Ted McGinley

Active - 1982 - 2018  |   Born - May 30, 1958 in Newport Beach, California, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Dividing his time more or less equally between big- and small-screen work, actor Ted McGinley enjoyed a considerably successful tenure as a character player, almost always appearing as beefcake heartthrob types. He began his career in the early '80s, with small roles in Garry Marshall's satirical farce Young Doctors in Love (1982) and the lurid Joan Collins telemovie Making of a Male Model (1983), but achieved his first significant break in the sitcom venue, as English teacher-cum-basketball coach Roger Phillips on the final four seasons of Happy Days (1980-1984). Fortuitously, at about the same time that Days folded, the producers of The Love Boat (on the same network, ABC) tapped McGinley to play photographer Ace Evans -- a last-ditch attempt to save the program from sagging ratings. The strategy ultimately failed when Boat ended its lengthy run in 1986, but in the meantime, McGinley landed what became a recurring role as jock Stan in the first three installments of Revenge of the Nerds.

Eventually, McGinley also joined the cast of the long-running Married...With Children from 1991 through 1997, playing chauvinistic layabout Jefferson D'Arcy (second husband of the Bundys' neighbor Marcy Rhoades), and essayed roles in theatrical films including Physical Evidence (1989), Wayne's World 2 (1993), and Dick (1999). The late '90s and 2000s found McGinley evincing a heightened presence in television once again, first on Aaron Sorkin's critically worshipped yet short-lived seriocomedy Sports Night (1998-1999), then as Charley Shanowski on the sitcom Hope & Faith (2003-2006). In 2008 he competed in the reality program Dancing With the Stars, and in 2010 he appeared in the lighthearted, family-friendly Christmas with a Capital C.

He would reach pop-culture immortality when the website Jumping the Shark named him as one of the signs that a TV show has run out of ideas.

Movie Highlights

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  • Was a surfer and lifeguard in high school.
  • Attended USC on a water-polo scholarship; also played for the U.S. Junior National water-polo team.
  • Began modeling in college (once posed with Sharon Stone for the label of a hair-coloring product); was spotted in GQ magazine by a Hollywood casting director, which led to his role (teacher Roger Phillips) on Happy Days in 1980.
  • Made his movie speaking debut in Happy Days creator Garry Marshall's 1982 comedy Young Doctors in Love.
  • Joined several popular shows toward the end of their runs, including Happy Days, The Love Boat, Dynasty and Married...With Children.
  • Appeared with his wife, Gigi Rice, in the 2004 TV-movie NTSB: The Crash of Flight 323.