The show Home Improvement, The Cast, And Trivia!
This is a series about a man, Tim Taylor (Tim Allen), who has his own show on home improvement called, “Tool Time“. The show is sponsored by the fictional “Binford Tool” company, whom Tim used to work for as a salesman. Although Tim is the host, he is not the best when it actually comes to completing a project. Even though he does have some idea what he is doing, he is enormously accident prone. And despite the fact that there is always some kind of disaster on the show, the audience seems to think that it was done on purpose to show you what NOT to do. He does however, have an amazing gift for fixing cars. (This of course is evidenced mostly when at home, as he is working on building two hot rods). There are also two others on the show, Al Borland (Richard Karn) and a “Tool Time” girl. Al is Tim’s assistant and close friend. He is quiet, calm, a master plumber and licensed contractor, and very knowledgeable about tools. He always tries to please his mother, wears plaid and has a beard. All in all just a smart, decent and really nice guy. The first Tool Time girl, Lisa (Pamela Anderson), was basically just on the show to introduce Tim and Al, and hand them tools. She was later written out (Anderson wanted bigger acting roles). The second girl, Heidi (Debbe Dunning), had a small part to begin with as well, but it eventually grew to the point that she was in other areas of the show, and not just the Tool Time section.
As for Tim’s personal life, he is married with three sons, and has a great love of all the Detroit sports teams (as this is where the show is set). His wife, Jill (Patricia Richardson), works at a magazine to start, but later starts studying to become a psychologist. She comes from a large family with a military background, and loves cars. She likes volunteering for the library, and enjoys the ballet, and opera. And though she is an excellent wife and mother, she does seem to have one flaw and that is her cooking. Tim and the boys make snide remarks about it on a regular basis. Tim and Jill’s marriage is quite good despite all their many differences, and Tim is a good husband as well as father. He maintains a good connection with his sons, but is closest to Brad (Zachery Ty Bryan), who is the oldest and the most like his father. Brad likes to work on the hot rods with his dad, chase girls and play soccer. Randy (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), is the middle son, and like his father, enjoys playing jokes on people. He is very intelligent and excels in school, he writes for the school paper, and as he gets older, starts to really care about world issues and the environment. Mark (Taran Noah Smith), is the youngest Taylor son and is closest to his mother. He is more sensitive than his brothers, participates in Cub Scouts for a while, takes karate, and later on becomes a little bit of a loner.
There are a few other characters that help to round out and complete the show. They are Marty Taylor (William O’Leary), Tim’s youngest brother, who is married with twin daughters. He has constant marital problems and can never seem to hold down a job due to his autism. There is also Tim’s oldest brother, Jeff Taylor (Thom Sharp), who also cannot seem to keep a job. His problems seem to be more focused on the fact that he is continually getting into business projects that turn out badly. Then there is Harry Turner (Blake Clark), who owns Tim’s favorite hardware store, “Harry’s Hardware”. He has four sons and is married to Delores (Shirley Prestia), although not very happily! Benny Baroni (Jimmy Labriola) is a friend of Tim’s who spends most of his time hanging out at the hardware store. If he’s not doing that then he is probably somewhere trying to get something for nothing, since Benny is very well known as being lazy, selfish and inconsiderate. And last but not least, is Wilson (Earl Hindman). Wilson is the Taylors’ next door neighbor who gives them advice freely and easily, and is always right. He is kind, caring and has been all over the world, learning from just about every culture there is, which is probably what accounts for his very sage advice. He really enjoys talking to them all, especially Tim, because his parents never allowed him to converse with any of their neighbors while he was growing up. There is a running gag with Wilson that continues throughout the entire series, and that is the fact that you never see his whole face! This of course allows for a lot of creativity while finding different ways to achieve this.
This show was not only very funny, but had a lot of touching moments as well. They explore the realities of both marriage and raising children equally, while managing at the same time to temper it with humor. A great show and a wonderful cast make this series interesting, fun and a pleasure to watch for all of its eight seasons. I give this show 9 out of 10.
