Ed O'Neill of the ABC comedy series "Modern Family" received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday, August 30 in a location that appears to pay tribute to his former television character, Al Bundy, while his real-life wife said he initially did not want such an honor.
The 65-year-old actor's star is located at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard in front of a DSW shoe store. O'Neill played Bundy, a misanthropic, misogynistic shoe salesman and the patriarch of a dysfunctional family, on all seasons of the FOX comedy series "Married With Children," which aired between 1987 and 1997.
O'Neill appeared at a ceremony marking its unveiling and was joined by his wife, Cathy, their two daughters, Sofia, 12 and Claire, 5. Cast members from his television shows also attended and actresses who have played his on-screen wives, Katey Sagal and Sofia Vergara, gave speeches praising the actor.
"When the subject came up about getting a star, he said no, he didn't want to, it's like cheesy or something," O'Neill's real-life wife told OnTheRedCarpet.com, adding that the pair's oldest daughter had told the actor, 'You'd better do it, Daddy. Come on, are you crazy?"
"He doesn't really get enough publicity," Sofia added.
Sagal, who portrayed Bundy's red-headed, bon bon-loving spouse Peg on "Married With Children," and Vergara, who plays the bombshell wife of the actor's current character, Jay Pritchett, on "Modern Family" spoke at O'Neill's star ceremony.
"When I was in Colombia and I was a young, very beautiful girl, I would watch 'Married With Children' and I would see Ed sitting with his hands in the pants and talking with this very sexy Antonio Banderas accent because in Colombia, it was dubbed into Spanish," Vergara told the crowd. "To marry Al Bundy has been one of the most joyful things in my whole life."
Sagal, who currently stars on the FX show "Sons of Anarchy," said she and O'Neill have remained friends for years.
"I was just talking to Sofia - I asked her this question - 'Does he tell you what he eats for lunch?'" Sagal said. "Ed likes to talk about food. I spent 11 years laughing hysterically every day. I just always thought he was the funniest guy on television. I'm just so honored to be here. I love you, Ed."
O'Neil's other "Modern Family" co-stars - Rico Rodriguez, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet and series co-creator Steven Levitan also attended the actor's star ceremony.
"This is a bit overwhelming. It's nice to be here. I want to thank the fans, first of all, for showing up," O'Neill said, before joking: "I can't help but thinking right now ... somewhere in the world, at this moment, in a hospital, a beautiful little baby girl is being born and when she grows up, she's going to be my next wife on TV and I'm looking forward to that day."
O'Neill's performance on "Modern Family" during its previous second season earned him his first Emmy nomination earlier this year. O'Neill received two Golden Globe nods for his role on "Married With Children," which featured the 1955 Frank Sinatra tune "Love and Marriage" as its theme song. The show also David Faustino and Christina Applegate as his loser son and promiscuous daughter.
When asked if he would watch O'Neill receive his Hollywood star, Faustino Tweeted: "I'm getting my car washed. Congrats Ed!"
O'Neill, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, attended Ohio University in Athens and Youngstown State University. He pursued a career in professional football and was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late 1960s but was cut in training camp. He also worked as a social studies teacher before he became an actor.
He scored his first big acting break in the early 1980s with a guest part on the sitcom "Another World." More minor television roles followed until he landed the part of Bundy on "Married With Children."
His character is a high school football champion who often recalls his glory days as he complains frequently about life - namely, his family and the female customers who frequent the mall shoe store where he works.
Bundy found happiness as well - he enjoyed being in the company of scantily clad women, episodes of his favorite show - the fictional "Psycho Dad," interacting with fellow members of his misogynistic movement "No Ma'am" and telling his female neighbor, his nemesis Marcy, that she looks like a chicken.
O'Neill said at his star ceremony that he was cast in "Married With Children" by a man who saw him act in a revival of the John Steinbeck play "Of Mice and Men" in Connecticut years earlier, adding: "I was a dramatic actor from New York that nobody had ever heard of."
In 1986, O'Neill married Cathy Rusoff, who later had small parts on "Married With Children." At his star ceremony, the actor recalled how the two met in 1980.
"I was doing a Broadway show," he said. "She knew the playwright. I was in the play. We had a couple of drinks. We went out, we fell in love. We moved in together. We eventually got married. We've been together all this time. I've depended on her for almost everything that a human can depend on another human for in my lifetime."
In the early 1990s, O'Neill also played Glen in two "Wayne's World" comedy films, which starred Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as slacker hosts of a public access cable show. O'Neill also appeared in the 1994 comedy "Little Giants" with Rick Moranis and in the 1999 film "The Bone Collector."
Between 2000 and 2007, O'Neill has had recurring roles on shows such as "Big Apple," "L.A. Dragnet, "The West Wing" and "John from Cincinnati." He also made a guest appearance on the comedy series "8 Simple Rules," playing the ex-boyfriend of Sagal's character.
In 2009, O'Neill began playing patriarch Pritchett on "Modern Family," which won an Emmy for Best Comedy Series in 2010. The show is nominated for a total of 17 Emmys this year. Fox Home Entertainment will release the second season of "Modern Family" on Blu-ray and DVD on September 20.
O'Neill is competing against "Glee" star Chris Colfer, "Two and a Half Men" actor Jon Cryer and his "Modern Family" co-stars Ferguson, Stonestreet and Ty Burrell for the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor at this year's Emmys ceremony, which is set to take place on September 18. Stonestreet took home the award in 2010. (Check out a full list of nominations for the 2011 Emmy Awards.)
Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com that also produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).