Edward Leonard O'Neill
April 12, 1946
Youngstown, Ohio, United States
|Occupation(s)||Actor, voice actor, comedian|
American football career
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|High school:||Ursuline High School|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
Edward Leonard O'Neill (born April 12, 1946) is an American actor and comedian. His roles include Al Bundy on the Fox Network sitcom Married... with Children, for which he was nominated for two Golden Globes, and Jay Pritchett on the award-winning ABC sitcom Modern Family, for which he was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards and won four Screen Actors Guild Awards (all four for being part of the best Ensemble in a Comedy Series). He has also appeared in the Wayne's World film series, Little Giants, Prefontaine, The Bone Collector and Sun Dogs. He has done voice-work for the Wreck-It Ralph franchise and Finding Dory.
O'Neill was born into an Irish-American Catholic family in Youngstown, Ohio on April 12, 1946. 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 where he played football. At 14 he worked in construction, then at a steel mill.
He was awarded a football scholarship to Ohio University, where he majored in history, and was a member of the Mu chapter of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. He left the university after his sophomore year. He admits he spent more time playing sports and partying than studying. He also feuded with his coach.
He transferred to Youngstown State University, where he was a defensive lineman. As an undergraduate, he pledged Delta Sigma Phi and was initiated into the Delta Sigma chapter there. While at Youngstown State, he played in a game against Roger Staubach, who was playing for the Pensacola Naval Station. O'Neill said that his team was penalized 15 yards when he hit Staubach out of bounds.
Professional football career
O'Neill was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969 under rookie head coach Chuck Noll but was cut in training camp, having to compete with fellow rookie defensive lineman "Mean Joe" Greene and L. C. Greenwood for a roster spot. Both became key members of the Steel Curtain defense during the Steelers success in the 1970s. Later, while 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 Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw also made two guest appearances on the show. O'Neill worked as a substitute social studies teacher at his alma mater Ursuline High School before becoming an actor.
O'Neill re-enrolled at Youngstown State after being cut by the Steelers and was one of the first students at the school's new theater program. Later, in 1979, he played a boxer opposite Danny Aiello in the Broadway play Knockout. It was there that he was seen by director William Friedkin and landed his first movie role, as a police detective in Cruising, starring Al Pacino.
In 1985, O'Neill appeared alongside Jeff Kinsland in a Red Lobster commercial. He made a brief guest appearance in The Equalizer. In 1986, he was cast as NYPD detective Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle for the planned television series Popeye Doyle. The character had 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 positive ratings, but the series was not picked up for production.
In 1986, while playing the role of Lennie in a stage production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men at the Hartford Theater in Hartford, Connecticut, he was seen by a casting agent from the Fox television network and was asked to audition for the role of Al Bundy in Married... with Children, a proposed sitcom about a dysfunctional family living in Chicago. He won the part because, during the audition, he simply slumped his shoulders and sighed as he was about to walk through the front door of the home. Married... with Children led off the first night of Fox's primetime lineup on April 5, 1987, concluding after 11 seasons on June 9, 1997.
During and following the success of Married... with Children, O'Neill starred in several films, including Dutch and Little Giants. He also had small parts in The Bone Collector, 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 wife Peggy Bundy on Married... with Children). He appeared in the movie The Adventures of Ford Fairlane with Andrew Dice Clay. During the mid-1990s, he had a string of appearances in commercials for 1-800-COLLECT.
Law & Order franchise creator Dick Wolf cast O'Neill as Sergeant Joe Friday in his 2003 update of Jack Webb's long-running Dragnet media franchise. 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 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.
From 2009 to 2020, O'Neill 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 the over-the-counter form of Zyrtec, along with Walmart's store-branded mobile phone service Straight Talk.
In 2016, O'Neill starred as Hank the Octopus in the 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 began to suspect that Hank was a major character in the film.
O'Neill is married to actress Catherine Rusoff. As of 2016, they were living in Los Angeles with their two daughters.
