Since the television was invented and popularized, something that has been a constant with the entertainment medium is sitcoms. As television shows are made to entertain people it is only fair that many of the most enjoyable shows make audiences laugh. One sitcom from the late 80s and 90s that stands out is Married… with Children.
The show was one of the first to show a typical American family and it strayed far away from the idyllic life portrayed in shows like Leave It to Beaver and The Brady Bunch. The show first came on the air in 1987 and it was clearly popular as it lasted for eleven seasons until 1997.
To this day it still holds the record for being Fox’s longest running sitcom. This was a great start for the network, which was only founded a year before the show began. The show is still considered a classic and resonates with families across the country.
One of the reasons why the show gained so much success was due to the talented actors. Although the writing and plot lines were hilarious, it would not have been the same without the comedic genius of the cast members. For many of them, the show was what made them famous in Hollywood. That is why we thought it would be a great idea to take a look back at our favorite characters from the show and discover what they looked like before they made it onto our televisions.
The main characters on the show were played by David Faustino, Christina Applegate, Katey Sagal and Ed O’Neill. All of their talents combined made for side splitting laughter but they were not the only ones that kept us entertained. People like Matt
LeBlanc of Friends fame and Pamela Anderson appeared as young actors on the show. For many actors who are famous today, Married…with Children was their big break. We often forget that these celebrities had lives before the glitz and glamour of show business and that they were average people that we knew nothing about.
Successful people are often remembered for what they did and not for the work that they put in to achieve their accomplishments. This is why we are taking the opportunity to see what the stars of Married…with Children were like before they made it big. It might surprise you to discover that celebrities are no different than the rest of us.
Ed O’Neill as Al Bundy
Today Ed O’Neill is best known for his role as Jay Pritchett on Modern Family. Before he was Sofia Vergara’s television husband, he was Katey Sagal’s man as Al Bundy. The character Al was portrayed as a typical, working-class everyman type who got frustrated by his wife and children. The patriarch of the Bundy family was a woman’s shoe salesman who often fantasized about his high school football days who really does care about his family even though he would never say it.
Ed O’Neill in school
Much like the character Al, O’Neill also played football in high school. In fact, he was a real life football star while he attended Ursuline High School in Ohio. O’Neill continued to play football after transferring to Worthington High School and he even won a championship with his team. His football career continued in college as he received a scholarship to Ohio University for the sport. O’Neill also became an NFL player as he was signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers but unfortunately he was cut while in training. Thankfully, his acting career was successful.
Katey Sagal as Peggy Bundy
Before Katey Sagal played the mom on 8 Simple Rules and voiced the character of Leela on Futurama, she played Al’s wife on Married…with Children. Peggy was the opposite of a devoted housewife, she was self-indulgent, argumentative and preferred shopping to doing domestic duties. But overall, she was a caring mother who sometimes taught her teenage daughter inappropriate things and she was always loyal to her husband even if she complained about him.
Katey Sagal in school
Katey was born for stardom as her father was a director and her mother was a producer, screenwriter and singer. She grew up along with her four siblings in Los Angeles on the same street as the legendary Judy Garland. While she was growing up, Katey and her family were close to Garland so it is no wonder that Katey decided to pursue a career in the arts and attend the California Institute of the Arts after graduating high school.
David Faustino as Bud Bundy
Bud is Peggy and Al’s youngest child and their only son. He is the smartest of the Bundy’s and the first family member that gets into college. He becomes a Dean’s list student at Trumaine University after obtaining all A’s in high school. Although school comes easy to him, finding a girlfriend does not. Bud is almost always unsuccessful when it comes to women and he often gets bullied in school because of his intelligence and sarcasm.
David Faustino in school
Much like Katey Sagal, Faustino was born to be an actor as he was raised in Los Angeles. Faustino began his acting career as a child when he appeared as a baby on the Lily Tomlin Special. When he was just 6 years-old, he started getting regular acting jobs on shows such as The Love Boat, Family Ties and Little House on the Prairie. His career took a turn for the better when he won the role of Bud when he was only 13.
