Anecdotes About “Married With Children” That Will Probably Surprise You

From the realms of classic sitcoms of the 1990s, comes Married with Children, one of the top iconic shows of our time. The show was loved by all because of the beautiful performances by actors including Al, Peggy, Kelly, and Bud, who were one of the most hilarious families of all time. This American sitcom ran for 10 years and totally redefined the way TV shows portrayed marriages. The show has a lot of behind the scene facts that will surprise you even if you have watched all the episodes. From the fantastic talent of Ed O’Neill to Peggy Bundy’s maiden name, we bring you 29 surprising facts about “Married… with Children” that will surprise you.

Although this sitcom was a huge success, each episode was very expensive. It may have seemed to be a simple show with no special effects and running on a small budget, but it was actually one of the most expensive TV shows in history.

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Every episode of the TV series cost around $1 million. This may partly explain why the series was untimely canceled. Asides the operating expenses, there was also the lawsuit charges filed by people who took offense with the show. In all, the profit margin was not enough.

How Katey Sagal Got To Play Peggy

When Katey Sagal auditioned for the role of Peggy Bundy, she knew exactly the way Peggy should look like. She got into character right from the audition, looking and acting the part. Sagal went for the audition wearing huge red hair and won the hearts of the casting directors.

How Katey Sagal Got To Play Peggy

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Katey Sagal went the extra mile for the audition and proved to everyone that she had what it took to play the role. We definitely loved her redhead character in the show!

The Original Bud & Kelly

Are you aware that the Bundy family kids – Kelly and Bud Bundy you fell in love with were initially played by different actors in the sitcom’s pilot episode? It was probably because the producers were already short on time during the filming of the pilot episode of the show.

The Original Bud & Kelly

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Tina Caspary initially played the character of Kelly while Hunter Carson played Bud.

However, the producers did a recast as a result of the lack of chemistry between the original actors. All the scenes of the Bundy kids’ scenes were shot again before the pilot episode was broadcasted.

Cosmo Kramer Almost Played Al Bundy

Ed O’Neill’s character as Al Bundy in the TV series is more than just infamously cheap – Ed is now a sitcom legend. However, there is another 90s sitcom star that had a chance to play Al Bundy. Michael Richards is that man.

Cosmo Kramer Almost Played Al Bundy

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Richards who played the role of Cosmo Kramer in a sitcom, Seinfeld auditioned for the role of Al Bundy. However, the casting director Marc Hirschfeld realized Richard’s natural character was too enthusiastic for the sluggish and scruffy character of Al. Ed fit the character like a glove. Hirschfeld later remembered Richards while casting for Seinfeld, and that’s how Richards got the role of Kramer.

Friends or Enemies?

It’s not uncommon to have coworkers that don’t get along, same for actors who aren’t always immune to the struggles others face. In the original script of the show, it was planned that Al and Peggy really loved Marcy and Steve, their annoying neighbors. However, that didn’t seem to be true behind the set and even on screen.

Friends or Enemies?

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Rumor had it that Ed who played Al and Amanda Bearse who played Marcy were not in good terms in real life. This was supposedly because Bearse is a lesbian off screen, and O’Neill was not in support. Ironically enough, Ed played the role of a father of a gay man in Modern Family, who was also very supportive of the LGBTQ community.

Katey Sagal Was Pregnant 3 Times During The Show

Katey Sagal played Peggy Bundy and was actually pregnant 3 times during the 10-year filming of the sitcom. As Katey’s first pregnancy began to show during the early seasons of the show, it was included in the script.

Katey Sagal Was Pregnant 3 Times During The Show

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Unfortunately, Katey’s first child was stillborn, arriving 6 weeks earlier than scheduled. Katey made a tough sacrifice as she had to wear a fake pregnancy belly for the filming. However, her last two pregnancies were successful but were kept away from the audience.

