Those of us who spent much of the 90s glued to the TV remember the show
“Married With Children.” With its crass and offensive humor, it gathered an extremely large following and was a hit for Fox, which was a new network at the time of the show’s debut. You’ll never forget Al Bundy’s grouchy personality or Peggy’s whiney voice. These are characters that will go on to live in our memories as some of our favorites of all time.
Since “Married With Children” went off the air, several of its stars have gone on to have a successful movie and TV careers. Now, we’ll look at where these stars are today and visit some of the facts about the show, which you are sure to be a bit surprised about.
For an unbelievable fact about Ed O’Neill read on to #1 on our list.
Ed O’Neill Went On To Stardom
Since “Married With Children” went off the air, the lovable Ed O’Neill, or as most people know him, Al Bundy, has had quite a successful career in movies and on TV. Where you can see him most often these days is on the series “Modern Family,” where he plays the husband of Sofia Vergara. He also made appearances in the movies Wayne’s World, Sibling Rivalry, and Dutch and played a governor on the TV show “West Wing.”
First Show To Appear On Fox Primetime
Did you know that “Married With Children” was the first prime time show to air on Fox when it hit the airwaves in 1987? It was one of only a few programs to air in the 8 p.m. slot and then again at 9 p.m. The offensive comedy ran for 11 seasons on Fox and is one of the most successful shows the network has ever aired.
Katey Sagal Won A Golden Globe
No one could forget the hair and heels of Peg Bundy, played by Katey Sagal, on “Married With Children.” Since her time away from the show she has kept busy with a role on “Boston Legal” and playing the voice of Leela on “Futurama.” She had a starring role on the hit, “Sons of Anarchy.” Earning her a Golden Globe for her performance and recently was featured in the movie Pitch Perfect 2.
It Is The Longest Running Live-Action Show Ever To Air On Fox
When Fox took a chance on the quirky comedy it had no idea what a success it would be. Beginning on April 5, 1987, the show aired through June 9, 1997. In total, “Married With Children” aired 259 episodes and is the longest running live action show to ever appear on the Fox network.
Wonder what happened to Kelly Bundy? Read on!
Christina Applegate Went On To Do More Comedies
Probably best known for playing the dimwitted Kelly Bundy on “Married With Children,” Christina Applegate has gone on to perform in a series of comedy movies such as; Anchorman, Anchorman 2 and Vacation. Applegate also secured a role on Broadway in “Sweet Charity.” In 2008 she announced that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy.
O’Neill and Sagal Weren’t Original Choices
The original casting ideas for “Married With Children,” included casting Sam Kinison as Al Bundy and Roseanne Barr as Peg Bundy. Both actors turned down the roles, as they were both looking to break into movies. Can you imagine the show without O’Neill and Sagal? It probably wouldn’t be the cult classic that it is today without these actors.
David Faustino Got Into Animation
Playing the smart-mouthed brother Bud Bundy, David Faustino has since shown up in a series of guest spots on “Modern Family,” “The X-Files” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” He has experienced considerable success in voice-overs for animations for networks such as Nickelodeon. In 2007, he was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession and also divorced his wife.
Find out who Ed O’Neill based Al Bundy’s character on next.
Al Bundy Resembles Some Of O’Neill’s Friends And Family
O’Neill worked hard to craft the character of Al Bundy, using his uncles and an old high school friend as inspiration. While his family and friends would have appreciated the similarities, they didn’t get the opportunity to see his performance as their hometown didn’t receive the Fox network when it first began to air. Perhaps they caught his performances in re-runs or on DVD.
Amanda Bearse Is An In-Demand Director Now
Peg’s best friend and crazy neighbor Marcy Rhoades was played by Amanda Bearse, who is now a very in-demand director. She directed shows such as “Dharma and Greg,” “Reba” and “The Jamie Foxx Show.” Bearse created a firestorm when in 1993 she came out as a lesbian. She was one of the first actresses to ever announce that she was gay publicly.
Sagal Created The Image Of Peg Bundy
Sagal came up with the whole idea for Peg’s look all on her own. She showed up to her audition exactly like she thought Peg would look. The rest is history, as Peg went on-air with her teased hair, high heels, and garish outfits. She created a character that audiences loved and still resonate with today.