After being introduced to Brazilian jiu-jitsu by his friend writer/director John Milius, O'Neill has trained for 22 years under the mentoring of Rorion Gracie. In December 2007, after 16 years of training, 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."
On May 18, 2013, O'Neill was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from his alma mater, Youngstown State University. On November 30, 2023, after the controversial hiring of Republican congressman Bill Johnson as the university's president, O'Neill told Ideastream he was going to return his degree, saying, "I don't want it... I'm going to start calling it Trump-U."
|The Dogs of War||Terry|
|1989||Disorganized Crime||Detective George Denver|
|1990||The Adventures of Ford Fairlane||Lieutenant Amos|
|Sibling Rivalry||Wilbur Meany|
|1993||Wayne's World 2||Glen|
|Little Giants||Kevin O'Shea|
|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 role|
|2016||Finding Dory||Hank The Octopus||Voice role|
|2016||Traficant: The Congressman of Crimetown||Himself||Documentary|
|2017||Sun Dogs||Bob Garrity|
|2018||Ralph Breaks the Internet||Mr. Litwak||Voice role|
|2020||The Last Shift||Dale|
|1980||The Day the Women Got Even||Ed||TV film|
|1981||Another World||Lenny||Episode: "Hostages at the Cabin"|
|1982||Farrell for the People||Detective Jay Brennan||TV film|
|1983||When Your Lover Leaves||Mack Sher|
|1984||Miami Vice||Arthur Lawson / Artie Rollins||Episode: "Heart of Darkness"|
|1985||Moonlighting||Taxi driver||Episode: "Pilot"|
|Hunter||Dan Colson||Episode: "The Garbage Man"|
|Braker||Danny Buckner||TV film|
|The Equalizer||Doctor||Episode: "The Children's Song"|
|Spenser: For Hire||Buddy Almeida||Episode: "Widow's Walk"|
|1986||A Winner Never Quits||Whitey Wyshner||TV film|
|Popeye Doyle||James "Popeye" Doyle||TV pilot film|
|1987||Right to Die||TV film|
|1987–1997||Married... with Children||Al Bundy||Lead role; 259 episodes|
|1988||Police Story: Gladiator School||Sergeant Stanley Bivens||TV film|
|Midnight Caller||Hank||Episode: "Twelve Gauge"|
|1990||Saturday Night Live||Guest host||January 13, 1990|
|A Very Retail Christmas||Max Crandall||TV film|
|The Earth Day Special||Al Bundy||TV special|
|1991||Top of the Heap||Al Bundy||Episode: "Top of the Heap"|
|The Whereabouts of Jenny||Jimmy O'Meara||TV film|
|1994||In Living Color||Himself||Episode: "The Dirty Dozens Tournament of Champions"|
|1995||W.E.I.R.D. World||Dr. Monochian||TV film|
|2000||The 10th Kingdom||Relish the Troll King||9 episodes|
|2001||Big Apple||Detective Michael Mooney||8 episodes|
|2003–2004||Dragnet||Lieutenant Joe Friday||Main cast (renamed L.A. Dragnet, season 2)|
|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"|
|Twenty Good Years||Brock Manley||Episode: "Between Brock and a Hard Place"|
|The Unit||William Partch||Episode: "Silver Star"|
|2007||John from Cincinnati||Bill Jacks||10 episodes|
|2009||WordGirl||Panicking Man (voice)||Episode: "The Wrong Side of the Law"; uncredited|
|2009–2020||Modern Family||Jay Pritchett||Lead role; 250 episodes|
|2011||Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil||Grandpa (voice)||Episode: "Truth or Daredevil"|
|Handy Manny||Mayor Thompson (voice)||Episode: "Great Garage Rescue"|
|2012||The Penguins of Madagascar||Orson (voice)||Episode: "Operation: Antarctica"|
|2013||Real Husbands of Hollywood||Himself||Episode: "Thicke and Tired"|
|2015||Family Guy||Bud Swanson (voice)||Episode: "Papa Has a Rollin' Son"|
|2019||Weird City||Burt Maxsome||Episode: "The One"|
|2020||A Modern Farewell||Himself||Modern Family documentary|
|2015||A Few Cold Nights in '58||Appeared in Car Bombs to Cookie Tables: The Youngstown Anthology|
Awards and nominations
|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||Nominated|
|2009||TV Land Award||Innovator Award||Modern Family||Won|
|2009||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2010||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2010||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2011||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2011||Golden Nymph Award||Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2011||Critics' Choice Television Award||Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2011||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2012||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2012||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2013||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Won|
