Here’s the original actor chosen to play Wilson from the home improvement department, before being replaced by Earl Hindman. “Home Improvement” made Tim Allen one of the biggest TV stars of the 90s, and the sitcom instantly became a success for ABC. The success of the show also helped Allen break into the cinema, where he starred in hits with Santa Claus and voiced Buzz Lightyear in the series “Toy Story”. Popular since Tim Allen’s “Toolkit” Taylor was on home improvement, one can argue that the most memorable character was his closest neighbor Wilson.
Wilson could often be found in his backyard, ready to give wise advice to Tim or other family members to help resolve a given drama. A key feature of Wilson, who may be under witness protection, is that his face has always been covered by a garden fence, mask or some other comical device. Constantly hiding Wilson’s face in the “Home Improvement” program was Allen’s idea, since he had childhood memories of a neighbor whose face he never saw completely because he was hidden by the fence of their backyard.
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Wilson from “Home Improvement” was played by the character actor Earl Hindman, who brought real warmth and gentle humor to this role. During the sitcom, more details were revealed about Wilson’s life, including that he is a widower and has a doctorate. in forgotten languages and cultures. Hindman appeared in many films and shows before “Home Improvement”, where he showed his face, including “Taking Pelham One, Two, Three” and the TV series “Stories from the Dark Side”, but in the pre-Internet era, many viewers sincerely did not know what he looked like. Hiding Wilson’s face—aside from the finale of “Home Improvement”—was a major challenge for the original actor who played the role, John Bedford Lloyd.
The First Wilson from Home Improvement Didn’t Want His Face Hidden
Co-creator Matt Williams recalled the story of John Bedford Lloyd’s close casting in the 2015 documentary “The Story Behind: Home Improvement.” At the time, Lloyd was known for films such as James Cameron’s The Abyss and the cult horror ch.Ch.U.D., and Williams recalls explaining to the actor when he became Wilson’s leader that his face would be hidden throughout. Williams states that this seemed to be clear and understandable, but as soon as Lloyd received the pilot script, he and his agent were furious that the character would only be treated this way, and backed off.
Fortunately, this left room for Earl Hindman, who became Wilson of the home improvement department. This probably worked in favor of the sitcom, since Tim Allen, who VERY MUCH refused to participate in the 9th season of “Home Improvement”, and John Bedford Lloyd are close in age, while Hindman was ten years older and created a more relaxed atmosphere. Lloyd has been busy throughout his career, appearing in such TV series as “Los Angeles Law”, “Philadelphia”, “Force Majeure” and “Ozark”.