‘Married…With Children’: Ed O’Neill Was Partly Responsible for Christina Applegate’s Casting as Kelly Bundy

Christina Applegate is known for a lot of different shows and movies. Her current hit, Dead to Me, is a fan favorite, and she also appeared in Samantha Who? and a variety of movies. Before all of that, Applegate got her big break on  Married…With Children. The controversial TV show, featuring Ed O’Neill as Al Bundy, angered some viewers but was a massive success and led to Applegate’s impressive resume. She almost didn’t get the job, though. If it weren’t for O’Neill, she likely would have needed to find a different path to stardom.

Ed O’Neill helped both Christina Applegate and David Faustino get jobs on Married…With Children

The role of ditzy blonde, Kelly Bundy, seemed to be made for Applegate, and David Faustino perfectly portrayed the character of scrappy and sarcastic Bud Bundy. The two actors weren’t initially cast in the show, though. It can be said that they likely would have never gotten a shot if O’Neill hadn’t been involved.

The cast of 'Married...With Children'
The cast of ‘Married…With Children’ | Columbia Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images

After shooting the pilot, Ed O’Neill went to the production team and requested that Kelly and Bud be recast. Reportedly, O’Neill felt like the original cast lacked chemistry and was concerned that the show would flop because of it. The production team agreed and went back to the drawing board, bringing new actors to audition for the roles. Applegate and Faustino were two of the actors who auditioned. 

Who was originally cast as Kelly Bundy?

While Married…With Children made Applegate a household name, she wasn’t the first choice for the role. The pilot had been shot with a different actor portraying Kelly. Instead of Applegate, Tina Caspary was originally given the job.  

According to Vulture, Caspary was a teen actor when she was cast in the role of Kelly. She had worked on several projects, but nothing particularly popular or notable. After losing the job, she appeared in a few more TV shows and movies before walking away from acting entirely. Her last acting credit came in 1994. Applegate had worked steadily in the 1980s before landing the part on Married…With Children, but her career really took off with the show’s popularity.

Caspary wasn’t the only actor who lost their job on Married…With Children

While Casapary was tossed as soon as the pilot was completed, it was nothing personal. She wasn’t the only actor fired from Married…With Children before it was viewed by a mainstream audience. The role of Bud was also recast. Faustino eventually took on the part, but the job first went to Hunter Carson.

David Faustino and Christina Applegate attend the premiere of 'Vacation'
David Faustino and Christina Applegate | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

According to IMDb, Carson took a break from acting until 2000, when he appeared in Bullfighter. He has since moved behind the camera, working as a co-producer on several TV shows. Faustino has worked fairly steadily since the end of Married…With Children but hasn’t had another massive success yet.