Ed Biography of Ed O'Neill
Character: Al Bundy

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Last update January 18, 2015.

General Infos

Full Name: Edward O'Neill
Date and Place of Birth: April 12, 1946, Youngstown, Ohio
Coincidentally, April 12 is given as Peggy Bundy's birthday in episode 1116
Height: 6' 1" = 185cm
Ed wears glasses

His father was a steelworker. His mother was a social worker. Now she owns a company. Ed has two younger sisters and two younger brothers. He used to live separated from his wife Catherine "Cathy" Rusoff from 1990 to 1995, but in fall of 1999 they became parents to a girl. Rusoff played Susan in the 1989 "Midnight Caller" episode "Someone to Love" and Andrea in "The Whereabouts of Jenny" (1991). There's another actor named Ed O'Neill who made movies in the 40s and 50s, especially playing Abraham Lincoln. In the 10s and 20s, a certain Edward O'Neill took part in some movies. MwC's Ed O'Neill is not related to any of these namesakes.

Address & Lifestyle
Presumed Home and Autograph Requests (answers reported, but doubts about authenticity of autographs): 2607 Grand Canal, Venice CA 90291
Presumed Car: Black Porsche
Major Hobby: Gracie (Brazilian) jiu-jitsu, handball

In 1993 he was a Golden Globe Nominee for Best TV Comedy or Musical Actor in appreciation of his role in Married... with Children.

Ed started with many jobs: steelworker, bartender, used car salesman etc. He studied arts (especially theater) and history at Ohio University College for two years, but then he changed to Youngstown State University College. Although he liked the stage, O'Neill initially preferred playing football for both Ohio University and Youngstown State University and was tried out in 1969 by the Pittsburgh Steelers (Pittsburgh is close to Ed's hometown Youngstown). However, he wasn't chosen to join the team. After this disappointing experience, he tried to get the part of McMurphy in "One flew over the Cocoos Nest" at a Youngstown theater. When he failed he went to to Fort Lauderdale for six months. Back in Youngstown, he took part in an audition again. This time the theater was looking or people for "Rainmaker". Ed made a parody on Burt Lancaster and was rewarded with the part of a Greek guard in "Antigone". Then he went to Youngstown University. During that time, he plays regularily at the local theater and teaches at Ursuline High School. In 1977, Ed decided to pursue acting as a profession. He moved to New York and lived for a long time at the Imperial Court Hotel in 79th street. He got a job as a bus boy, which he calls "the worst job in the world", and began to study at New York's Circle in the Square. O'Neill's first break came in 1979 when he was understudying the lead in the Broadway play "Knockout." True to theatrical legend, the lead left the show and the understudy took over the role. Back in 1972, he started his movie and TV career in the film "Deliverance". He had only one line: "No, we're still waiting for him to come around". His first big movie part was in "Cruising" with Al Pacino who is still a friend of his. One day, Ed played Lennie in "Of Mice and Men" in Hartford, Connecticut. A Fox executive was in the audience and asked him if he wanted to audit for in the first Fox sitcom Married... with Children. He knew that he wanted the part of Al Bundy when his wife started to laugh reading the first page of the pilot script. Since Married... with Children's first episode in 1987, he is the irreplaceable leading actor of this sitcom.

After the cancellation of Married... with Children, Ed managed to get rid of the Al Bundy stigma. He played in two short-lived cop series "Big Apple" and (the 2003 remake of) "Dragnet". Since 2009, he stars in the very successful ABC series "Modern Family." He won an Emmy Award and several other prizes for his portrayal of Jay Pritchett, the head of a patchwork family. Check out Wikipedia for more.

Deutsche Titel der folgenden Liste (German titles of the following list).

Motion Pictures

with Val Kilmer
Deliverance (1972)[Aintry County Deputy, uncredited] with Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds
Cruising (1980)[Detective Schreiber] with Al Pacino
The Dogs of War (1980)[Terry] with Christopher Walken
K-9 (1989)[Brannigan] with James Belushi
Disorganized Crime (1989)[George Denver]
Sibling Rivalry (1990)[Wilbur Meany] with Kirstie Alley, Bill Pullman
The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990)  [Lieutenant Amos] with Priscilla Presley
Dutch (1991)Lead [Dutch]
Wayne's World (1992)[Glen, Mikita's Manager]
Wayne's World 2 (1993)[Glen]
Little Giants (1994)[Kevin O'Shea] with Rick Moranis
Blue Chips (1994)[Ed] with Nick Nolte
The Spanish Prisoner (1997)[FBI Team Leader]
Prefontaine (1997)[Bill Dellinger]
The Bone Collector (1999)[Detective Paulie Sellitto] with Denzel Washington
Lucky Numbers (2000)[Dick Simmons], with Lisa Kudrow and John Travolta
Nobody's Baby (2001)[Norman Pinkney]
Spartan (2004)[Burch]
Steel Valley (2005)[Congressman Cardone]