A Very Successful Pilot

Fox broadcasted the first episode of Married With Children on the 15th of April, 1987. The very first episode was so successful that the network had to play it repeatedly the night it was first aired as it instantly had so many viewers.

A Very Successful Pilot

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Indeed, success can occur overnight! Imagine how viral the show will have gone if the internet was available in 1987. The uniqueness and dysfunctionality of the Bundy family in the sitcom resonated with a lot of people. It was more successful than what the producers anticipated.

The Audience Loved Kelly From The Very First Moment

Christina Applegate definitely stole the show. Her character as Kelly was just irresistible, and everyone loved her from her first appearance in the show. From her outfits to her high-spirited, flirty, bratty and humorous personality, she did her best for the show to be a success.

The Audience Loved Kelly From The Very First Moment

Applegate’s talent and personality charmed the producers and writers, and she got ample screen time on the show to exhibit her abilities. Her character made a very positive impact, and it increased the show’s viewership and fandom during the earlier episodes.

The Al Bundy Joke

With a TV show packed with a comical and talented cast, you may well expect stable jokes and laughing on the set. One of such jokes during the 10-year sitcom was misspelling Al Bundy’s name, sometimes spelled as Al Bumby, Al Birdy, or Al Boondy, and so on.

The Al Bundy Joke

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Other characters in the show had their own nicknames that everyone joked about on set as well. Peggy and Al definitely had the strangest nicknames. Kelly also had a pet name for her brother, which she never mentioned off-screen.

The Wig Façade

It is very common for actors had to play different roles in a movie or show or work on different projects at the same time. This is especially true for actors playing roles in sitcoms that run for years.

The Wig Façade

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Applegate who played the roles of Bud’s silly older sister and Al and Peggy’s ditzy daughter in season ten had to wear a blonde wig during that season as well. This was because she went brunette for a character she was playing in another movie.

The Show’s Legacy

With 11 seasons and 259 original episodes, Married With Children holds the record of FOX’s longest running live-action sitcom. Aired between 1987 and 1997, it is also ranked as the 8th longest running weekly comedy series in American TV history.

The Show’s Legacy

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The show was controversial and exceptionally edgy for its time. At that time many other networks, apart from FOX thought the sitcom would be a failure. However, despite some controversies around the sitcom, it was successful during the ten years it was aired.

Some Groups Didn’t like Kelly’s Outfits

From the very start, Married With Children had its fair share of criticisms and controversies. All the show’s characters were criticized; however, Kelly’s character was criticized the most. Kelly was a teen girl who was flirtatious, dressed provocatively and misbehaved a lot.

Some Groups Didn’t like Kelly’s Outfits

Kelly’s character received so much criticism that her character would have been terminated if the writers had listened to them. Well, it turned out to be a good thing as the show became more popular than ever.

The VISTA Card

You may have noticed the sign that says VISTA cards in Bundy’s shoe shop, but does VISTA card really exist? There’s no such thing as VISTA card in real life, only VISA cards exist. Could it be a mistake on the part of the writers and producers or was it intended to make the show more hilarious?

The VISTA Card

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In reality, the producers were probably trying to avoid a lawsuit. However, if you did not really focus on it, you could read the sign as Visa. Whatever the reason, the viewers didn’t really care.

Al’s Adult Magazines

In many of Al’s scenes, he was mostly seen sitting in the living room and watching TV. However, he had another favorite pastime. Al may have seemed conservative, but he wasn’t immune to X-rated stuff.

Al’s Adult Magazines

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The grumpy family man had a fascination for adult magazines called Big ‘Uns. This hobby added complexity to his character and made him even more funny and spirited. Did Al ever think of how his daughter’s generation could be affected by this? Well, yes! He didn’t like the fact that she was flirty, but we’ll get to that soon. Oh, and not to forget his wife’s dirty little secret.

