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Ted McGinley Biography

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Birth Name: Ted McGinley
Born: 05/30/1958
Birth Place: Newport Beach, California, USA

Born on May 30, 1958 in Newport Beach, CA, McGinley was a surfer and lifeguard while attending Newport Harbor High School. After graduating, he matriculated at the University of Southern California, where he dipped his t into a modeling career. But his appearances in sporting goods ads cost him his water polo scholarship - the university claimed that he had violated NCAA endorsement rules, forcing him to leave college and move to New York, where he began modeling in earnest. He landed several advertisements, including one on the box cover of Sun-In hair lightener - an appropriate campaign, given his all-American "Malibu Ken"-type looks. Making the segue to acting, McGinley made his onscreen debut with a bit part as a jogger in the romantic drama, "Valentine" (ABC, 1979). In 1980, he was discovered by television producer Garry Marshall, who cast the fledgling performer in his hit series, "Happy Days." Introduced after Ron Howard left the show, McGinley settled into the role of Roger Phillips, the nephew of the Cunninghams, as well as a coach and teacher at Jefferson High.

Though McGinley remained on the show for its last four seasons, "Happy Days" was already in the midst of a decline. Meanwhile, he made his feature film debut with a small role in "Young Doctors in Love" (1982), then made a more lasting impression in the comedy classic, "Revenge of the Nerds" (1984), playing über-jock Stanley Gables, head of the Alpha Beta fraternity that wages war against the nerd frat, Lambda Lambda Lambda. After "Happy Days" left the airwaves, McGinley joined "The Love Boat" as the new cruise director, Ashley "Ace" Covington-Evans, filling the hole left behind by Lauren Tewes, who was forced off the show because of her cocaine addiction. In 1986, he joined "Dynasty" (ABC, 1980-89), another long-running series winding down to its final days. Only on for one season, McGinley played Clay Fallmont, the son of Senator Buck Fallmont (Richard Anderson) who romances Amanda Carrington (Catherine Oxenberg) and winds up marrying Sammy Jo (Heather Locklear), only to skip town when it is revealed he might be related to Ben Carrington (Christopher Cazenove).

Already apparent on McGinley's résumé was his knack for joining successful series well past their prime. He reprised "Ace" Convington for a series of made-for-television movies, including "The Love Boat: Who Killed Max Thorn?" (ABC, 1986), "The Love Boat: The Shipshape Cruise" (ABC, 1986) and "The Love Boat: The Christmas Cruise" (ABC, 1986). After an episode of "Perfect Strangers" (ABC, 1985-1993), he played Mitch Slade in the made-for-television movies "Die Laughing" (ABC, 1989) and "Auntie Sue" (ABC, 1989), both of which showcased Burt Reynolds as New Orleans private investigator B.L. Stryker who returns to his native Florida to solve high-end crimes. He made a cameo as himself in "Troop Beverly Hills" (1989), then returned to regular series work to join the cast of "Married With Children," playing Jefferson D'Arcy, the lazy, money-hungry second husband of Al Bundy's (Ed O'Neil) neighbor and chief nemesis, Marcy D'Arcy (Amanda Bearse). For six seasons, McGinley essayed the role of a scheming, do-nothing gigolo who constantly persuades a typically game Al to participate in all manner of dubious, far-fetched, money-making plots that were destined to fail miserably from the start.

Even though McGinley was on "Married With Children" for more than half its network run, he began earning the reputation for aiding the inevitable slide any series experiences after being on the air too long. Unfortunately, McGinley typically joined a series well past its creative peak, which targeted him as the reason for that show's decline. In 1997, former University of Michigan student Jon Hein created the website, which allowed visitors to vote on an episode or event that marked a particular show's initial slide into mediocrity. The site's name referred to the infamous "Happy Days" episode in 1977, where Fonzie (Henry Winkler) mimicked Evel Knievel by jumping over a group of penned-in sharks on water skis. Though that series went on to air over 100 more episodes - some of which co-starred McGinley - Fonzie's stunt proved to be the moment when the writers' creative juices finally dried up. As for McGinley, his penchant for joining a show after its peak led Hein to consider him the patron saint of "jumping the shark." "Chances are that if Ted is anywhere near your cast, consider the show on the downward spiral," Hein said on his site. "[But] that's not to take away from Ted's fine acting skills."

During his run on "Married With Children," McGinley reprised the role of Stan Gable for "Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation" (Fox, 1992) and "Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love" (Fox, 1994). Following an episode of "The John Larroquette Show" (NBC, 1993-97) and the cyber-thriller "Deadly Web" (NBC, 1996), McGinley had a recurring role during the first season of "Sports Night" (ABC, 1998-2000), then landed two episodes on the short-lived lawyer sitcom, "Work With Me" (CBS, 1999-2000). He then joined the cast of "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006) for its second season, playing talk show Mark Gottfried on the fictional gabfest, "Capital Beat." Though he appeared in small roles for feature films, including "Dick" (1999), "The Big Tease" (2000) and "Pearl Harbor" (2001), McGinley kept his focus squarely on television. In 2003, he starred on the sitcom "Hope & Faith" (ABC, 2003-06), playing the orthodontist husband of a housewife (Faith Ford) who takes in her former soap opera diva sister (Kelly Ripa), much to his constant dismay. After that series came and went, McGinley voiced a character on several episodes of "Family Guy" (Fox, 1998- ) before it was announced that he would join season seven of "Dancing With the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ), showcasing his moves on the dance floor as a celebrity contestant partnered with dance professional, Inna Brayer.