Edward Leonard "Ed" O'Neill (born April 12, 1946) is an American actor. He is best known for his role as the main character, Al Bundy, on the Fox Network sitcom Married... with Children, for which he was nominated for two Golden Globes.
Since 2009, O'Neill has played patriarch Jay Pritchett on the award-winning ABC sitcom Modern Family, a role for which he has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards and won four Screen Actors Guild Awards.
O'Neill was born into a Catholic family in Youngstown, Ohio. His mother, Ruth Ann (née Quinlan), was a homemaker and social worker, and his father, Edward Phillip O'Neill, was a steel mill worker and truck driver. O'Neill attended Ursuline High School and won a football scholarship to Ohio University, where he majored in history, also having joined the Mu chapter of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. O'Neill left Ohio after his sophomore year; he spent more time playing sports and partying than studying and also feuded with his coach.
He transferred to Youngstown State University (YSU), where he was a defensive lineman. While an undergraduate, O'Neill pledged Delta Sigma Phi and was initiated into the Delta Sigma chapter there. Rumors abound that he was an avid partier. O'Neill was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969 but was cut in training camp. Later, on Married... with Children, O'Neill played a former high-school football star who had failed to make it big and constantly reminisced about his "glory days" at Polk High ("I once scored four touchdowns in a single game"). As part of this theme, former Pittsburgh Steelers great and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw also made two guest appearances on the show. O'Neill was also a social studies teacher at Ursuline High School before becoming an actor.
O'Neill re-enrolled at YSU after being cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers and was one of the first students at the school's then new theatre program. He played Lennie in a stage production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1979, he played a boxer opposite Danny Aiello in the Broadway play Knockout. In 1985, O'Neill appeared alongside Jeff Kinsland in a Red Lobster commercial and made a brief guest appearance in The Equalizer. In 1986, he was cast as the character of NYPD Police Detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle for the planned television series Popeye Doyle. The Popeye Doyle character originally appeared in the motion picture The French Connection (played by Gene Hackman). The two-hour made-for-television movie/pilot was filmed and shown on network television. O'Neill received good reviews for his performance, and the pilot received good ratings, but the series was not picked up for production.
In 1986, O'Neill landed the lead role of Al Bundy in Fox Network's Married... with Children, an American sitcom about a dysfunctional family living in Chicago. It was the first primetime television series to air on the Fox Network as a midseason replacement, debuting April 5, 1987, and concluding after 11 seasons on June 9, 1997.
During and following the success of Married... with Children, O'Neill appeared in several movies, including The Bone Collector, Little Giants, and Dutch. He also had small parts in Wayne's World and Wayne's World 2, and appeared as Relish the Troll King in The 10th Kingdom. O'Neill made a brief appearance on the comedy variety show In Living Color, playing the "Dirty Dozens" champion who defeats the challenger, played by Jamie Foxx. He also made a cameo on the sitcom 8 Simple Rules as the ex-boyfriend of Cate S. Hennessy (played by Katey Sagal, who portrayed O'Neill's TV wife Peg Bundy on Married... with Children). He appeared in the movie The Adventures of Ford Fairlane with Andrew Dice Clay and in Cruising with Al Pacino. During the mid-1990s, he had a long string of appearances in commercials for 1-800-COLLECT.
Law & Order franchise creator Dick Wolf cast O'Neill as Sgt. Joe Friday in his 2003 remake of Jack Webb's classic TV crime series Dragnet. The series was canceled by ABC in its second season. O'Neill went on to appear as Governor Eric Baker, a recurring character on NBC's The West Wing. O'Neill also played Bill on HBO's television series John From Cincinnati.
In 2008, O'Neill appeared in an advertisement for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama as "Al the Shoesalesman".
In January 2009, O'Neill reunited with David Faustino (Bud Bundy from Married... with Children) for two episodes of Faustino's show Star-ving. O'Neill also appeared with the entire cast of Married... with Children again when they were honored at the 7th Annual TV Land Award show in 2009.
Since 2009, O'Neill has played the role of Jay Pritchett on the ABC sitcom Modern Family, a role that earned him three Primetime Emmy Award nominations in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Since 2012, O'Neill has done voice-overs in TV advertisements for allergy pill Zyrtec.
In 2016, O'Neill starred as Hank the Octopus in the highly successful Pixar animated film Finding Dory. According to O'Neill, he didn't realize at first that he had a starring role in the film. As his voice recording sessions continued and most of his interactions turned out to be with Dory, he finally began to suspect that Hank was a major character in the film.
Since 1986, O'Neill has been married to actress Catherine Rusoff, who appeared in two episodes of Married... with Children. In 1989, the couple separated but reconciled in 1993. They have two daughters: Sophia, born in 1999, and Claire, born in 1996. The couple currently lives in Los Angeles.