The Changing Address

At one time, you may possibly have assumed that the Bundys’ relocated during the show because their home address was constantly changing. At times their address was 9764 Jeopardy Lane, at others, it was 9674 Jeopardy Lane. You didn’t notice that, did you?

The Changing Address

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It makes one wonder if it was a mistake or it was done as an Easter egg for attentive viewers. To start with, Jeopardy Lane was a fictional street, so also the street numbers.

Peggy’s Hilarious Maiden Name

Peggy’s maiden name was Wanker before she married Al. Wanker is actually a swear word in British and Australian slang. However, the word only became popular in British slang in the late 80s and early 90s and was not used in that manner in 1987 America.

Peggy’s Hilarious Maiden Name

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Some have hilarious and embarrassing names like Peggy’s Wanker moniker. Well, some are able to rid of them through marriage. Now that knowledge of the word has spread to the US via the internet, it’s an awkward maiden name for Peggy to bear.

A Plot Twist?

Ed O’Neill featured in the 1991 film, Dutch. The film was about a working-class man who volunteered to pick up his girlfriend’s teenage son from his school to his mom’s house, with the aim of getting to know him. However, some mishaps occurred along the way, but later they became close.

A Plot Twist?

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The film was shown twice on the sitcom Married With Children in a bid to promote it. The first time was when Al was on an airplane and another when Al and Peggy rented a movie to watch together at home.

Many Emmy Nominations

The sitcom was nominated for an Emmy award seven times. However, despite the show’s success, and the fact that it was one of the longest shows, they were unable to bag any award to Jeopardy Lane!

Many Emmy Nominations

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It is difficult to understand why the sitcom didn’t win any Emmy award because a lot of people loved the show and it was quite popular. Could it then have been as a result of the controversies? We’ll probably never be sure.

An Episode Was Banned

In 1989, Fox refused to broadcast one episode of season three titled “I’ll See You in Court,” because it had suggestive content. Then, Terry Rakolta a Michigan housewife, who was related to Mitt Romney’s sister, was attacking the show. Rakolta even went as far as paying for ads to tell people not to support the show.

An Episode Was Banned

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However, the producers fought back. They made some alterations to the episode, and the episode was finally released in 2002 on Fox. In case you were wondering, the episode featured Al Bundy staring at a model.

The Fake Dodge

The show had some strange objects that did not seem real. One of such is the Bundy family car – ‘mighty Dodge.’ The ‘mighty Dodge’ was not really a Dodge.

The Fake Dodge

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Although the two cars were manufactured by the same company, the car was actually a vinyl top, 1972 Plymouth Duster. On the show, Al constantly called it a Dodge. Again, we wonder if it was done purposely or an honest mistake.

Ed O’Neil’s Real-Life Muse

Even the most talented actors sometimes need inspiration. With inspiration, they are able to play their roles as convincingly as possible. To create a character and own it, the most comfortable place to find inspiration is within your family or close pals.

Ed O’Neil’s Real-Life Muse

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That was what Ed O’Neill did to prepare for his role as Al Bundy. He got inspiration from his own family – his Uncle Joe, who had a very similar character to Al Bundy. This close family tie helped him understand the role and play it naturally and effortlessly.

Budrick Was Bud’s Real Name

Now, it isn’t a surprise anymore how bad the writers of the show are at choosing the names of the characters—for instance, Peggy’s maiden name! Although, we could cut them some slack as Peggy’s maiden name was not an offensive word back then.

Budrick Was Bud’s Real Name

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Though it wasn’t mentioned throughout the show, Bud’s full name was actually Budrick Franklin Bundy. Today, Budrick is a nickname for boys that have terrible luck with girls. By the way, do you remember Bud’s nickname?

No, Ma’am!

Al and buddies had a group aptly called “No Ma’am,” which stood for National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood. If the name hasn’t given it away, it was an anti-feminist organization. They formed the organization to stop feminist domination.

No, Ma’am!

