He Played Al on "Home Improvement." See Richard Karn Now at 66.
The actor and host recently reunited with Tim Allen for another new show.
Tim Allen's Tim Taylor may have been the supposed star of the fictional show Tool Time on Home Improvement, but he was often upstaged by his co-host, the lovable Al Boland, played by Richard Karn. With his deadpan catchphrase "I don't think so, Tim," and his relative lack of clumsiness, Al did his best to keep Tim in line, and fans adored him for it. He also seemed like a regular guy you might know, which makes sense, since Karn came to the role not from doing a ton of onscreen acting but after taking on other types of jobs in Los Angeles, including managing an apartment complex. Home Improvement proved to be his big break, and he was a part of the show for all eight seasons. Read on to find out what the actor has been up to since.
READ THIS NEXT: See Heidi From Home Improvement Now at 56.
He replaced another actor who was originally supposed to play Al.
Karn easily could have missed out on the sitcom role that made him a star. In a 2012 interview with Vulture, busy character actor Stephen Tobolowsky (he played Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day, among hundreds of other roles) talked about passing on an offer to play Al. He noted that, though the salary was "enormously princely" for him at the time, the sitcom wouldn't have allowed him to take on other jobs, so he ended up letting it go. "They got Richard Karn to play that role. He was on it for years and years and years and made beaucoup bucks," Tobolowsky said, adding that he has no regrets, since he was able to go on and "do all the shows everybody knows [him] for."
Meanwhile, what could have seemed like bad luck on Karn's part led to him booking the long-running show. He reportedly found out about the audition when he ended up in traffic school after rolling through a stop sign. Karn was seated next to a talent agent who told him about the opportunity, and the rest is history.
He continued acting.
Prior to Home Improvement, Karn's only onscreen credits were in a few episodes of One Life to Live. The family sitcom was on the air from 1991 to 1998, during which time he took on some other roles, including guest spots in Boy Meets World, Burke's Law, and Soul Man. After the Home Improvement series finale, Karn continued acting, appearing in movies including a few installments of the Air Bud franchise and several holiday-themed rom-coms. On TV, he's guest-starred in Watching Ellie; True Jackson, VP; and Detroiters, and he reunited with Allen for two episodes of his follow-up sitcom, Last Man Standing. Most recently, he played Maya's (Maya Erskine) dad Fred in the '90s-set middle school comedy, PEN15.
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He's also a host.
Playing the host of Tool Time for so many years certainly paid off for Karn, who's emceed several game shows and competition series in his career. He was the host of Family Feud from 2002 to 2006, the co-host of Bingo America from 2008 to 2009, and has been the voice of many TV specials.
In 2021, he and Allen teamed up again to co-host the History Channel reality competition series Assembly Required, in which contestants revamp regular household items. This year, they premiered another show on the same network. Appropriately titled More Power, it delves into the history of tools and how we use them, so it's basically Tool Time 2.0.
In a statement announcing the new series, Karn said (via Collider), "My friendship with Tim has lasted over 30 years… in a row! The chance to do a show like Tool Time was unquestionably exciting. We may not have Binford but we still will have a world of fun!"
He's a serious golfer.
When he's not working, Karn is spending time with his wife of 37 years, Tudi Roche, and their grown son, Cooper. Either that, or he's on the golf course. Like many of his former co-stars, the actor is a big golfer. Through much of the late '90s, he annually hosted The Richard Karn Celebrity Golf Classic in Seattle. Nowadays, he can be found at events run by other celebrities, including comedian George Lopez's annual outing. And these golf tournaments often turn into Home Improvement reunions, with Karn hitting the links alongside Allen and Debbe Dunning (Heidi), who are also heavily into the sport.