5 fun facts about Ted McGinley, the so-called ''sitcom killer''

He took Brooke Shields to her prom!

Image: The Everett Collection

Some call him a "killer of TV shows." Some dub him the "sitcom-killer." Not us. We argue that Ted McGinley hardly deserves his reputation. The good news is, the handsome actor cheerily accepts and even somewhat relishes his reputation. "I don't know why, but I'm an easy target," he has said. "And I don't do anything to dispel it."

What earned McGinley this dubious reputation? Well, he joined a handful of his TV series late in their run. They ended shortly thereafter. Though not as quickly as people believe. 

Happy Days, The Love Boat, Dynasty and Married… with Children all wedged McGinley's smiling personality into their casts in later seasons. While Roger Phillips, Ace Evans and Jefferson D'Arcy may not have been as popular as the Fonz, Isaac the Bartender and Al Bundy, they perfectly played into McGinley's personality and generated lots of laughs.

Perhaps you know him as fratboy Stan Gable from Revenge of the Nerds, as well. Here are things you might not know about McGinley.

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1. He was captain of the USC water polo team.


With his beachy blond locks, it's no surprise that McGinley excelled at aquatic sports. He was a standout water polo player. "I played under Bill Barnett who was the Olympic coach," he told Swimming World Magazine in 2011. "I really enjoy it when I run into someone who I knew from those [water polo] days or somebody who remembers that I played. It means a lot to me."

Image: The Everett Collection

2. He was discovered in the pages in GQ Magazine.


How did McGinley transition from the swimming pool to the sound stage? Fashion. McGinley posed in photo spreads for the Valentino brand. You can see his best steely gaze for Valentino here. He appeared in the September 1980 issue of GQ, seen here. Casting director Joyce Selznick had pictures of Ted's modeling work all over the floor of her office. He did have a striking look.

Image: GQ

3. He made his screen and acting debut on Happy Days.


A couple of months after his GQ spread, a nervous McGinley made his screen debut in the Happy Days episode "Hello, Roger." In an interview with the AV Club in 2012, he said with a laugh, "I really was the guy I played, so my acting was horrible, and that came across. But I know it had to be very taxing for Henry [Winkler] and everybody, because I didn’t even know what comedy was, really. I didn't know the rhythms, the timing, or any of that. But that was a pretty good place to learn."

Image: The Everett Collection

4. He was nearly on a much shorter-lived show intead.


McGinley appeared in four seasons of Happy Days, a pretty healthy run. More proof that it's hard to say he "killed" Happy Days by joining the cast. He nearly booked a far more doomed series. The studio wanted to put the newcomer into the search-and-rescue action series 240-Robert, which starred another former college athlete, Mark Harmon. But Garry Marshall snagged McGinley first. "I was just so fortunate, because the other show [240-Robert] only went on for six episodes," McGinley told the AV Club. "I don't know what would've happened if I'd done that show. You just never know."

Image: AP Photo / Doug Pizac

5. He took Brooke Shields to prom in 1982.


In 1982, starlet Brooke Shields attended her senior prom at the Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, New Jersey. Her date? Ted McGinley. "My date was Ted McGinley, if you can believe it, from Love Boat," Shields told the New York Post in 2010. "We were dating at the time and he said he would fly in from California to be my date." And who made her prom dress? None other than Valentino. It all comes back to Valentino. "It was just so funny to be posing in prom photo position in a Valentino dress. I didn't say it was Valentino — nobody in high school would have cared." A Valentino dress and a Valentino model!