Find out why Steve Rhoades didn’t appear in every episode on the next page.
David Garrison Left Mid-Show
Remember the next door neighbor, Steve Rhoades, who was played by David Garrison? While he left the show prematurely to return to working in theater, he has appeared in an array of guest spots on TV. You may have seen him on “The West Wing,” ‘The Good Wife,” “Law & Order” or “30 Rock.” It was quite a shocker when he decided to no longer keep his role.
Ted McGinley Appeared On Dancing With The Stars
While Ted McGinley gained popularity in his roles on “Happy Days” and “The Love Boat,” he was loved by many as Jefferson D’Arcy on “Married With Children.” Following the show, McGinley had spots on “Hope & Faith” and the “Mentalist” and even joined the cast of Season 7 of “Dancing with the Stars” — where he was the second person eliminated from the show.
A Very Small Budget Was Set For The Show
The budget for “Married With Children” was so small in the beginning that several of the items used on the show were brought from the cast and crew member’s own home. All the way through to Season 3, Peggy’s hair is really Sagal’s hair. It wasn’t until later that they allowed her to buy a wig.
Read on to learn which episode didn’t air for 13 years.
One Episode Didn’t Air Until 13 Years Later
An episode of “Married With Children” that was scheduled to air in 1989 was found to be too controversial for audiences at the time and wasn’t shown until 13 years later in 2002. When the episode, “I’ll See You In Court” finally aired, it was on the FX channel in an edited format. You know that was a controversial episode if it was even too shocking for the “Married With Children” crowd.
Spinoffs Of The Show Were Created, But Failed
In an attempt to build off the success of “Married With Children,” two spinoffs were created that failed miserably. One featured Matt LeBlanc, a boyfriend of Kelly’s, called “Top of the Heap” that only aired for six episodes. The other starred Garrison, which never aired past the pilot episode.
The Pilot Features Different Actors
In the unaired pilot for “Married With Children,” Kelly is played by Tina Caspary and Bud is played by Hunter Carson. Both actors were replaced with Applegate and Faustino by the time the show went to air. Can you imagine Kelly with brown hair? Maybe the switch was a good idea after all.
Want to know who sung the theme song for the show?
The Theme Sound Was Originally Sung By Sinatra
The show’s theme song “Love and Marriage” was originally recorded for the TV production of “Our Town” and sung by Frank Sinatra. The version that aired for “Married With Children” can be found on the Sinatra’s album “This Is Sinatra!” which was recorded in 1956. That’s quite the classy singer for a less-than-classy TV series.
McGinley’s Character D’Arcy Was Toughened Up
Jefferson D’Arcy, played by McGinley, was turned into a secret agent after much complaining by the actor. He thought the character of Jefferson acted like a wuss and needed to be toughened up a bit. The role of a secret agent for D’Arcy may have been just what the show needed, as it made for an interesting story line.
A Russian Version Remade Every Episode
The show was so popular that it was remade for a Russian audience. The Russian version translates loosely to “Happy Together.” Rather than simply dub the original version of the Fox TV hit, producers in Russian found a new cast and re-filmed the entire series — completely in Russian. As the promo shot above shows, they look nothing like the original cast we all came to love or hate in America.
You’ll Never Guess Where O’Neill’s Star Ended Up
Believe it or not, but the placement of O’Neill’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is right in front of a shoe store – a DSW to be exact. If you think back, you’ll remember that Al Bundy worked in a shoe store. Coincidence? I think not! The star was honored in 2011.
Where Is Juliet Tablak Now?
Juliet Tablak played Amber, Marcy’s niece, during season 9 of “Married With Children.” Amber was sent to live with Marcy to get her out of the dangerous L.A. neighborhood she’d been living in. Her character disappeared without mention after the ninth season. Juliet Tablak eventually retired from acting and is now a Pilates instructor.
An Episode Was Worth A Lot
We’ve heard of some actors getting paid one million dollars per episode such as the stars from Friends but this is the exact opposite. Apparently, it cost producers one million each episode even despite the show’s success. This is what ultimately led to the cancellation of the series.
