‘Married… With Children’: Ed O’Neill Had to Be Recast in a Movie Because of His Role After He’d Already Finished Filming

Typecasting isn’t a new concept in Hollywood. Many actors usually get pigeonholed after appearing in one or many roles of the exact nature. Actors like Michael Keaton and Charles Dance often land positions that require them to be villainous or dictatorial.

When Ed O’Neill landed his iconic role on Married… with Children, he didn’t imagine that the same position that had catapulted him into mainstream fame would be his undoing.

The actor had to be recast in another movie because of his hilarious role on Married… with Children.

Ed O’ Neill’s career

Ed O'Neill
Ed O’Neill | Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

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O’Neill was born on April 12, 1946, into an Irish-American Catholic family in Ohio. He attended Ursuline High School and worked at a steel mill when he was 14. O’Neill earned a football scholarship at Ohio University, majoring in history but left after his sophomore year. O

‘Neill admitted that he spent most of his time partying and playing sports rather than studying.

He later attended Youngstown State University. In 1979 O’Neill landed a role in the Broadway play Knockout. While on the play, director William Friedkin noticed O’Neill’s talent and helped the aspiring actor land his first movie role in Cruising opposite Al Pacino.

O’Neill appeared in a Red Lobster commercial in 1985 alongside Jeff Kinsland. The following year, he landed the part of Detective Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle for the planned titular series. O’Neill received favorable reviews from critics for his performance on the two-hour made-for-tv movie pilot. Unfortunately, the show was never picked up.

In 1986 while in a stage production for the play Of Mice and Men, a casting agent from Fox television spotted O’Neill and asked him to audition for Al Bundy for a sitcom in the works about a dysfunctional family living in the Chicago suburbs. O’Neill got the part because of his slumped shoulder and heavy sigh when he walked into the auditioning room.

O’Neill helped his onscreen children land their parts on ‘Married… with Children’

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Although the roles of the beautiful but dimwitted Kelly and the sarcastic Bud Bundy seem to have been made for Christina Applegate and David Faustino, they weren’t the creators’ original  choices for their iconic roles. It’s even possible to assume that without O’Neill’s help, both Applegate and Faustino wouldn’t have been the face of Kelly and Bud today.

Married… with Children shot its original pilot with actors Hunter Carson and Tina Caspary as Bud and Kelly, respectively. After shooting, O’Neill approached the show creators and requested that they recast his onscreen children.

O’Neill didn’t think the original cast had the relevant chemistry to push the show’s theme and was concerned that the cast would harm the performance in the future. Luckily, the production team agreed with the actor and went back to square one. They brought in new actors to audition and eventually landed on Applegate and Faustino.

Married… with Children made Faustino and Applegate household names. Applegate has continued to work steadily since then and is still actively involved in the entertainment industry. Faustino has been chiefly engaged in voice work through the years.

O’Neill had to be recast in another show after ‘Married… with Children’

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Long after Married… with Children ended, O’Neill struggled to shed off his Al Bundy persona. It seemed as though anything he did was as a result of his character on the show. If he got a serious role, it became funny because O’Neill had played Al. If the part was funny, it was because he was Al from Married… With Children.

Mental Floss reports that O’Neill had to be recast for the 1991 war film titled Flight of The Intruder because the film’s test audience couldn’t stop laughing anytime O’Neill appeared. The funny thing is his role in the 1991 film was that of a Navy captain involved in a court-martial.