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Ed O’neill Pittsburgh Steelers Football

January 6, 2012 by staff 

Ed O'neill Pittsburgh Steelers FootballEd O’neill Pittsburgh Steelers Football, If the Pittsburgh Steelers hadn’t cut the Youngstown State rookie defensive lineman from their training camp roster in 1969, when he was 23, Ed O’Neill’s career path might not have led to TV stardom in Married … With Children, Modern Family (season two of which arrives Sept. 20 on DVD and Blu-ray) and more than 50 other film and TV roles. For his efforts, the first-time Emmy nominee, 65, is being honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As he recently drove to a Modern Family table read that has the clan heading to a Western dude ranch in the show’s second fall episode, O’Neill spoke to THR about his career.
Was it devastating to be cut from the Steelers?

I suppose it was because I didn’t know what else I was going to do. I was adrift for a while. I worked as a substitute teacher; I sold cars. Then I saw an ad in the paper for The Rainmaker at the local playhouse. I had done some acting in high school. I was terrible. Eventually, I got better and started playing lead roles. One thing led to another, and Bill Friedkin saw me in Knockout on Broadway and put me in the [1980 film] Cruising with Al Pacino.

Last year, there was much hullabaloo over you not being nominated for an Emmy. Do you feel a bit vindicated?

If you had told me, “Every adult member of the cast will be nominated but you,” I would have said, “I’ll take that bet.” When it happened, I found it amusing. This year, when we all got nominated, I was glad because it’s less stuff to bother with. If I had been excluded again, I would have been faced with people talking about it a lot. It worked out better this way.

Was it an intentional strategy to have everyone submit in the supporting actor categories?

I don’t think so. They asked me what category I wanted to be in, lead or supporting. I said, “We’re all doing the same thing; it’s a true ensemble.” I don’t have the balls to say I should be up for best actor and the rest should be up for best supporting.

Do you think being funny is a learned or innate trait?

Honestly, I think it’s innate. I do know that when I was a boy, I had very funny uncles. I used to love to hear them tell stories and would emulate them. Early on, I was kind of funny — not in jokey ways but in storytelling.

Are you a joke teller?

I was never a joke teller. I don’t even like jokes, for the most part. I don’t like to hear them, and rarely can I even remember one.

Do you consider yourself a comedian?

No. I always think of myself as an actor first. If I’m out socially with a bunch of comedians, I don’t say two words. I just let them do their bits.

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