Ed O'Neill was a football player in his youth, entering Ohio University on a scholarship before dropping out and moving to Youngstown State University. He joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969 but was cut in training camp; he later worked as a high school teacher before deciding to pursue an acting career.
After returning to YSU -- now as part of its theater program -- he appeared in several local stage productions. He turned his attention to the small screen in the 1980s, notably in the pilot Popeye Doyle, where he earned acclaim from critics. He got his big break in 1987, through the Fox sitcom Married... with Children; his portrayal of frustrated salesman Al Bundy earned him two Golden Globe nominations.
The success of Married... led O'Neill to roles in films such as Wayne's World (and its sequel) and The Bone Collector. O'Neill then had a string of unsuccessful television shows: despite the short lives of police drama Big Apple and the remake of Dragnet, his performance was applauded. After a stint on HBO's short-lived John from Cincinnati, he joined the cast of the ABC comedy Modern Family, playing the patriarch Jay Pritchett.
O'Neill is married to actress Catherine Rusoff, with whom he has two children.
- O'Neill trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu; he received is black belt in the martial art in 2007.
- TV Land Award, Innovator Award, 2009 (for Married... with Children)
- Cruising (1980)
- The Dogs of War (1980)
- Disorganized Crime (1989)
- K-9 (1989)
- The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990)
- Sibling Rivalry (1990)
- Dutch (1991)
- Wayne's World (1992)
- Wayne's World 2 (1993)
- Blue Chips (1994)
- Little Giants (1994)
- Prefontaine (1997)
- The Spanish Prisoner (1997)
- The Bone Collector (1999)
- Lucky Numbers (2000)
- Nobody's Baby (2001)
- Spartan (2004)
- Steel Valley (2005)
- Redbelt (2008)
- Married... with Children (regular, 1987-1997)
- The 10th Kingdom (miniseries, 2000)
- Big Apple (regular, 2001)
- Dragnet (regular, 2003-2004)
- The West Wing (recurring, 2004-2005)
- John from Cincinnati (regular, 2007)
- Modern Family (regular, 2009-present)