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Though hilarious at the time, Al’s anti-feminism would have definitely stirred many controversies if the show were aired today. These days, a lot of people are clamoring for gender equality and being more sensitive to movements like Al’s fictional organization

Peggy and Her Obsession With The Oprah Winfrey Show

Al and Peggy were great fans of the idiot box, but Peggy’s love for Psycho Mom and The Oprah Winfrey Show was greater. Oprah’s name popped up many times during the couple’s conversations. Without any doubt, Oprah is a vital part of their relationship

Peggy and Her Obsession With The Oprah Winfrey Show

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In the series, the character Peggy is a typical housewife who loves The Oprah Winfrey Show. Peggy, in one of the episodes, had to work part-time so she could buy a VCR to tape Oprah. In the end, she quitted and returned back to being a lazy housewife. (This isn’t to say all housewives are lazy, but Peggy was)

Bud always Loved Rap

Bud Bundy always had dreams to become a rapper. For a fact, David Faustino played the role of Bud Bundy and somehow imbibed the wishes of his character and became a rapper himself! To be candid, Faustino probably had similar dreams as Bud and ended up pursuing both his and Bud’s dreams.

Bud always Loved Rap

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His rapper name was D’ Lil, and he was very popular in the hip-hop world. Faustino launched his first album Balistyx in 1992, before going on to have a successful music career. His story is a perfect example of “dreams really come true.”

The Show Went Global

Popular television shows always pave the way for other states or country to follow suit. The shows might not be exactly the same, but the storyline and characters are usually similar. Local versions had the same concept, but it was done in line with their culture.

The Show Went Global

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Primarily due to its widespread success, Married With Children was a television show that gave birth to local versions in other countries. An example is Married for life- A British version of the show, which came into airplay in 1996 but ended unexpectedly 7 weeks after it was aired.

How “The Body” was Formed

This is about the show’s character names, and we are quite sure this will surprise you. One of Al’s colleagues in season 1 was named Luke Ventura, but this wasn’t random. It was partly because the writers of the show were great fans of Jesse Ventura, aka “The body.”

How “The Body” was Formed

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Jesse Ventura was popularly known as a professional wrestler back then. His real name was James George Janos. Wrestling was not only his profession. He was also a politician who served as the 38th Governor of Minnesota, from 1999 to 2003.

A Whole New Peggy

Katey Sagal’s character, Peggy Bundy, was initially meant for Roseanne Barr’s, a famous comedian and television producer. Barr was the perfect match for the wild character of Peggy because of her experience as a stand-up comedian. However, Sagal surprised the producers and was given the role.

A Whole New Peggy

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Katey’s success in the acting industry was largely as a result of her father’s experience and exposure in show business. She did not disappoint the producers because no one could imagine anyone else but Sagal act as Peggy.

Al and His Moments

One of the most unforgettable scenes in the show has to be Al sitting on the couch and watching TV. It was his character’s trademark position. His favorite hobby was watching the TV, and his favorite TV show was Psycho Dad Just like Peggy’Psycho Mum.

Al and His Moments

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Both TV shows were passed as an essential message to the audience. Al’s character was quite exaggerated, but it is typical of the guys in many households. Most guys, who are fathers and husbands, do nothing at home. They just sit on the couch watching television, without paying attention to the drama going on around them.

A Different Al Bundy

Ed O’Neill perfectly fits playing the character of Al Bundy. There was nobody we could have imagined to play the role of Al other than O’Neill. However, protocols had to be followed as some actors were compared before a decision was made.

A Different Al Bundy

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The producers also had another actor in mind for the role of Al. Guess who? …Comedian Sam Kinison. He was first offered the role of Al first, but due to his drug issues along with his death in 1992, the producers changed to Ed O’Neill.

Al Never Knew Gary was A Woman?!

If you are a fan of the show, you would know Al worked as a salesman in a shoe shop named “Gary’s Shoes and Accessories for Today’s Woman.” It’s quite funny that for the long period he worked there, he had no idea that Gary was actually a woman!