Pamela Anderson as Cashew and Yvette
While almost everyone on Earth knows who Pamela Anderson is today, 20 years ago she was just another beautiful aspiring actress. A year before she landed her famous role on Baywatch, she played two different roles on Married…with Children. She appears as a girl in two of Al’s fantasies along with many other gorgeous women. When she played the role of Yvette, she referred to Al as Al “Hercules” Bundy.
Pamela Anderson in school
While Pamela Anderson is now accustomed to the glitz and glamor of a celebrity lifestyle, she had more humble beginnings. Anderson was born in a small town in British Columbia, Canada and her mother was a waitress and her father a repairman. She went to Highland Secondary School and was on the volleyball team. Upon graduating, she moved to Vancouver where she became a fitness coach until she was scouted to be a model.
Amanda Bearse as Marcy D’Arcy
Amanda Bearse played the Bundy’s neighbor, Marcy D’Arcy. Although there are many similarities between Marcy and the Bundys, she considers herself to be better than the family and she often fights with Al, much like Peggy does. Marcy first works as a loan officer and eventually becomes a bank manager. When she isn’t working she is leading a feminist group that demands equal rights to men although she is frequently portrayed as looking down on men.
Amanda Bearse in school
Although she was never a bank manager like her character, Bearse did take her education seriously. She was a high school student at Winter Park High School in Atlanta, Georgia where she grew up. After graduating, she attended a couple colleges before eventually transferring to Young Harris College where she earned her Associates of arts degree. Her degree came into good use as she went on to study acting at a playhouse in New York City and soon after that, she got her first television role in the long-running soap opera, All My Children.
Ted McGinley as Jefferson D’Arcy
Jefferson D’Arcy is Marcy’s second husband and Al’s best friend. Over the time that Jefferson appears on the show, it becomes more clear that he married Marcy due to her wealth and he is known for being self-absorbed and a “pretty boy.” The two got married the same night that they met, however, the end up staying married. Marcy hates that Jefferson is friends with Al who she believes is a misogynist but Jefferson uses his friendship with Al to talk negatively about Marcy.
Ted McGinley in school
Another California native, McGinley grew up in Newport Beach and surfed regularly as a child. He really loved the water and even worked as a lifeguard while in high school. After he graduated, he went on to attend the University of Southern California and he became an avid polo player and eventually became captain of the team. While still in college, McGinley began to model, which led him to his acting career. His first major role was on the show Happy Days.
Jennifer Lyons as Ariel
Jennifer Lyons made a memorable three episode appearance as Ariel in the tenth and eleventh seasons of the show. Ariel was Bud’s crush who was known for being a ditz, her very revealing outfits and her high pitched voice. Bud wasn’t the only one who liked Ariel. Al liked her too as they shared a common hatred toward Marcy. Jennifer Lyons went onto play a number of small roles on television such as Kelso’s date on That ‘70s Show.
Jennifer Lyons in school
Born in Pasadena, Jennifer is another Married…with Children actress to come from a family of entertainers. In fact, there are generations of performers in the Lyons family as her grandparents were vaudeville performers and her father was a guitarist. In addition, her uncle, James Best, was a movie star who starred in The Dukes of Hazzard. As a young girl, Jennifer studied ballet but once she got to college, she shifted her focus toward musical theatre.
Harold Sylvester as Griff
Griff is another of Al’s close friends in addition to being his coworker at the show store. Al and Griff are similar in many ways as they are both obsessed with women and have similar work ethics, however, Griff does not make his opinions known as loudly as Al. Griff is a member of the anti-feminist organization founded by Al and his friends but he is more reluctant about the group than the other guys.
Harold Sylvester in school
Harold was not raised in California like his fellow actors but rather in the great city of New Orleans. He attended St. Augustine High School where he was a talented athlete and basketball player. Sylvester made American history when he became the first African American athlete to get a scholarship to Tulane University. Sylvester also to accepted to Harvard but he chose to play for Tulane instead and he was known as one of the best players on the team.
Denise Richards as girl number 2
Although Denise Richards’ character on Married…with Children did not receive the honor of a real name, it doesn’t matter for Richards who went onto have a successful career after the show. Before she was famous, she was a 20 year-old aspiring actress who ironically appeared in the episode where Kelly goes to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. While she didn’t get a big part, the role gave her exposure and added to her rise in fame.