Image: AP Photo / Doug Pizac

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JLTitus72 42 months ago
I thought he was a riot on Married with Children. Liked Jefferson more than Steve.
WhiteRook 45 months ago
Ted though not a member of the Five-0 team was a fed on the show shortly before it went off the air. Book Em Dano before he kills off another tv show.
rexyellowdog1 45 months ago
Ted McGinley was a great in "Married..." Jefferson D'Aarcy....Marries Marcy....she's Marcy D'arcy! Funnier than David Garrison.
vinman63 rexyellowdog1 38 months ago
Seemed like Steve at time was sarcastic and nasty Jefferson was laid back.
BustaNutter1 45 months ago
Brooke and McGinley went no where after the prom, so I guess he's a relationship killer, too.
bsmith83 46 months ago
I liked Ted MCGinley in revenge of the nerds
Gary 46 months ago
The late Tim Conway’s license plate was 13 WKS!!! Yes he was popular on the Carol Burnett show and McHale’s Navy. But he never had a hit of his own.
stephaniestavropoulos 46 months ago
Another {ABC} sitcom Ted McGinley was in [it's a rarity, because he came in on the ground floor, not mid-show run,] was 2003-2006 Hope & Faith which starred Faith Ford & Kelly Rippa.
Are your parentheses keys broken?
cperrynaples Wiseguy 46 months ago
Yeah Stephanie, I'm selective on how i use them!
Take a chill pill, both of you. You remind me of my algebra teacher in h.s. We spent about a week or so during class, learning how to make those curvy parenthesis, {no the keys aren't broken.} I can use them whenever and however I want. You don't like it, tough!} When she would correct our homework, she would mark the problem wrong {even though the answer was right,} if the parenthesis didn't meet with her highnesses approval. You want to be picky in using them fine. I'M NOT YOU! You type your way and I'll type mine!!
hannahcc07 Wiseguy 45 months ago
Corey 46 months ago
Before Ted McGinley there was Stephen Shortridge. He replaced John Travolta on Welcome Back Kotter.
cperrynaples Corey 46 months ago
Yep, he was also Brooke's first love on B&B until she dumped him for Ridge Forrester! It's now 33 years and counting and the only thing that's changed is Ridge's face!
ColleneGandy Corey 46 months ago
Ted McKinley was not in WBK Stephen Shortridge replaced John Travolta when he left and stayed when he returned
cperrynaples ColleneGandy 46 months ago
DUH! He's saying those 2 actors fall into the same physical type!
Barry22 46 months ago
He was funny on Married With Children.
Fred_Clampett 46 months ago
I didn't know that McGinley was labelled the Sit-Com Killer. I'd often thought the same about Michael Rappaport. Rappaport has been in several shows
that just never seemed to work out.
cperrynaples Fred_Clampett 46 months ago
No, Rappaport's just an arrogant [BLANK]! Bonus Question: What radio personality connects Rappaport with the previously mentioned Jon Hein? Hint: read my quotation in the post below!
MarkSpeck cperrynaples 46 months ago
Rappaport made a number of appearances on Howard Stern's show. Hein, after selling off his Jump the Shark site to TV Guide, joined the Stern crew as a Howard 100 reporter.
MarkSpeck Fred_Clampett 46 months ago
I only know Rappaport being in two shows...he was on Chicago Hope briefly, and he was on a Fox sitcom, The War at Home. I mainly think of him as a movie actor.
cperrynaples MarkSpeck 46 months ago
Actually, Rappaport has a show on Netflix called Atypical! And yes he's a frequent caller who hates producer Gary Del'Abate! Bonus Question: What classic cartoon character inspired Gary's nickname?
RedSamRackham 46 months ago
* McGinley's Happy Days character should've been a returning Chuck! ☺
I'd give your comment two likes if I could!
cperrynaples 46 months ago
Isn't it ironic this comes mere days AFTER the "when did they appear" quiz since McGinley always seemed to come late to the party? And don't forget he's a "shark jumper"! Bonus Question: Who created Jumptheshark.com and why does it not exist now?
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cperrynaples Fred_Clampett 46 months ago
PS Bearse is still in show biz as a director!
Corey cperrynaples 46 months ago
Amanda Bearse played Mandy Marcy's twin cousin. Think Patty Duke.
cperrynaples Corey 46 months ago
Do we really have to split hairs? You get my point: Marcy could have been prime-time's first lesbian!
Wiseguy cperrynaples 46 months ago
You're confusing actor with character.
texasluva 46 months ago
An interesting story. I have never thought of him nor did I know he was named ''sitcom killer''.
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