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Omg, Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill almost joined the mob before making it as an actor

‘I had friends in organised crime’

Obviously, we know Ed O’Neill as the grumpy but loveable Jay Pritchard from Modern Family. Husband to Gloria, step-dad to Manny, father to Joe, Mitchell and Clare. A wholesome head of the family, with grandkids, great grandkids and a serious love for his French Bulldog Stella— but the actor almost became a criminal before his acting career took off.

“I had friends in organised crime,” he told his former co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson on the  “Dinner on Me” podcast this week. Referring to his old friend called Jim, he continued: “[Jim] called me and said ‘Hey take a ride with me. I want to talk to you…We’re driving and he said, ‘How you doing? You know, you, you got cut, you got no money,’… I said, ‘No, I’m broke. You know, I don’t know what I’m going to do.'”

Jim then took Ed to a fancy restaurant he never would have normally visited to continue their chat: “He started talking to the bartender,” Ed explained. “He says, ‘I’m looking for this kid, his name is whatever, Demko, his name is Jimmy Demko, do you know him?’ And the guy says, ‘No, it doesn’t ring a bell.’

“He gives him 20, and he says, ‘Look, he’s an old friend of mine, I haven’t seen him in years, you know, I’m looking to reconnect, but I’d like to surprise him. So if he comes in again, this is my, you can call this number. You can reach me.'”

When the pair left the bar, Jimmy then offered Ed a job: “We left and he said, ‘You can do this kind of stuff for me, you know, I’ll protect you, I’ll give you easy stuff. Just you collect here. You do that. You run, you drop something off here and there. You know, you may have to lean on a guy. You’re good at that. You can make some good money,’” he said.

“I said, ‘Let me think about it, Jim. Cause I’m, I don’t know. I might be leaving town to pursue this acting thing.'”

When Ed got home, his father said he’d seen him talking to Jimmy. “‘I just want to ask you a question. Can you do time [in prison]?’” his dad asked. ‘You couldn’t do time. You’d have a hard time being in jail, right?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t think I could do time.’ He said, ‘OK.”

And instead of joining the mob, Ed headed to New York to pursue his acting career and became a star within months.

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