Before They Were Stars: Ed O’Neill in “Popeye Doyle”

Well, here’s an obscure failed attempt to turn a famous movie into a television series. In 1986, Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, the hard-boiled New York cop portrayed so memorably by Gene Hackman in two French Connection movies, was resurrected and he would be played by… Al Bundy?! That’s right, shortly before landing his role onĀ Married with Children, an unknown Ed O’Neill was cast as the title character in a made-for-TV movie called Popeye Doyle. This was intended to be the pilot for a television series about Doyle, but alas, it never got picked up.

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