‘Married…With Children’ Producers Gave David Garrison a Hilarious Parting Gift When He Left the Series

David Garrison is best known as a musical theater actor now, but back in the 1990s, he was famous for appearing in Married…With Children. The series followed the lives of Al Bundy and his wife and kids, but the neighbors were important, too. Garrison played Steve Rhoades, the Bundy family’s next-door neighbor, for four seasons of the famed sitcom, before walking away from it. It was Garrison’s choice to leave the show, and he did so on good terms. Still, the team behind Married…With Children didn’t miss the chance to give him some grief before he left. Garrison revealed that he received a pretty funny going away present from the crew.

Why did David Garrison leave Married…With Children?

Fans of the series praised Garrison’s performance, but suddenly, he stopped appearing. Writers explained that Steve and Marcy had grown apart and that he walked out on her. Eventually, she married Jefferson Darcy. Jefferson and Al Bundy weren’t friendly like Steve and Al, lending a different dynamic to the show. 

Danny Burstein, Rebecca Luker and David Garrison attend the world premiere of "Harold and Maude: The Musical"
Danny Burstein, Rebecca Luker and David Garrison | Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Garrison’s departure from the series was not the creative team’s decision. Instead, Garrison decided that he wanted to return to his acting roots. Garrison had appeared in shows before Married…With Children but preferred the art of live theater. When his commitment to Married…With Children made it impossible to perform in live theater and musicals, he left the series to return to the stage.

David Garrison received a gift before leaving Married…With Children in its fourth season

Garrison got a hilarious send-off from the team behind Married…With Children. During an interview for his musical theater productions, he discussed his departure from the famed television show. He revealed that the production team presented him with a going away on his final day of filming.

Ed O'Neill, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate, David Faustino, Amanda Bearse, and David Garrison attend the Comic Relief III Benefit on March 18, 1989
The cast of ‘Married…With Children’ | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

The cast and crew took a mugshot prop from the show and wrote “Gotta sing, gotta dance, gotta f***** starve to death” directly under Garrison’s face. The gift referenced just how much money Garrison was walking away from to return to musical theater.

Garrison made several more guest appearances on television

Garrison wasn’t completely done with TV when he left Married…With Children. The stage actor made several guest appearances on the series after his initial departure, including two appearances in the show’s final season. After Married…With Children went off the air, Garrison continued to appear in guest roles on several other shows.

According to IMDb, he appeared in three episodes of The Practice. He also took on a small role in the West Wing, appearing in five episodes. He also appeared in five episodes of Law & Order. Most recently, Garrison appeared in the Netflix original, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, as Professor Walter. He is not currently working on any television or movie projects.