William Daniels Says He's 'So Lucky' as He Celebrates 97th Birthday with Wife Bonnie and Family (Exclusive)

William Daniels is celebrating his 97th birthday with his nearest and dearest

Published Time: 01.04.2024 - 05:31:13 Modified Time: 01.04.2024 - 05:31:13

William Daniels is celebrating his 97th birthday with his nearest and dearest.

Speaking exclusively with PEOPLE, the Boy Meets World alum is sharing his gratitude for both his family and professional accomplishments as he turns another year older.

“I am so lucky to have had such wonderful material to work with over the years which has created my career," he says. "I am also grateful for having such a special, wonderful family.”

Daniels and his wife Bonnie Bartlett Daniels are celebrating his 97th birthday at their son Michael's home where he and his girlfriend will be cooking up a special dinner complete with a homemade birthday cake.

Last year, the actor rang in his 96th birthday with his former Boy Meets World costars.

He and his wife reunited with Will Friedle, Danielle Fishel andRider Strong to commemorate the occasion with dinner ahead of their appearances at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo 2023.

Daniels starred as the wise teacher Mr. Feeny for the entirety of the show's seven-season run from 1993 to 2000, and while it's been decades since he's had them in the classroom, Friedle told PEOPLE in June 2022 that he "still shoots out the pearls of wisdom."

"His wife, Bonnie, as well. Talking to them is still magical," he said to which Fishel added -

, "If you're willing to listen, Bill is dropping gems left and right."

Both Friedle and Strong also agreed that Daniels "was just a model of professionalism on the set" of the 1990s hit. As a result, the young cast was able to learn from his example. "When we were kids, goofing off and having a good time, he was very much a Feeny-like presence," said Strong.

"Even when the cameras weren't there," he added. "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."

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Now that Daniels has largely departed from his Hollywood career, he and his wife are "very happy" these days and spend their time with their three sons and multiple grandchildren.

"We sit in this house and we do things. He reads his New York Times, and he does Cameos mostly. And we do conventions and things like that," said Bartlett Daniels told PEOPLE. "We just like to be with each other. And we would do anything for each other."

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