Al Never Knew Gary was A Woman?!

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It was hilarious at the very moment Al first found out that Gary was a female. It was even funnier with the fact that Al had been working there for so long and he never knew about it.

James Bond Loved the Show

I believe you know who James Bond is. Which definitely means that you know Sir Roger Moore? He is a British actor famous for the role of the sexy secret agent. He was a big fan of Married With Children. It is just beautiful to have a star who is such a huge fan.

James Bond Loved the Show

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Moore is a perfect friend to the father of Katey Sagal, who was known for her role of Peggy Bundy. The 1976 movie, Sherlock Holmes in New York, made Moore and Sagal close as Moore was in the production and Sagal- the director.

Frank Sinatra Sang the Theme Song

It is not a regular occurrence to have a sitcom theme song sung by a famous singer. This isn’t the case here as the beautiful voice behind the theme song for Married with Children is that of Frank Sinatra’s, a musical legend.

Frank Sinatra Sang the Theme Song

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The title of the sitcom’s theme song was “Love and Marriage.” It was originally sung in 1955, for a TV production called Our Town. It became a theme song for Married With Children in 1987.

Al Bundy’s Neighbor Exits the Show

There is a famous saying that says 10 friends cannot remain as friends for 10 years. Some will leave while some will stay. An example of an actor that left Married With Children was David Garrison, Bundy’s neighbor on the show. He retired after the fourth season, to pursue another career path.

Al Bundy’s Neighbor Exits the Show

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Garrison had a very successful career in theater. He featured in Titanic, Wicked, I Do! I Do!, and Torch Song Trilogy. He later returned as a guest actor in the last episodes of the show, not as his old neighbor character but as different characters in each appearance!

Divine Didn’t Make the show

Another iconic character of the sitcom Married With Children was Uncle Otto. His role was initially given to Harris Glenn Milstead, aka “Divine,” who was popularly known as a drag queen. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the show as he died of a heart attack before the filming had started.

Divine Didn’t Make the show

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Divine suffered from obesity and an enlarged heart. It was an unfortunate event in the history of Married With Children. Milstead wasn’t able to show the world his acting talents as he couldn’t attend the first ever shoot of the sitcom.

A Spin-Off Is On its way!

You must have heard of the spin-off rumors? There were talks about having a spin-off from Bud Bundy in 2014. Though it has been postponed, the plans have not been terminated. Netflix has shown great interest and will pick up the show once production starts.

A Spin-Off Is On its way!

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It even gets better as all the original cast members have agreed to co-star the show. It’s awesome, and this means we should expect each of them to make an appearance. Trust this is mind-blowing for Bud’s fans, patience is all that remains.

Call Me Bob Rooney

Here’s another odd idea from the minds of the Married With Children writers: they insisted the cast had to refer to Bob Rooney with his full name, like all the time! Nobody ever just called him “Bob” or “Rooney,” but always “Bob Rooney.” Surely there must be something significant about this?

Call Me Bob Rooney

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Thankfully, this character wasn’t named after E.E Bell, one of the actors who played a No Ma’am club member. He has one of those names that’s a mouthful to pronounce. There definitely would’ve been a whole lot more takes necessary to get that one right every time it came up.

Did Anyone Notice it?

At the opening of the show, some random clips were inserted between other clips as a great way to put viewers in the right mood before the show began. For those were observant, a clip from the movie vacation was included in the opening sequence of the show.

Did Anyone Notice it?

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It was a clip was from the Griswold family’s first vacation as they drove to Vegas carrying lots of luggage on the car. It was a very hilarious opening and set the tone of the movie despite not being an original shoot.

First Impression Really Matters a Lot

Just like people say, the first impression lasts, and Ed O’Neill is a living testimony. He was able to get the role of Al Bundy through his first impression. O’Neill was present in a stage production as Lenny in Of Mice & Men, and a Fox executive who remembered how great he performed considered him ahead of others for the role.

