This a great short interview with Ed on how he got the role of Al. Ed started with many jobs: steelworker, bartender, used car salesman etc. He studied arts (especially theater) and history at Ohio University College for two years, but then he changed to Youngstown State University College. Although he liked the stage, O’Neill initially preferred playing football for both Ohio University and Youngstown State University and was tried out in 1969 by the Pittsburgh Steelers (Pittsburgh is close to Ed’s hometown Youngstown). However, he wasn’t chosen to join the team.
After this disappointing experience, he tried to get the part of McMurphy in “One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at a Youngstown theater. When he failed he went to Fort Lauderdale for six months. Back in Youngstown, he took part in an audition again. This time, the theater was looking or people for “Rainmaker”. Ed made a parody on Burt Lancaster and was rewarded with the part of a Greek guard in “Antigone”.
His first big movie part was in “Cruising” with Al Pacino who is still a friend of his. One day, Ed played Lennie in “Of Mice and Men” in Hartford, Connecticut. A Fox executive was in the audience and asked him if he wanted to audit for in the first Fox sitcom Married… with Children. He knew that he wanted the part of Al Bundy when his wife started to laugh reading the first page of the pilot script. Since Married… with Children’s first episode in 1987, he is the irreplaceable leading actor of this sitcom.