Cosby Show Connections
Not many are aware of this, but the Bundy’s next door neighbor, Marcy D’Arcy was named after Marcy Carsey who is the executive producer of The Cosby Show. Another fun fact is that the show was going to be originally called, Not the Cosbys. We wonder how that would have been received.
Ed O’Neill walked in and that was enough. He didn’t have to utter a word for his audition. All he did was walk through the front door with that slump in his shoulder and release that signature sigh. He won the part right then and there. If you got it, you got it.
If O’Neill had not been so perfect for the job then we might have seen a different familiar face been in his role. That’s right, Kramer or Michael Richards went and audition for the role of father Bundy. Maybe it’s a good thing he didn’t get it because who could have done Kramer better than him?
Type Casting is Real
Many actors from other shows have been typecast because fans just cannot see them outside of the role that they grew to love them in. For instance, everyone sees Hilary Banks as the snobby rich daughter from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air no matter what. O’Neill was Al Bundy everywhere he went. A test audience for Flight of the Intruder busted into laughter whenever he came on the screen.
Macho Men Don’t Beg
Men don’t want to be known as a wuss even if it is on TV. Ted McGinley was simply the simple character of the show and he would complain about that, that he was too much of a wuss for his liking. Later in the series, they would make references about his macho secret agent past.
Quitting For The Road
David Garrison was Marcy’s husband for four seasons but that wasn’t enough for him, clearly. Once he either gathered enough money or courage, he bought his way out of his contract to bring his broadway career back to life. He would return to the show on four different occasions.
Bitter Beef Between Neighbors
They were enemies on the show, yes but that was also true for real life too. Ed O’Neill and Amanda Bearse did not get along. Maybe it was easier to play enemies on the show because it didn’t take much acting to do so. There is one plus from the relationship.
Third Times A Charm
When a pregnancy occurs during a TV show, that is when you see producers get really creative. Katey Sagal became pregnant three times during the series. The first time she was pregnant was written into the show, and her other two were obscured in the show. The first pregnancy was imagined because her baby was stillborn.
Will The Real David Faustino Please Stand Up
Remember Grandmaster B? That was David Faustino’s rap alter ego on the show but it was not from nothing. Faustino was an actually a rapper in real life and producers knew that so they gave him the chance to show his skills on-screen. His rap name was D’Lil.
That Has Got To Be Awkward
You would think that since they gave Fox their very first prime-time show that the cast would have gotten a heads up about when the show would be canceled. The only way Ed O’Neill found out was by overhearing a couple talk about it while enjoying a vacation. At that moment, the joy was taken.
Fake Calls From Al
There were a few Married… with Children fans who were extremely lucky. Lucky because they would get an actual phone call from Al Bundy. Well, not the real Al Bundy, just Ed O’Neill calling as Al. He would wish them a happy birthday or happy holidays but only from collect.
One Crazy Pitch For An Ending
Ed O’Neill wanted to end on a ridiculous note for the series finale. Death might have even been involved but we are not entirely sure. His pitch for the finale was that the family should win the lottery. Sounds fine, but then he said they should immediately be hit by a tornado.
Opposite of the series The Office, this show was given a U.K. remake. When you do things in other countries you have to make sure it translate accordingly and that is what did not happen. It starred comedian Russ Abbott and only lasted for seven episodes or seven weeks.
How Did They Last So Long
For a show that lasted 11 seasons, one would think it had a large following of fans that liked the show. However, ratings were never that high and this largely due to the fact that Fox was a relatively new network and the conservative organization said it was the crudest comedy on TV.
Peggy’s Maiden Name
How often do you recall Peggy’s Maiden name being used in the series? Not often because overseas it could have been taken extremely wrong. Wanker may just mean idiot or something of the sorts in the States but in the U.K. it is a strong curse word.
Where Do You Think The Names Came From
There was a rumor that the Bundy family was named after the crazed murderer Ted Bundy. False, the truth is they were named after the pro wrestler King Kong Bundy. King Kong is one great wrestling name, who would want to get in the ring with him, would you?
He Wanted Attention
David Faustino wanted acknowledgment, to say the least. During the start of the show when he was younger, he pulled a stunt to try and get people’s attention. He went to the mall with the Married… with Children logo on his shirt in hopes that he would get noticed. Sadly, no one knew who he was.