Ed O’Neill says he’s won the Hollywood “lottery” twice.
He starred in two long-running sitcoms, “Modern Family” and “Married … with Children,” that paid for a family home in Hawaii.
But the 74-year-old actor recently told Page Six that he only really began to make serious change on “Married … with Children” after the eighth season when his then-manager — the legendary Bernie Brillstein — negotiated a sweetheart deal.
O’Neill remembers that Brillstein explained they had Columbia TV, which produced the bawdy Fox comedy, at a disadvantage because all the other cast had re-signed except him and he couldn’t be replaced.
He says that while Columbia exec Gary Lieberthal had offered him a huge amount, it wasn’t what he and Brillstein felt was fair for his portrayal of famed hapless shoe salesman Al Bundy. And when they let Lieberthal know that, he blew a gasket.
“What the f—k are you talking about?” Lieberthal allegedly bellowed three times after being told O’Neill wouldn’t sign.
The “Little Giants” actor claims that Columbia even had disgraced private investigator Anthony Pellicano trail him around when he claimed that he had a “bad back” and was unable to film the sitcom.
About a week later, O’Neill says he received a call from his manager letting him know they settled on an amount — only it wasn’t enough for Brillstein, who decided that O’Neill needed a new car thrown in too.
“You know the kid drives a Mustang, it’s not even a convertible,” O’Neill remembers Brillstein saying to Lieberthal. “The number one guy on your number one show in a f–king Mustang in your parking lot? Looks bad.
“Gary said, ‘What does he want, a Corvette?’ Bernie said, ‘I think he likes German cars. They got that Porsche dealership on Burbank, you know where it is. There’s a black Porsche coupe with wire wheels, they were a Carrera 4, they were brand new. It was 95,000 then.
“‘It’s on the showroom floor. Hey, take him over there on Monday. Have him come in early, drive him over, get him that car. Be that guy Gary, be that f–king guy.’”
That Monday morning, O’Neill drove a Porsche Carrera 4 off the lot.
When reached by Page Six, Lieberthal said, “I had almost as much fun negotiating with Ed O’Neill and Fox as the audience had watching the show.”
“Married … with Children” ran for eleven seasons and went off the air in 1997.
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