|2013||Primetime Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2014||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2015||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2016||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2017||Critics' Choice Television Award||Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
- "Ed O'Neill | Television Academy Interviews". Television Academy. October 22, 2017. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
- Romero, Frances (September 16, 2011). "Ed O'Neill: From Al Bundy to Jay Pritchett". Time. Archived from the original on September 16, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
- "Ed O'Neill | TV Guide". TV Guide. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
- Pallante, Sally; Scotty Hanahan; Jim Dunn; Paul Miller; Martin Pallante; Terry Dunn (2004). Irish in Youngstown and the Greater Mahoning Valley. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 105. ISBN 0738532185. Retrieved October 7, 2007.
- "Ed O'Neill: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- "Ed O'Neill - Biography". Biography.com. A&E Television Networks. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
- Rothbart, Davy (January 12, 2021). "How to Go From Working in a Steel Mill to Being the Highest Paid Actor on TV". Wealthsimple. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
- Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 2011
- "Hall of Fame Quarterback Remembers Goshawks Playing Time". U.S. Navy. August 28, 2017.
- "That Time Ed O'Neill Got Flagged for a Late Hit on Roger Staubach". YouTube. August 28, 2018.
- "It's Evening in America". Vanity Fair. May 2012. Page 156.
- "Red Lobster Commercial with Ed O'Neil". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- "Interview with Ed O'Neil". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
- Mullins, Jenna (November 20, 2015). "19 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Married... With Children". E!. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
- on YouTube
- Faustino, David (2009). Star-ving: The Complete First Season (NTSC). Sony Pictures. ASIN B002HMDSOY. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
- "Ed O'Neill". Emmys.com. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
- Pond, Steve (July 14, 2011). "Snubs, surprises and favorites for Emmy gold". Reuters. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
- O'Neil, Tom (September 14, 2011). "Finally, Emmy jackpot for Ed O'Neill?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
- Other works for Ed O'Neill (I). IMDb
- Snetiker, Mark (June 17, 2016). "Finding Dory: Ed O'Neill didn't know he was a lead". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 5, 2016.
- "Ed O'Neill". Biography.com. A&E Television Networks. April 18, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- on YouTube
- "Ed O'Neill Practices Jiu-Jitsu With Billy Bush!". Access Hollywood. Retrieved March 15, 2012.
- Greenfest, Sara (December 10, 2012). "13 celebrities who fight fat with martial arts". Men's Fitness.
the greatest achievement of my life, apart from my children.
- "YSU to Award TV Star Ed O'Neill an Honorary Degree | Business Journal Daily". archive.businessjournaldaily.com. Retrieved December 1, 2023.
- "Youngstown State faces blowback from alumni, donors after hiring Republican congressman as president". Ideastream Public Media. November 30, 2023. Retrieved December 1, 2023.
- Hipes, Patrick (June 1, 2016). "Michael Angarano & Melissa Benoist To Star In Jennifer Morrison's 'Sun Dogs'". Deadline Hollywood.
- Nededog, Jethro (August 30, 2011). "'Modern Family's' Ed O'Neill Gets Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
- Oldenburg, Ann (August 30, 2011). "Ed O'Neill gets Walk of Fame star". USA Today. Retrieved March 16, 2012.