Ted McGinley is an accomplished actor, having appeared in dozens of television series and films since the 1970's. He is also known as the "patron saint" of jumping the shark, because (largely through no fault of his own) introductions of characters played by him have played a part in the downhill slide and eventual cancellation of at least six television series to date. Besides this, he also has played major characters in several significant box office disappointments, leading some to believe that Ted McGinley may be the most unlucky actor alive.
Ted was born in Newport Beach, California in 1958. He was a minor stage actor on the Los Angeles theater scene until he caught his major break in 1980 as Roger Phillips, a new character on the TV series Happy Days. His first appearance came in the same season as the very moment that defines the term jump the shark: Fonzie and Richie's trip to Los Angeles in which Fonzie went water skiing and jumped over a shark. Shortly after, Ron Howard left the cast, leaving the series without their central character, Richie Cunningham, and the series slowly slid downhill.
His next significant television acting job was on the TV series The Love Boat, where he portrayed photographer Ashley Covington Evans (yes, with the initials ACE) during the last two years of the rapidly failing series. He then moved on to the role of Clay in the TV series Dynasty, which was still going strong; however, he was only brought in to fill a hole left by the horribly failed spinoff of Dynasty, The Colbys; as soon as that show tanked, the original characters were restored, and Ted left the show. After this disaster, Dynasty only lasted another two seasons.
His most famous television role was perhaps as next door neighbor (and widely hated character) Jefferson D'Arcy on the television series Married With Children, starting in the fifth season and lasting until the end of the series' run in 1997.
In the interim, Ted appeared in the third and fourth installments of the Revenge of the Nerds series, the third Major League movie, Major League III: Back to the Minors, and several made-for-television movies. His most recent movie role was in the box office disaster Pearl Harbor; although it made a profit, it was a strong disappointment in terms of how much it did make.
Some of his more recent television appearances include that of the recurring character Gordon on the cancelled series Sports Night and Karl Reese on the cancelled series The John Larroquette Show, bringing the total of cancelled series in which McGinley was brought in as a new or recurring character to six.
He is currently appearing as the recurring character Michael Hale on the television series The Practice, which is in danger of cancellation due to poor ratings. He also has a minor recurring character on The West Wing, Mark Gottfried.
In terms of bringing success to films and television shows, Ted McGinley may be the most unsuccessful actor alive.