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Richard Karn | Home Improvement

Richard Karn

Character:Al Borland Number of Episodes:203 Birthday:February 17th, 1956 Birth Place:Seattle, WA


While the role of Al Borland on Home Improvement is Karn’s first screen credit, it’s far from his first acting job. After graduating from the University of Washington, he moved to Scotland where he learned acting at the Edinburgh Festival. Directly after completing his degree in theatre, he moved to New York where he landed a role in a commercial for Michelob beer, which premiered during the 1980 Super Bowl.

For the next ten years, he worked in theatre, even appearing in a play written by Carmen Finestra and David McFadzean (fact check this). By 1989, Karn had married, and his wife Tudi Roche (herself an actress who would go on to play Jill’s sister Carrie in later seasons of Home Improvement,) convinced Karn to move to Los Angeles.

To make ends meet, Karn found a job as an apartment manager and handyman, a job he would keep well into working on Home Improvement. And what about that coveted role of Al Borland? He discovered it while attending traffic school after running a stop sign. He was sat next to an agent, who let slip that he was working on a new show, and when Karn found out it was being produced by his former theatre directors (fact check), Finestra and McFadzean, he called them for an audition.

Initially, the producers brought Karn onto Home Improvement as a temporary replacement for Stephen Tobolowsky, who had originally be cast as Al. However, Tobolowsky’s 1991 movie schedule forced him to drop out of the role, making way for Karn to be brought onto the show full time.

Where Are They Now?

Karn’s post-Home Improvement career has been varied as he has bounced from television to film and back again, appearing in family friendly fare like Air Buddies, The Pooch and the Pauper, and MVP2: Most Vertical Primate, while also snagging a television appearance in That 70s Show.

In 2002, Richard Karn became the fourth host of the long-running television game show Family Feud, replacing comedy legend Louie Anderson, and, as host, even made an appearance in music video for indie-rock band The Strokes. In 2009, Karn landed a recurring role on the short-lived, but well-received TV series CTRL, and in 2013, he re-teamed with Tim Allen and director John Pasquin on two episodes of Last Man Standing.

Karn continues to work in both television and movies, as well as participating in charity functions.



Richard Karn was not nominated for Home Improvement.


Family Feud (2002-2006)

Bingo America (2008)

CTRL (2009)

Last Man Standing (2013)

Richard Karn

Richard Karn | Home Improvement

Richard Karn

Episode Cast

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