Denise Richards in school
Growing up, Denise Richards live in a small town in Illinois before she moved to Oceanside, California. In 1989, she got her high school degree from El Camino High School and during her high school years, she was known for being the only girl on the baseball team. Richards did not waste any time after she graduated and she immediately began her modeling career. She quickly became a sought after actress and she was doing commercial shoots in Tokyo and New York.
Jerry Hall as Terry Cherry
Jerry Hall was quite the looker in her day and she was married to one of the most eligible bachelors in the world, Mick Jagger. Hall had a career as an actress and model, which lead her to play the role of Terry Sherry in one episode of Married…with Children. Hall’s character Terry appears in the first season where she tries to get Al’s attention after he gets into a fight with Peggy. Thankfully, Al remains loyal to Peggy.
Jerry Hall in school
Nowadays, Jerry Hall is married to billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch but before this occurred or her marriage to Mick Jagger, Hall was an average girl growing up in Mesquite, Texas. Her father was a truck driver, her mother was a librarian and she lived with them and her 4 sisters. Upon graduating high school, Jerry made a big move from Texas to France where she was discovered by an agent while in a hostel. From there the rest is history. Her modeling career began and she was introduced to Mick Jagger.
Traci Lords as Vanessa Van Pelt and T.C.
Before she became an adult film star, Traci Lords made two appearances on Married… with Children. In the fourth season of the show she portrayed a dental office assistant at Al’s dentist and she returned again in the 6th season who confuses Al with a private investigator after he applied to be a cleaner at an investigator’s office. Besides her acting appearances, Lords was best known for being an underaged adult film star and for appearing on the pages of Penthouse magazine.
Traci Lords in school
Unfortunately, Traci (who was born as Nora Kuzma) did not have a typical childhood and she had to struggle for much of her life. Her parents were divorced and her father had a drinking problem so she and her sisters moved from Ohio to California. There she attended Redondo Union High School but instead of focusing on school, she focused on her adult entertainment career. She was just 15 when she began appearing in provocative films, which later led to controversy for the film company.
Dot-Marie Jones as Dot
If you recognize this name it is because Dot-Marie Jones appeared as the transgender character, Shannon Beiste on the hit Fox show, Glee. Before that breakout role, Dot appeared in the ninth and tenth seasons of Married…with Children as a tough woman. She played the role of Lola in one episode but then switched to play the role of Dot for 4 episodes. This role showed off Jones’ comedic acting abilities and it was one of the first roles for the former bodybuilder.
Dot-Marie Jones in school
Dot-Marie Jones is yet another California native to make our list as she attended Hilmar High School in Hilmar, California. Jones was a very athletic student who was a member of the track team and the basketball team. In addition, Jones was a very successful weightlifter and earned the title of female athlete of the year at her school. Her weightlifting ultimately led to her career in show business and she appeared on television in Knights and Warriors.
Eva LaRue as Carrie
Carrie was a small part as she was a background girl in a rock music video that Kelly was also hired for. This was a guest appearance for Eva LaRue who was already a well-known soap opera star at the time. She was in show Santa Barbara and a few years after her appearance on Married…with Children, she landed her long-running role on another soap opera All My Children.
Eva LaRue in school
Eva LaRue was born and raised in California (we’re detecting a theme here) and from a very young age, she knew that she wanted to be a performer. During her adolescence, LaRue studied ballet intensely as well as competing in beauty pageants. Before becoming an actress, LaRue was certain that she would be a ballerina but after graduating from Norco High School, she began modeling, which led to her current career in acting.
Joey Lauren Adams as Mona Mullins
Joey Lauren Adams did not only appear as Mona Mullins on Married…with Children, she also played two other characters. Her first role was as Mona who was a girl in the neighborhood who was in love with Vinnie, Kelly’s boyfriend. In the season after, Adams appeared as Effie and the season following she played the role of Janie. Maybe the writers liked having Adams around on set because they kept writing characters for her.
Joey Lauren Adams in school
Adams grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas where she went to North Little Rock Northeast. After graduating in 1986, she announced to her family that she wanted to become an actress and she accomplished her goal shortly after when she landed multiple roles on Married…with Children. After the show ended, Adams was cast in the spin-off show about Vinnie (played by a young Matt LeBlanc). Although that show was cancelled, it did help launch her acting career.
