The family sitcom “Home Improvement” aired for eight seasons and 204 episodes between 1991 and 1999. By the end of the ABC show’s run, many fans felt like Tim Taylor (Tim Allen), his wife, Jill (Patricia Richardson), and their three sons were part of their own families, which made saying goodbye quite difficult. May 25 will mark 20 years since the show wrapped, so you might be wondering what the actors who played the Taylors, members of the “Tool Time” team and other recurring characters are currently up to and what they’ve been doing in the meantime. With that, here is the “Home Improvement” edition of ‘where are they now?’
After years of performing stand-up and virtually no acting roles, Tim Allen was cast in the family sitcom “Home Improvement” as the main character and patriarch, Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. The role helped launch his career, and at one point in 1994 Allen simultaneously starred in one of the most popular shows on TV (“Home Improvement”), starred in the highest-grossing film at the box office (“The Santa Clause”) and had a New York Times Bestseller (“Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man”). Allen went on to star in movies like “Jungle to Jungle” (1997), “Galaxy Quest” (1999), “Christmas with the Kranks” (2004), “Wild Hogs” (2007) and all three of the “Toy Story” films. He currently helms and produces “Last Man Standing,” an ABC sitcom that began in 2011 and was canceled in 2017, only to be revived by Fox in 2018. You can also hear Allen once again voicing Buzz Lightyear in “Toy Story 4,” which is set for a June 21 release.
Patricia Richardson had starred in sitcoms like “Eisenhower & Lutz” and “FM” earlier in her career, but it was the recommendation of a former college classmate that landed her the role as Jill Taylor on “Home Improvement” — which eventually earned Richardson two Golden Globe and four Emmy nominations. Richardson later starred in the Lifetime series “Strong Medicine,” had a recurring role on “The West Wing” and even cameoed in two episodes of “Last Man Standing” with Tim Allen. Last year, Richardson appeared in the musical “Still Waiting in the Wings” and the TV movies “Dayworld” and “A Christmas in Tennessee.” Earlier this year, she also starred in the comedy-drama film “Cubby” and currently serves on the boards for both Cure PSP and the national and local Los Angeles boards of SAG-AFTRA.
Brad, the oldest and often most troublesome of the three Taylor boys, was played by Zachery Ty Bryan. During “Home Improvement,” Bryan found regular work in films like “First Kid” (1996) and “The Rage: Carrie 2” (1999), as well as shows like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Picket Fences” and “Promised Land.” He acted for another decade after the sitcom wrapped with some 30 roles — mostly short stints or one-offs on shows like “Touched by an Angel,” “Boston Public,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Smallville” and “Burn Notice.” He has not logged an acting credit since playing Thor in the 2009 TV movie “Thor: Hammer of the Gods.” This is likely because the 37-year-old and his wife just welcomed their fourth child in March. However, Bryan said in a recent interview that he’s working on a project with Macaulay Culkin and one of his “Home Improvement" co-stars. (More on that shortly!)
While starring in “Home Improvement” as the witty and mischievous middle son Randy — and subsequently appearing in films like “The Lion King” (1994) as young Simba, “Tom and Huck” (1995) as Tom Sawyer and the titular character in “Pinocchio” (1996) — Jonathan Taylor Thomas became one of the biggest teenage heartthrobs of the ‘90s. However, Thomas left the sitcom halfway through the eighth and final season to focus on academics (in the story he was studying abroad in Costa Rica), and graduated with honors from Chaminade College Preparatory School in 2000. He worked sporadically until 2006 and also attended Harvard University, St. Andrew's University in Scotland and Columbia University, earning a degree from the latter in 2010. Thomas had a small role on “Last Man Standing” from 2013 to 2015, but he prefers to work behind the camera nowadays, and the 37-year-old has recently been collaborating on an unnamed project with fellow former child stars Zachery Ty Bryan and Macaulay Culkin.
Aside from playing the youngest Taylor son, Mark, from 1991-1999, you can count Taran Noah Smith’s acting credits on one hand. He was in the 1995 TV movie “Ebbie,” a 1997 episode of “7th Heaven,” the 1998 film “Little Bigfoot 2: The Journey Home” and voiced a character in a 1999 episode of “Batman Beyond.” Since then he quit acting, sued his parents for spending his money (but later dropped the suit), got married, started a vegan restaurant, had a kid, got divorced and was arrested for DUI and drug possession in 2012. Smith seems to be doing well nowadays, as “Inside Edition” reported in 2017 that he was helping to rebuild Texas homes destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.
Tim’s advice-giving neighbor Wilson (full name Wilson Wilson Jr., played by Earl Hindman) was most famous for a running gag where the bottom half of his face was always covered by the fence that separates his yard and Tim’s yard, or otherwise obscured by some other object. Hindman appeared in all but one episode of the sitcom, which was pretty much his only acting role from 1991-1999. After the show wrapped, Hindman had small parts on the TV shows “Deadline, “Law & Order” and “Law & Order Criminal Intent,” as well as the films “Hopewell” (2000) and “Final” (2001). The longtime actor — whose career dated back to 1967 and included credits in “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” (1974) and the shows “The Doctors” and “Ryan’s Hope”— died of lung cancer at the age of 61 in 2003.
Getting cast as “Tool Time” co-host Al Borland, the straight man to Allen’s comedic character, was Richard Karn’s just second acting role. He ended up appearing in almost every episode of “Home Improvement,” and the notoriety earned him steady work ever since on series like “That ‘70s Show,” “Ctrl,” “Last Man Standing” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” as well as a surprisingly large number of animal-centric films, including (but not limited to) “MVP: Most Vertical Primate” (2001), “Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch” (2002), “Air Buddies” (2006), “A Dog for Christmas” (2015), “The Horse Dancer” (2017) and “Amanda and the Fox” (2018). Karn’s best-known gig after “Home Improvement,” however, was hosting “Family Feud” from 2002-2006. He can currently be seen on the Hulu comedy “PEN15.”