First Impression Really Matters a Lot

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Actor Ed O’Neill was popularly known today for featuring as Al Bundy on Married with Children. He was able to win the role just because of the way he showed up at the audition. The judges said he was so natural.

Changed from “Not The Cosbys”

The show was initially titled Not The Cosbys. They worked with this title during pre-production, but 3 producers were not convinced, because the Bundys were anti-Cosby! The Bundys were entirely different from the Cosbys, and it would not be cool to call a show that when they had such a distinct contrast.

Changed from “Not The Cosbys”

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Married With Children was a ground-breaking TV show at that time because it represented an imperfect family which is very common today. A frustrated husband, who isn’t happy with his life because his wife is lazy, his daughter is a flirt and an incompetent son.

Quite the Opposite In Real Life

Ed O’Neill personality is quite different from the lazy character he portrayed in the show. Ed was known to be very active and highly professional in his dealings. Among members of the cast, he was the one who featured in all 260 episodes of the show.

Quite the Opposite In Real Life

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That’s why he decided to take a break before he agreed to a role in Modern Family. O’Neill in the series might be a frustrated man with no career ambition, but in real life, he is the total opposite.

What Do You Mean The Show Is Canceled?!

Married With Children was at its all-time high when they had viewers of up to 15 million each week. People expected a continued rise, but that was not to be. From that moment, the numbers started dropping till it got as low as 9 million per week in 1997. They had poor ratings as well, and this led to the cancellation of the show.

What Do You Mean The Show Is Canceled?!

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Members of the cast were heartbroken. They were even pained the more as they had to find out the heartbreaking news on their own. Ed O’Neill overheard it from a couple while on vacation. Christina Applegate was informed by her best friends.

Ed Calls Fans on Their Special Day

When the sitcom became very popular, Ed O’Neill would attend to his fans and fulfill their requests of birthday and holiday phone calls. He made it a point of duty to call a great number the sitcom’s fans on their birthday during his free time on the set.

Ed Calls Fans on Their Special Day

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This lovely gesture made him adored by the fans. He was either pictured as the caring actor, Ed (in real life), or the favorite dad in the sitcom. No matter the way he was viewed, his fans always loved him.

Special Guest Stars You Might Not Notice

In case you missed this, this is to bring to your notice that family members of the cast made some guest appearances on the show. An example is Catherine Rusoff, wife of Ed O’Neill’s, who had 2 guest appearances. Joey Sagal, brother to Katey, and Christina’s mother, Nancy Priddy, also made a couple of appearances.

Special Guest Stars You Might Not Notice

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The funniest guest appearances were the 2 former girlfriends of David Faustino, Elaine Hendrix, and Julia Teblak. They appeared in different episodes. Faustino’s character on the show had no luck with women, but his exes have shown that it was actually quite the opposite in real life.

Ed’s Hollywood Walk of Fame

After some impressive performances to the film and television world, Ed O’Neill was finally rewarded with a star on the walk of fame. He was rewarded in a uniquely different way as it was placed just in front of a local shoe store chain, as a way to honor his character Al and his job as a salesman.

Ed’s Hollywood Walk of Fame

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On the day he received this Hollywood honor, his fans came with their favorite pair of shoes all for an autograph from Ed O’Neill.

Buck, The Family Dog

The fans of this sitcom would definitely remember the cutest member of the cast. Buck, the dog, started winning hearts right from the first day on setting up on till the last season. Buck was notorious for insulting his human owners in his special ways. His huge greedy sexual appetite was always a cause for concern.

Buck, The Family Dog

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The Bundy family had no regards for him because they viewed him as a “stupid” dog. Despite this, Buck has shown that he can be wise at-times in some of the episodes. He was given a retirement party on his last day of filming. Cute… isn’t it? Buck died on May 25, 1996, from natural causes.