Tia Carrere as Piper Bauman
Piper Bauman was Kelly Bundy’s arch nemesis when the two were competing for the chance to be a spokesmodel for a luxury car company. Kelly takes the competition very seriously and she even goes so far as to beat up Piper. Piper insults Kelly and Kelly is not having it so she physically beats Piper up and wins the role at the spokesmodel. When Tia Carrere appeared on the show, she was already a well-known fashion model.
Tia Carrere in school
Tia Carrere grew up in the beauty city of Honolulu, Hawaii where she studied at Sacred Hearts Academy. Much like the other actors to appear on this list, Tia knew she wanted to perform from a young age and she even competed in the television show, Star Search in 1985. Carrere was just 17 at the time and she was eliminated soon after the competition started, however, she did get noticed by a producer while she was out shopping.
Vanna White as Coco
Before Vanna White got her current job turning letters around on the long-running game show Wheel of Fortune, she guest starred as Coco who also goes by the name Helen Granowinner. Coco went to school with Peggy and Al but she was a year behind them. After Al sees her on a commercial, he starts remembering all of the good times they had together and shortly after, Coco shows up at the shoe store and professes her love for Al.
Vanna White in school
Vanna White grew up in Myrtle Beach and she was raised by her mother and step-father after her parents divorced when she was just an infant. In high school, Vanna was a cheerleader and after realizing she wanted to be an entertainer in high school, she made the hopeful move to Los Angeles. Her risk of moving to LA worked out well for her because she found her job that she has had for more than two decades when she was just 26.
David Boreanaz as Frank
David Boreanaz is now best known for his role as Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer but before that, he played the role of Kelly’s boyfriend Frank who liked to ride his motorcycle. One evening, he crashes his motorcycle in the D’Arcy’s doorway while he is on his way to take Kelly home. Kelly cancels the next date she is supposed to have with Frank to go with her family to the movies. There she finds Frank on a date with someone else.
David Boreanaz in school
Before moving to Philadelphia at the age of 7, he lived in Buffalo but when his father got a job at as weatherman in Philly, the family moved states. There he graduated from Malvern Preparatory School but not before becoming a talented athlete and a star on the football team. Unfortunately, during his last year of school he had a career ending knee injury and he went on to attend Ithaca College. Two years after graduating, he got his first role in show business.
Fergie as Ann
Although Fergie is now known for her music and her membership of The Black Eyed Peas, she was once and actress and voice actor. A young Fergie appears in a brief role on Married…with Children as Ann who cuts Bud in line while he is waiting for concert tickets. Ann manipulates her way into getting concert tickets by asking Bud is she and her girlfriends can stand next to him in line. After a group of guys cut in front of Bud, he realizes that Ann was hired by them and tricked him.
Fergie in school
Fergie was destined for stardom as she was born in raised in California where she went to Glen A. High school. In addition to being a cheerleader, a spelling bee winner and a proficient student she also danced and did voiceover work for the Peanuts cartoons where she played Sally. Fergie’s many talents did not go to waste and she got her first acting job in 1984 for the show Incorporated.
Keri Russell as April Adams
April Adams was a girl in Bud’s class who also interned at Marcy’s bank. Ever the hopeful ladies man, Bud pursued April but he has to fight for her with the school’s basketball star, Nikolai Pushkin. The role of April Adams was one of Keri’s first roles as she was just starting out as an actress at the time. She went on to star as Felicity in the show of the same name.
Keri Russell in school
We are noticing a pattern that a lot of people who become actors are born in California. Keri Russell falls into this category although she did live in other states too including Colorado and Arizona. Russell graduated from a Colorado high school, Highlands Ranch but while she was still in school, she appeared on the Mickey Mouse Club with other famous child actors such as Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. Russell was 15 at the time and after high school, she continued to pursue her acting career
Matt LeBlanc as Vinnie Verducci
That’s right. Matt LeBlanc did not always play the role of Joey Tribbiani on Friends. Before landing that breakout role, LeBlanc starred as Kelly’s ditzy boyfriend, Vinnie Verducci in the fifth and sixth seasons of Married…with Children. The character of Vinnie was so popular that he got his own spin-off show called Vinnie & Bobby. That show did not last but not to worry as LeBlanc landed the role of Joey a few years after.