The first “Tool Girl” to assist Tim and Al on “Tool Time,” Lisa (Pamela Anderson) primarily appeared in Seasons 1 and 2. A former Playboy Playmate of the Month, Anderson left “Home Improvement” in 1992 when she landed her now-iconic role as C.J. on “Baywatch” for five seasons. Anderson has stayed busy with various roles on TV and in film, with the household name often playing herself. After splitting from husband Tommy Lee in 1998, she went on to marry and divorce both Kid Rock and Rick Salomon and has been in a relationship with French footballer Adil Rami since 2017. The outspoken PETA and Green New Deal advocate still acts occasionally, with recent roles on the mini-series “Sur-Vie” and in the French action-comedy “Nicky Larson et le parfum de Cupidon” (2018).
When Pamela Anderson departed, Lisa was replaced by Heidi, a master electrician and “Tool Girl” played by Debbe Dunning. Dunning stayed from Season 3 until the show's end, with her role increasing in the later seasons. During her time on “Home Improvement,” Dunning could also be seen in episodes of “Tales from the Crypt,” “Baywatch” and “Boy Meets World” and added credits in “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and “Wicked Wicked Games” after the final season. Dunning has mostly been focusing on charity work and her family lately, as she has three kids with two-time gold medal-winning volleyball player Steve Timmons, to whom Dunning was married from 1997 to 2018.
Coming into “Home Improvement,” William O’Leary’s resume included playing Jimmy in the 1988 sports classic “Bull Durham” and a recurring role on “Dear John” from 1991-1992. O’Leary was cast as Tim’s younger brother, Marty, beginning in Season 4 and logged some 30 episodes while also appearing on shows like “Murder, She Wrote” and “Chicago Hope,” as well as the films “Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh” (1995) and “Mad City” (1997). He would later add another 20 shows, including minor roles on “The X-Files,” “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch,” “NYPD Blue,” “CSI: Miami,” “The West Wing,” “24” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Most recently O’Leary voiced a main character in the 2019 animated film “The Legend of Joan of Arc.”
When Tim Taylor wasn’t at home or work, he was likely hanging out at Harry’s Hardware, a small business owned by Harry Turner (Blake Clark). Clark was 50 when cast in “Home Improvement,” coming in with credits in “M*A*S*H,” “Moonlighting,” “Newhart,” “Who’s the Boss?” “Boy Meets World” and the films “St. Elmo’s Fire” (1985) and “Ladybugs” (1992) — to name just a small sample. Since the end of “Home Improvement,” Clark has had a busy career but is probably best known for appearing in almost every Adam Sandler movie, from “Little Nicky” (2000) and “Mr. Deeds” (2002) to “That’s My Boy” (2012) and “The Ridiculous 6” (2015). Clark can currently be seen on Showtime playing Joe in the comedy series “SMILF” and will be voicing Slinky Dog (a character he inherited after friend Jim Varney’s death in 2000) in “Toy Story 4” later this year.
Sherry Hursey played Ilene Markham, an orthodontist who gets engaged to Al. However, on their wedding day the two decide to amicably call it off, limiting Hursey to just 16 episodes. After “Home Improvement,” the actress made the rounds on “NYPD Blue,” “CSI,” “JAG” and “Nip/Tuck,” but she put her acting on pause after starring in the 2010 TV movie “Lilly’s Light.” However, Hursey revived her career (which dates back to 1975) by providing her voice to Guillermo del Toro’s ongoing Netflix animated series “Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia” from 2016-2018 and will appear in the upcoming sports drama “Underdog” later this year.
Mickey Jones played Pete Bilker, one of the K&B Construction workers occasionally featured on “Tool Time” and “Home Improvement” in general, and he was the owner of the pseudo-catchphrase, “that would be me.” Jones was originally a drummer for the likes of Johnny Rivers, Bob Dylan and Kenny Rogers and added to that a 20-year acting career before even joining Tim Allen’s sitcom. After the show ended, Jones could be seen on the TV shows “JAG,” “Son of the Beach,” “Entourage,” “Workaholics,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and “Justified” as well as a dozen films. Sadly, Jones passed away due to complications from diabetes in 2018 at the age of 76.
Another of the K&B Construction guys was Rock Flanagan, best remembered as the loud and enthusiastic one who refers to Tim Taylor as “Timmy.” Rock was played by veteran actor Casey Sander, whose bread and butter has been playing cops, soldiers, firefighters and guards. After his dozen appearances on “Home Improvement,” Sander made his rounds on countless shows and in numerous movies, most notably playing Chief Connors in the “Mystery Woman” franchise, Frank Connell on “Las Vegas,” Charlie Weaver on “Justified” and Mike Rostenkowski (Bernadette’s father) on “The Big Bang Theory.” Most recently Sander, now 62, had a small role in Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice.”
Remember Betsy Randle’s time on “Home Improvement”? She was Jill’s feminist friend and a foil to Tim’s macho energy for the first two seasons of the show. Randle was ticketed to continue on the series, but her character had to be written off (explained as a move to California) so the actress could take the role for which she is now best known: Cory Matthews’ mother, Amy, on “Boy Meets World.” Randle continued working after that show ended in 2000, including a regular role on “Charmed,” but she retired in 2004. It took the spin-off/reboot “Girl Meets World” to bring Randle back to showbiz in 2014. Since then she has also appeared in the films “Dirty 30” (2016), “My Little Girl is Gone” (2018) and “Painter” (2018).