For the first four seasons of Married with children, David Garrison famously played Al Bundy’s friend and neighbor Steve Rhoades. But he left the show in 1990, not because there were any problems on set or behind the scenes, but because he wanted to return to acting. Before Garrison joined the Married with children cast, he starred in another show called It’s your move like with jason batman and was already a distinguished, Tony-nominated stage actor. He would return to the Bundy family’s life several times before the comedy ended, and after that would continue to perform on stage and screen. Read on to find out what Garrison is up to now.
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Garrison said in an interview with getTV that doing the hit sitcom only made him miss acting more, which is why he decided to end his run. “I was basically commuting from New York to shoot the show in Los Angeles, and I missed my life in Manhattan, as well as my theater career,” the actor explained. “The first rule of show business is ‘let them want more’, so after four seasons I felt it was time to flex some more muscle. I left on good terms and came back in as a guest on the show in subsequent seasons.”
Garrison also revealed that some of his character Steve’s quirks also stem from his love of the stage. He said in the same interview that Steve’s propensity for humming and singing Gilbert and Sullivan tunes was his whole idea. “I come from theater in New York, and a lot of my work on and off Broadway was in musicals,” he said. “[Married…with Children creators] Ron [Leavitt] and Michael [Moye] liked to tease me about it, and so the idea that Steve Rhoades was a Gilbert and Sullivan fan was just geeky enough to appeal to them.”
After leaving the sitcom, Garrison indeed focused on his stage career. Some of the productions he has appeared in include Titanic!, Bells are ringingand I do! I do! Most notably, he starred as The Wizard in the original touring company of the massive hit musical Bad. Garrison then joined the Broadway company and later the Chicago and Los Angeles companies. So if you saw Bad in one of these cities or on tour, it is likely that it was Steve from Married with children playing this role.
He continues to work on stage, with recent roles in Candid, For all time, The cradle will tip overand The Great Society.
While the theater may be where Garrison feels most at home, he still does the occasional role on television. He has made guest appearances on shows such as lady secretary, The good wife, Law and orderand 30 Rock. Her most recent screen role was in a 2017 episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Although he is gone Married with children before the end of the show, he remained close to Amanda Bearse, who played Steve’s wife, Marcy, on the sitcom. In a 2020 interview with The Fayetteville ObserverBearse said she’s “always really good friends” with Garrison, and the two even had a red carpet reunion at an Off-Broadway play opening in 2018 (pictured above).
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Garrison also dabbled in directing. In 2021, he conducted a one-act opera for the Merola Opera Program, located in San Francisco. In 2020, Garrison said in a Merola Opera masterclass that while it made sense for him to start conducting, he still sees himself primarily as a performer. “I never said those immortal words, ‘What I really want to be is a director,'” he explained. “But I think having a love for both opera and theater and having done a lot of – I hesitate to use the word ‘masterclass’, because I’m not a masterclass – but having worked with opera singers in terms of building acting skills, that was the logical next step for me.”
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