Matt LeBlanc in school
Raised by a mechanic and an office manager in Massachusetts, Matt LeBlanc had no idea of how successful he would become later in life. He graduated alongside Louis C.K. from Newton North High School in 1985 and moved to Florida to become a model. After a brief time in Florida, he went to New York, took acting classes and ended up getting a few roles on television including the role of Vinnie on Married…with Children. When LeBlanc was 27, he got his big break on the sitcom Friends.
Tiffani Thiessen as Heather McCoy
Tiffani Thiessen was already playing her breakout role on Saved By the Bell when she got a guest spot on Married…with Children. She played another of Bud’s love interests, Heather McCoy who embarrasses Bud in public. Heather steals Bud’s clothes and hugs them up on the school flagpole which prompts Bud to take revenge on her. However, his plan backfires and he is once again humiliated by Heather.
Tiffani Thiessen in school
Tiffani was born in Long Beach, California and she was raised there and was sent to Valley Professional High School. Tiffani was a great student as she graduated as her class’ valedictorian but she also pursued her career while still in school. Throughout her education, Tiffani was competing in beauty pageants including the Miss Junior America pageant, which she won in 1987. Her beauty pageant career led to her success as an actress and model and to her role on Saved by the Bell.
Ben Stein as Thomas
Bueller? Bueller? If you recognize this monotone voiced man it is because he played the economics teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In the tenth season of Married…with Children, Ben Stein played a man in heaven dressed up like a chicken who greeted the Bundy’s dog, Buck after he passed away. Buck gets the opportunity to be reincarnated but to his surprised he is reincarnated as the Bundy’s new pet, Lucky the dog.
Ben Stein in school
Ben Stein is a multi-talented lawyer, political commentator and sometimes actor. He grew up in Maryland and went to Montgomery Blair High from which he graduated in 1962. Stein was a model students and he went on to graduate with honors from Columbia College. He was then accepted to Yale Law School where he graduated from in 1970. After becoming a well-known lawyer and writer, he made his introduction into acting and has played roles in many notable films.
Jane Lynch as Greta
Another Glee alumnus to make out list is Jane Lynch who is best known for her role as the sinister Sue Sylvester. Before landing the role of Sue, Lynch made a very brief appearance on Married…with Children where she portrayed Greta, a wealthy woman staying at the same hotel where Bud was taking his date for Valentine’s Day. Even though the part was small, Jane showed off her perfect comedic timing and her acting abilities.
Jane Lynch in school
Jane Lynch was raised in a small town in Illinois where she was a student at Thornridge High School. Lynch knew from a young age that she was interested in acting as she was a cast member in nearly all of her school’s productions. In addition to her involvement in the theater, Jane was also a high school athlete who was on the baseball team. She pursued a degree in theater from Illinois State and then went onto get a masters at Cornell University.
Milla Jovovich as Yvette
Milla Jovovich was just 14 years-old when she landed a spot on Married…with Children was on the air. She got a guest role on the show in the fourth season when she played Yvette, a exchange student from France who was staying with the Bundys. The Bundys hosted Yvette to get a monthly payment and they housed her in their cold and dirty garage. Al and Bud love having her around but Kelly despises her as she becomes more popular at school.
Milla Jovovich in school
The only not naturally born American to make out list, Milla Jovovich was born in Moscow, Russia where she live with her family until she was 5. The family move to Los Angeles where Milla began attending public school. Unfortunately, Milla faced a lot of bullying in school and she was often teased by her classmates for being Russian. It looks like Milla got the last laugh as she got her first acting job when she was just 12 years-old.
Christina Applegate as Kelly Bundy
Kelly Bundy was the eldest Bundy child and the only daughter. While she wasn’t known for being intelligent like her younger brother, Kelly was known for having good looks and always having a boyfriend. She was constantly embarrassed by her odd family and she worked hard to become one of the most popular girls at school. Over her time in school, it is revealed that Kelly is actually smart and is good at physics and math.
Christina Applegate in school
As with many other actors to make this list, Christina Applegate was born and raised in Hollywood and her family was already in the entertainment industry. Her mother was an actress and singer and her father was a record producer. Christina began her acting career and the age of 7 when she appeared alongside her mother on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, which did not leave time for her to attend a normal high school or be an average kid.