“Home Improvement” ended 22 years ago, but most of the cast is still working in Hollywood.
Tim Allen is starring in another successful sitcom, which ends this year.
Two of the three actors who played the sons decided to step away from acting.
When “Home Improvement” premiered in 1991 on ABC, it became a cultural phenomenon.
The sitcom about a family man who hosted his own home-improvement show called “Tool Time” became one of the most-watched series of the ’90s. It helped launched the careers of several actors, including a couple of child stars. After going off the air in 1999, most of the cast continued acting and guest-starring in shows, while others left the spotlight for good.
From Tim Allen to Jonathan Taylor Thomas, here’s what the cast of “Home Improvement” has been up to since going off the air 22 years ago.
Tim Allen played Tim Taylor, the patriarch of the “Home Improvement” family.
Allen began his career in stand-up comedy. He did so well that executives at ABC offered him two sitcoms, but he turned both down. Eventually, he began working with producer Matt Williams — who turned “Roseanne” into a success — to create a sitcom around Allen’s stand-up persona, which was a simple man who loved construction.
Allen played the lead part for all eight seasons and earned an Emmy nomination in 1993 for best lead actor in a comedy series.
Today, Allen stars in another successful sitcom that’s coming to an end. He’s also working on a new show with his “Tool Time” co-host.
In 2011, Allen started filming “Last Man Standing” where he plays a father who attempts to maintain his manliness in a house filled with his wife and three daughters. After nine seasons — first on ABC and now on Fox — the show is set for its series finale in 2021.
Allen has also reconnected with his fellow “Home Improvement” star Richard Karn, who played Al Borland, the co-host of “Tool Time.” They are hosting a home-improvement competition show, “Assembly Required,” on the History Channel. It premiered in February 2021.
The actor has also made headlines for revealing he is conservative and attended Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.
In March 2021, he told Marc Maron on his podcast, “Once I realized the last president p***ed people off, I kinda liked that.”
Patricia Richardson wasn’t the first choice to play Jill Taylor, Tim’s wife.
The network originally hired Frances Fisher to play Allen’s wife in the series, but the test pilot did not go over well. Audiences did not like Fisher, so the network quickly turned to Richardson to fill the open role.
“I had never heard of Tim, and I didn’t know anything about it, and they sent me a tape of Tim. And I said, ‘Look, I’m nursing twins. You have to wait for me for 40 minutes while I’m doing that.’ And they said, ‘Oh yeah, we’ll do anything,'” Richardson told HuffPost Live in 2014.
After “Home Improvement,” Richardson turned to stage acting and starred in Christmas movies.
Richardson appeared in guest roles throughout the last two decades in shows like “The West Wing,” “The Blindspot,” and even Allen’s “Last Man Standing.”
The actress also starred in holiday films like “A Very Vintage Christmas” in 2019 and “A Christmas in Tennessee” in 2018. Beyond the screen, Richardson had a part in the off-Broadway show “Cruel Intentions: The Musical” in 2017.
Richard Karn wasn’t the original choice for the role of Al Borland, either.
Stephen Tobolowsky told Vulture in 2012 that he was originally cast to play Al, Allen’s partner and sidekick on their “Tool Time” show. But he left the ABC series before production began to audition for movies.
At the same time, Karn rolled through a stop sign in Los Angeles one day and had to go to traffic school. There, an agent told him about “Home Improvement” and the open role. Karn was able to get an audition and landed the part.
He later became the host of “Family Feud” and continues to star in comedies on TV.
From 2002 to 2006, Karn hosted “Family Feud,” while also appearing in a number of TV shows like “That ’70s Show,” “The Bold and The Beautiful,” and “Last Man Standing.”
Now he’s hosting “Assembly Required” on the History Channel with Tim Allen.
When Jonathan Taylor Thomas played the middle son on “Home Improvement,” he became a ’90s superstar.
Thomas began playing Randy Taylor on “Home Improvement” in 1991 when he was just 10 years old. As he grew up in the spotlight, he became an icon and was even considered a ’90s heartthrob.
But Taylor left the show in 1998, a year before the show ended, to go to Harvard University to study philosophy and history.
Since graduating, Thomas has dabbled in directing and made some guest appearances.
Since the ’90s, he’s appeared in some shows here and there, including “Ally McBeal,” “8 Simple Rules,” and “Last Man Standing,” but the actor has not appeared in anything since 2015.
Zachery Ty Bryan played the oldest son, Brad Taylor.
While playing the sporty oldest brother in “Home Improvement,” Bryan continued acting outside of the series. He starred alongside Kirsten Dunst in 1997’s “True Heart” and had a part in 1999’s “The Rage: Carries 2.”
Bryan appeared in a few TV shows and movies after “Home Improvement,” but most recently, he was arrested for assault.
After “Home Improvement,” Bryan could be seen in “Boston Public,” “Veronica Mars,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.”
In 2020, Bryan made headlines when he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. In February 2021, the actor pleaded guilty to menacing and assault in the fourth degree, according to Deadline. He was sentenced to three years probation and was forced to enroll in an intervention program for batterers.
Taran Noah Smith played the youngest son, Mark Taylor.
Smith started playing the youngest son when he was just 7 years old, and when the show ended, he was 16. During those years, Smith appeared in a few other TV shows and movies, including “7th Heaven” and “Little Bigfoot 2: The Journey Home.”
When “Home Improvement” ended, Smith left acting for good.
Shortly after the show ended, Smith sued his parents in 2001 to gain control of the $1.5 million trust he’d earned from working on “Home Improvement.” Years later, Smith reconnected with his mother.
In 2016, Smith told Headlines & Global News he’d become an installation artist and had helped with disaster relief in the Philippines following the 2013 typhoon.
Pamela Anderson played Lisa, the first “Tool Time Girl” in the series, launching her acting career.
Before “Home Improvement,” Anderson was seen on the pages of Playboy. She broke into acting in 1991 when she landed the part of Lisa, who was the “Tool Time Girl” on the fictional show “Tool Time.”
She left the series to star in “Baywatch.” From there, Anderson became a household name.
Since Baywatch, Anderson has enjoyed a long career in the spotlight.
After Baywatch, Anderson also starred in other TV shows like “V.I.P.,” “Stripperella,” “Stacked,” and “Sur-Vie.” She also made a memorable appearance in “Scary Movie 3.”
In 2017, she reprised her role as C.J. Parker in the “Baywatch” reboot movie opposite Zac Efron and Dwayne Johnson.
When Anderson left, Debbe Dunning became the new “Tool Time Girl” named Heidi.
Dunning guest-starred in one episode and producers decided to hire her for the role of Heidi in 1993. Heidi became the “Tool Time Girl,” often helping Tim and Al with their projects on the show-within-a-show.
Most recently, Dunning hosted a travel series.
After “Home Improvement,” Dunning appeared in a TV series called “Wicked Wicked Games” and a TV movie called “The Spiral Staircase.”
In 2017, she hosted her own travel show called “Debbe Dunning’s Dude Ranch Roundup,” which follows the actress as she explores dude ranches around the US.
Earl Hindman played Allen’s faceless neighbor.
Hindman was known as Wilson in “Home Improvement.” Audiences never saw his full face — only his eyes were visible above the fence he shared with Allen’s character, who often turned to Wilson for sound advice.
Hindman died in 2003 of cancer.
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