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Modern Family

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill

Ed O'Neill plays Jay on ABC's Modern Family. Read on for 10 things you didn't know about the man behind the Pritchett family's gruff patriarch.

1. He hasn't always been an actor.
Ed supported himself as a social studies teacher and a waiter at O'Neal's Balloon restaurant before his acting career took off.

2. He loves to argue. Ed was a member of his high school debate team.

3. He grew up in Youngstown, Ohio. Ed's mother was a social worker, and his father was a steelworker and truck driver.

4. One of his early roles was in Miami Vice. Ed appeared in the second episode of the hit series, "Heart of Darkness."

5. Don't mess with him. Ed has a black belt in Gracie Brazilian Ju-Jitsu.

6. It's a good thing Married... With Children came along! After nearly being cast as Sam Malone in Cheers, he also missed out on the starring role of Steven Keaton in Family Ties.

7. He's been married for over 25 years. Ed tied the knot with actress Catherine Rusoff in 1986. They separated in 1989, but reconciled in 1993.

8. Before he got into acting, he was an athlete. Ed played football throughout college (at both Ohio University and Youngstown State University), and he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1969. The team cut him before the start of his first regular season, so he returned to school and studied acting.

9. He knows his seafood! Ed landed a Red Lobster commercial in 1985.

10. He was a total bro. While at Ohio University, Ed spent more time partying, flirting, and playing football than studying.

12.22.2010 / 12:00 AM EDT by Vanessa Wesley
Related: Modern Family, Ed O'Neill

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