After being introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by his friend writer/director John Milius, O'Neill has trained in the martial art for 22 years under the mentoring of Rorion Gracie. In December 2007, O'Neill received his black belt. In the 2012 TV documentary I Am Bruce Lee, O'Neill states that he considers getting his black belt "the greatest achievement of my life, apart from my children."
|1980||The Dogs of War||Terry|
|1980||The Day the Women Got Even||Ed|
|1982||Farrell for the People||Detective Jay Brennan|
|1983||When Your Lover Leaves||Mack Sher|
|1986||A Winner Never Quits||Whitey Wyshner|
|1986||The Three Little Pigs||Elvis Presley|
|1987||Right to Die||Himself||Documentary|
|1988||Police Story: Gladiator School||Sergeant Stanley Bivens|
|1990||A Very Retail Christmas||Max Crandall|
|1989||Disorganized Crime||George Denver|
|1990||The Adventures of Ford Fairlane||Lieutenant Amos|
|1990||Sibling Rivalry||Wilbur Meany|
|1991||The Whereabouts of Jenny||Jimmy O'Meara|
|1993||Wayne's World 2||Glen|
|1993||Nick's Game||Ron Hawthorne|
|1994||Little Giants||Kevin O'Shea|
|1995||W.E.I.R.D. World||Dr. Monochian|
|1997||The Spanish Prisoner||FBI team leader|
|1999||The Bone Collector||Detective Paulie Sellitto|
|2000||Lucky Numbers||Dick Simmons|
|2001||Nobody's Baby||Norman Pinkney|
|2005||Steel Valley||Congressman Cardone||Short film|
|2010||Lost Masterpieces of Pornography||Chief Justice Renato Corona||Short film|
|2012||Wreck-It Ralph||Mr. Litwak||Voice only|
|2016||Finding Dory||Hank||Voice only|
|1970||All My Children||Unknown episodes|
|1984||Miami Vice||Arthur Lawson / Artie Rollins||Episode: "Heart of Darkness"|
|1985||Moonlighting||Taxi driver||Episode: "Pilot"|
|1985||Hunter||Dan Colson||Episode: "The Garbage Man"|
|1985||The Equalizer||Doctor||Episode: "The Children's Song"|
|1985||Spenser: For Hire||Buddy Almeida||Episode: "Widow's Walk"|
|1986||Popeye Doyle||James "Popeye" Doyle||TV Pilot film|
|1987–1997||Married... with Children||Al Bundy||259 Episodes|
|1988||Midnight Caller||Hank||Episode: "Twelve Gauge"|
|1990||Saturday Night Live||Guest host||January 13, 1990|
|1990||The Earth Day Special||Al Bundy|
|1991||Top of the Heap||Al Bundy||Episode: "Top of the Heap"|
|1994||In Living Color||Himself||Episode: "The Dirty Dozens Tournament of Champions"|
|2000||The 10th Kingdom||Relish the Troll King|
|2001||Big Apple||Detective Michael Mooney||8 episodes|
|2003–2004||L.A. Dragnet||Lieutenant Joe Friday||22 episodes|
|2004||In the Game||Buzz||TV pilot|
|2004–2005||The West Wing||Governor Eric Baker||4 episodes|
|2005||8 Simple Rules||Matt Walsh||Episode: "Old Flame"|
|2005||In the Game||Buzz|
|2006||Twenty Good Years||Brock Manley||Episode: "Between Brock and a Hard Place"|
|2006||The Unit||William Partch||Episode: "Silver Star"|
|2007||John from Cincinnati||Bill Jacks||10 episodes|
|2009||WordGirl||Panicking Man (Uncredited)||Episode: "The Wrong Side the Law"|
|2009–present||Modern Family||Jay Pritchett||Main Role|
|2011||Handy Manny||Mayor Thompson||Episode: "Great Garage Rescue"|
|2011||Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil||Grandpa||Episode: "Truth or Daredevil"|
|2012||The Penguins of Madagascar||Hunter's father||Episode: "Operation: Antarctica"|
|2013||Real Husbands of Hollywood||Himself||Episode: "Thicke and Tired"|
|2015||Family Guy||Bud Swanson||Episode: "Papa Has a Rollin' Son"|
Awards and nominations
O'Neill received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 30, 2011.
|1992||Golden Globe Award||Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Comedy/Musical||Married... with Children||Nominated|
|1993||Golden Globe Award||Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Comedy/Musical||Married... with Children||Nominated|
|2009||TV Land Award||Innovator Award||Married... with Children||Won|
|2010||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Nominated|
|2011||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Won|
|2011||Golden Nymph Award||Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Nominated|
|2011||Critics' Choice Television Award||Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Nominated|
|2011||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Nominated|
|2012||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Won|
|2012||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Nominated|
|2013||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Won|
|2013||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Nominated|
|2014||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Nominated|