"Stress Management Video" (1981)unknown
Farrell For the People (1982)[Detective Jay Brennan]
When Your Lover Leaves (1983)[Mack Shore]
Braker (1985)[Danny Buckner]
Popeye Doyle (1986)Lead [Popeye Doyle]
Right to Die (1987)[unknown]
Police Story: Gladiator School (1988)[Sgt. Bivens]
The Whereabouts of Jenny (1991)[Jimmy O'Meara]
A&E's An Evening at the Improv (1993)   unknown
W.E.I.R.D. World (1995)[Dr. Monochian]
The Tenth Kingdom (2000)[Relish, the troll king]

Many TV commercials, especially for 1-800-COLLECT

Ed was also the first Fox star to host Saturday Night Live on January 13, 1990, on NBC where he played on three sketches: he was a shopkeeper, he was one of Lothar's hill people and he was the local driving instructor on Wayne's World. Ed was also one of the presenters at the 1989 41st Emmy Awards (with Katey Sagal) and at the 1990 42nd Emmy Awards (with Julia Duffy). He was a guest on Late Night with David Letterman in November, 1989, and in July, 1991, on the Joan Rivers Show in July, 1991, on Tony Danza in 1991, on "Hollywood Insider" in September, 1992, on "The Whoopi Goldberg" show on October 16, 1992, at the "MTV 1993 Video Music Awards", in A&E's "An Evening at the Improv" 1993, on the Late Show in January, 1993, on the Arsenio Hall Show in January, 1993, on Arsenio Hall again in 1994 and on "Later" on May 8, 1998, hosted by Amy Pietz.

He was also featured on Inside the Actors Studio season 17 episode 5 for the cast of Modern Family on 7 June 2011, talking about his early years.

Television Series

All My Childrenunknown
Miami Vice: Heart of Darkness (1984)Guest Appearance [Artie Rollins / Arthur Lawson, an FBI agent]
Hunter: The Garbage Man (1985)Guest Appearance [Colson]
Spenser: For Hire: Widow's Walk (1986)   Guest Appearance [Buddy Almeida]
Married... with Children (1987-97)Regular Series Cast [Al Bundy]
Midnight Caller: Twelve Gauge (1989)Guest Appearance [unknown, in a wheel chair?]
In Living Color (1994)Guest Appearance
Big Apple (2001)Regular Series Cast [Detective Mike Mooney]
Dragnet (2003)Regular Series Cast [Joe Friday]
The West Wing: A Change Is Gonna Come (2004)Guest Appearance [Eric Baker, Governor of Pennsylvania]
The West Wing: In the Room (2005)Guest Appearance [Eric Baker, Governor of Pennsylvania]
8 Simple Rules: Old Flame (2005)Guest Appearance [Matt, Cate's (played by Katey Sagal) old college flame]
In the Game (2005)Regular Series Cast [Buzz] with Jennifer Love Hewitt
The West Wing: Things Fall Apart (2005)Guest Appearance [Eric Baker, Governor of Pennsylvania]
The West Wing: 2162 Votes (2005)Guest Appearance [Eric Baker, Governor of Pennsylvania]
Modern Family (2009)Regular Series Cast [Jay Pritchett]


Knockout (Broadway, Helen Hayes Theatre) 1979 [Paddy Klonski]
Lakeboat (Long Wharf Theatre)
The Front Page (Philadelphia Drama Guild)
A Streetcar Named Desire (Theatre Calgary)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Of Mice and Men (Hartford Stage) [Lenny]
Gentle People (Playwrights Horizon)
A View from the Bridge (1998, for the Los Angeles Theatre Works "The Plays the Thing" radio drama series)

Thanks a lot to Dino Morello, "Marriedaniac", Claudio Valdivia, Joe Siegler, H Ray Dobin, Zachegizio and "Stiv Bundy".

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© Andreas Carl 2005