A ’90s TV Sitcom Love Story
Richard Karn’s legacy when it comes to memorable and recurring television show gigs includes the role of Al Borland on ABC sitcom Home Improvement and his run as Louie Anderson’s replacement on the syndicated game show Family Feud.
Beyond those iconic roles, Karn’s appeared on TV shows Boy Meets World, That ’70s Show, Detroiters and Pen15 and filled other game show host roles, most notably for the Game Show Network’s Bingo America. “America’s Favorite Handyman” has even rejoined Tim Allen on episodes of Last Man Standing. Per IMDB, Karn’s appearances in TV films include Picture Perfect (1995) and Check Inn to Christmas (2019). Other films of note include Sex and the Teenage Mind (2002) and The Horse Dancer (2017).
Through it all, he’s stayed loyal to his first and only wife, Tudi Roche.
Karn has been married to Roche since 1985. The couple has one son, Cooper Karn Wilson.
Less is known about Karn’s wife Tudi, except that she, too, appeared on Home Improvement as Jill Taylor’s sister, Carrie. An ideal casting, as Tudi resembles Patricia Richardson.
Tudi, born July 19, 1955, has at least three Broadway shows to her credit, plus the voice of Bernice Krupp in The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants.
As for Karn, he was born Richard Karn Wilson on Feb. 17, 1956 in Seattle. The graduate of Roosevelt High School gained acting experience at the University of Washington and in Scotland at the Edinburgh Festival.
Since there was already a Richard Wilson in the Screen Actor’s Guild, Karn dropped his full name.
Before making history as a Home Improvement cast member and the fourth host of Family Feud, Karn got his big break through a Michelob commercial that aired during the 1980 Super Bowl.
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Per an Entertainment Weekly article from 1991, Karn and his family lived at a Los Angeles-area apartment complex he managed during the first season of Home Improvement. After a massively successful first year as Al Borland, a role originally given to American actor Stephen Tobolowsky, the Karn family moved on up to a four-bedroom house in Studio City.
“It still feels surreal,” the Seattle-bred son of architect Gene Wilson told Entertainment Weekly. “My dad’s become a minor celebrity among his friends, but he still sees me as the little boy who bends nails every time he picks up a hammer.”