Tim Taylor-Tim Allen
Jill Taylor-Patricia Richardson
Al Borland-Richard Karn
Brad Taylor-Zachery Ty Bryan
Randy Taylor-Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Mark Taylor-Taran Noah Smith
Wilson Wilson, Jr.-Earl Hindman
Heide Keppert-Debbe Dunning
Recurring Cast Years
Marty Taylor-William O’Leary 1994-1999
Benny Baroni-Jimmy Labriola 1993-1999
Lisa-Pamela Anderson 1991-1997
Harry-Blake Clark 1994-1999
Ilene Markham-Sherry Hursey 1993-1997
Pete Bilker-Mickey Jones 1991-1999
Dwayne Hoover-Gary McGurk 1991-1999
Rock Lannigan-Casey Sander 1991-1999
Bud Harper-Charles Robinson 1995-1999
Milton-Milton Canady 1995-1999
Marie Morton-Mariangela Pino 1993-1995
Dolores-Shirley Prestia 1995-1999
Karen Kelly-Betsy Randle 1992-1993
Jennifer Sudarsky-Jessica Wesson 1992-1993
Lauren-Courtney Peldon 1996-1998
Patty-Tammy Lauren 1997-1999
Felix Myman-Al Fann 1991-1999
Antonio-Vasili Bogazianos 1996-1999
Sparky-Patrick Cronin 1996-1999
Jeff Taylor-Thom Sharp 1996-1999
Carrie Patterson-Tudi Roche 1991-1998
Lucille Taylor-Bonnie Bartlett 1995-1998
Trudy McHale-Megan Cavanagh 1998-1999
Willow Wilson-China Kantner 1997-1998
Lillian Patterson-Polly Holliday 1993-1999
Eddie McCormack-Tom La Grua 1994-1999
Angela-Kristen Clayton 1996-1997
Cal Borland-Keith Lehman 1995-1999
Nancy Taylor-Jensen Daggett 1994-1995
Marge-Francesca P. Roberts 1994-1999
Ronny-Kaylan Romero 1997-1998
Jason-Jarrad Paul 1995-1996
Gracie Taylor-Ashley Trefger 1998-1999
Claire Taylor-Lindsey Trefger 1998-1999
Stage Manager-Shawn Shea 1991-1997
Bob Vila as himself 1992-1994
Maureen Binford-Vicki Lewis 1992
Art Leonard-Dick O’Neill 1994-1996
Mario Andretti as himself 1992-1999
Beth-Anndi McAfee 1994-1995
Ned-Tom Poston 1995-1997
Ashley-Leigh Ann Orsi 1993-1994
Ken Bowersox as himself 1994-1998
Michael Andretti as himself 1992-1996
June Palmer-Gretchen German 1995-1997
Buzz-Lowell Sanders 1994-1999
Morgan Wondell-Danny Zorn 1999
Dr. Brown-Robert Neches 1995-1999
Wes Davidson-Joel Polis 1993-1994
Joe Morton-Robert Picardo 1993
Dr. Hanover-Peter Michael Goetz 1999
Dr. Lloyd Fields-Joel Higgins 1999
Greta Post-Jennifer Nash 1991-1992
Bert Russell-Mark L. Taylor 1995
Curtis-Aaron Freeman 1992
Linda-Carlene Watkins 1996-1997
Ian-Tom Wopat 1997-1998
Cynthia-Debra Engle 1992-1999
Bonnie-Bonnie Hellman 1993-1995
Irma-Angela Paton 1994-1995
Judith Haber-Beth Dixon 1995
Dave-Tony Carreiro 1992
Col. Fred Patterson-M. Emmet Walsh 1994
George-Mike Grief 1995-1999
Tracy-Maryedith Burrell 1996-1997
Doug-George DelHoyo 1997
Mike-Earl Billings 1992-1995
John Binford-Noble Willingham 1992
Bob-John Voldstad 1994-1995
Jay-Jay Leno 1995-1999
Carol-Ja’net DuBois 1991-1995
Dr. Larry Lindover-Murray Rubinstein 1994-1995
Michelle-Russell-Kimberly Cullum 1995
Audience Member #2-Margaret Fitzgerald 1994-1995
Brenda-Jolie Jackunas 1995-1997
Janeen Rae Heller as herself 1992-1999
Kelvin Pritchett as himself 1994-1995
John ‘Juke’ Logan as himself 1992-1999
Barry-Eric Saiet 1997
Delivery Man #1-Rocky Giordani 1991-1995
Fireman #2-Gary Bayer 1991
Ben-Haynes Brooke 1997-1998
Bouncer-Vic Stagliano 1992-1996
This was one of the most watched and popular sitcoms of the 90’s.
