every step of the way.
Danny has worked with everyone from Stephen Sondheim to Steven Spielberg, He did television with Judy Garland and gave Liza Minnelli her first Broadway role. He taught Steve Martin to tapdance and discovered Savion Glover.
Most people of Danny Daniels’ stature have a corps of managers, lawyers, agents, accountants, assistants, and the like. Danny had extraordinary talent, an agent, and Bea.
She had a stroke several years ago from which she never fully recovered, and she died at home on Thursday, July 19, miraculously stage managing her own last act.
She called for help. A priest was summoned. A few minutes later, at her bedside, he performed the Anointing of the Sick. She then died and the priest said the Prayer for the Dead. Returning to St. Monica’s Church, he said Mass for Bea. It all took place in 45 minutes. The priest, Father Leszak, said later that in his 18 years in the priesthood, he’d never seen anything like it. Bea was 85.
She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Danny, who remains active, three children, Peter, Ann and Daniel, and six grandchildren, Adam, Annie, Dylan, Elsa and twins, Fiona and Sarah.
The Daniels moved from New York to Santa Monica in the early 1970s, and, barring occasional long runs in New York and London, have lived here ever since.
A private informal service will be held Wednesday.