Tim Allen returns to sitcom-land next month as a macho family man on ABC’s “Last Man Standing.” Sound familiar? It should, since the role is highly reminiscent of his handyman dad Tim “The Toolman” Taylor on “Home Improvement.”
Question is: Where’s the rest of the Tim’s “Home Improvement” family nowadays? The truth is alternately touching and a tad strange…
First off, a heartwarming update: The cast recently reunited for an Entertainment Weekly photo-shoot, with Patricia Richardson (wife and mom Jill Taylor on the show) saying of her TV sons, “You know where you can pick up and it feels like no time has passed at all? And at the same time you look at them and say, ‘How can you possibly be that age because that makes me way old!’”
Patricia, now 60, stayed busy on TV after “Home Improvement” ended its run in 1999. One of her more high-profile credits includes a run on “West Wing” toward the end of that series’ run in 2005-06. This year, she acted in a TV-movie (“Brining Ashley Home”) and has two films (“Beautiful Wave” and “Avarice”) slated for release.
Patricia was excited to hang out with Jonathan Taylor Thomas (aka middle son Randy Taylor) at the recent photo-shoot reunion, EW says, because she and her fellow ex-castmates hadn’t seen much of him at all since he left “Improvement” in 1998. So, where’s the former teen heartthrob been all these years?
At Harvard, for one! People.com says he studied there in the early 2000s, then moved on to Columbia University, where he graduated under his legal name, Jonathan Weiss, in 2010. Now 30, his acting gigs after “Home Improvement” include guest-starring roles on “Ally McBeal,” “Smallville” and “8 Simple Rules,” though his last on-screen credit was in 2006.
Zachery Ty Bryan, who played oldest bro Brad Taylor, is now 29. His latest on-screen credit was in 2009, but prior to that his notable roles include guest spots on “ER,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Smallville.” He got engaged to girlfriend Carly Matros in 2005. Internet reports claim the couple wed in 2007.
The strangest post-“Improvement” tale might belong to the Taylor clan’s mild-mannered youngest son Mark, real name Taran Noah Smith. Now 27, Taran finished high school and enrolled in a college after “Home Improvement” ended. Here’s where it gets odd: In April 2000, while attending a party for his TV brother Zachery Ty Bryan, People.com says, 16-year-old Taran met his future wife: Heidi Van Pelt, a woman almost twice his age. They divorced in 2007.
Taran also once sought emancipation from his parents, who he accused of spending his sitcom earnings on a house and sailboat, as well as for paying bills. Taran’s lone TV credit following “Home Improvement” is a one-off voice role (“Patrick Poundstone/Rat Boy”) on the cartoon “Batman Beyond.”
Finally, even though they’re not technically members of the Taylor family, how could we leave out Tim’s sidekick Al and seemingly faceless next-door neighbor Wilson? Al, real name Richard Karn, is 56 and has enjoyed a steady stream of minor movie and TV guest-starring roles. Sadly, Earl Hindman (Wilson) passed away of lung cancer in 2003. He was 61.