Tim Allen came up with Wilson’s (Earl Hindman), character from his own childhood memories, of being too short to see his neighbor over the fence.
Patricia Richardson’s’ (Jill), father in real-life suffered from PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy), he died in 2005. Richardson is the national spokesperson for “Cure PSP”.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Randy), is a vegetarian in real-life, much like his character on the show eventually becomes.
Home Improvement was based on Tim Allen‘s stand-up comedy, and was also the start of his very lucrative film career.
Zachery Ty Bryan volunteers for assorted charities, primarily to help children that have AIDS or cancer. He also gives his time to help with those that benefit underprivileged kids.
Earl Hindman‘s wife Molly McGreevy, is an ordained Episcopalian priest.
Richard Karn (Al), was only a guest-star in the pilot, but soon became a regular cast member after only four shows. The part of Al had originally been given to actor Stephen Tobolowsky, but he was busy shooting a movie during the scheduled filming of the pilot so the part had to be recast.
While still married, Taran Noah Smith and his then wife, Heidi van Pelt, created a business called “Play food”, an organic and vegan restaurant as well as a non-dairy cheese manufacturer. After their divorce, and a long legal battle, she was removed from the business and he was able to make it into a success.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas won the lifetime achievement award at the “Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards ’99” (in 1999), and was the first actor to do so. He won it for his role as “Randy Taylor” on Home Improvement.
In Home Improvements‘ third season, it shot to number one in the ratings. In the same week of November 1994,Tim Allen‘s movie “The Santa Clause”, went to number one, as did his book, “Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man”.
Debbe Dunning (Heidi), was homecoming queen of her high school, and won the title of “Miss Burbank” in 1984, as well.
Home Improvement stayed in the Top 10 for the entire eight seasons that it was on the air.
Sadly, Earl Hindman died on December 29, 2003 of lung cancer.
Zachery Ty Bryan (Brad), made small appearances in different TV shows after Home Improvement ended, as well as several movies.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas enrolled at Harvard University in the year 2000, and spent his third year at St. Andrews University in Scotland. After doing only a few acting jobs during the past decade, he graduated from Columbia University in 2010.
Tim Allen bought 26 acres of campground in the state of Michigan for the amount of $2 million dollars, just for the purpose of keeping it undeveloped and totally natural.
The first pilot that was shot for the series had actress Frances Fisher in the role of Jill. They decided she was too serious for the part, and instead recast her with actress Patricia Richardson.
Taran Noah Smith (Mark), married a woman when he was only seventeen years old, who was sixteen years his senior, her name was Heidi Van Pelt. They filed for divorce after only six years.
Richard Karn was an apartment building manager before he got his break on Home Improvement. And despite being on the show, he kept that job for the entire first season because he wanted to be certain that it would be a success.
Tim Allen has been arrested twice. The first time was in 1978 for possession of cocaine, 1.43 lbs. to be exact. He plead guilty to charges of drug trafficking, and instead of risking the chance of a lifetime prison sentence, supplied the names of other drug dealers in exchange for a lighter sentence. He got three to seven years and was paroled after only serving slightly more than two. The second time was in 1997 (during Home Improvements’ run), for a DUI in the state of Michigan. He had a blood-alcohol level of .15 percent and was sentenced to one year of probation.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas left the series’ at the beginning of the last season, to be able to work more on his schooling. He did return for the Christmas episode of season eight, but did not return for the series finale.
Tim Allen is currently starring with Nancy Travis in the series, “Last Man Standing”.
Debbe Dunning is married to Steve Timmons, an American volleyball player.
Being that the show was set in the state of Michigan, several different colleges and universities sent Tim Allen (Tim Taylor), T-shirts and sweaters to wear on the show, and he complied.
Patricia Richardson also starred on the popular Lifetime series, “Strong Medicine”.
In 1994, Zachery Ty Bryan was the youth spokesman for “World Cup ’94 Soccer”.
On TV Guide’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time”, Tim Taylor was number twenty.
Richard Karns‘ mother, Louise, died in 1983 from bone marrow cancer. When speaking of her death he said, “I thought my parents were invincible. It never occurred to me she would die”.
Taran Noah Smith was arrested in 2012 on suspicion of DUI, as well as possession of marijuana.
Tim Allen has been nominated for and won quite a few awards in his time, including being named a “Disney Legend”.
On VH1’s list of the “100 Greatest Kid Stars”, Jonathan Taylor Thomas was #25.
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