Ed O’Neill visits Vindy radio

Youngstown favorite son Ed O’Neill turns 73 this spring, and is as active – and adventurous – as ever in his acting efforts.

His hit TV show, “Modern Family,” will have an 11th and final season next year. He is set for two movie roles this spring and summer. He just did the narrating for a crime-based podcast, “The Undercovers.”

And most outrageous, he starred in a “Weird City” episode. It is a YouTube TV miniseries created by Jordan Peele, who directed the 2017 hit movie “Get Out.” It also marked a first in O’Neill’s career: a male romantic encounter.

O’Neill visits us over the phone a couple times per year, and last week was a chance for one of those visits as he talked with me and radio host Louie Free. The chats are always fun.

He’s always eager to talk old Youngstown tales, such as the Golden Dawn, and riff a bit on current things, such as GM Lordstown. We ask him about the latest with Hollywood, and he obliges us with that, too.

The hour of talk is available for a listen on vindy.com. Scroll down to the bottom left of the home page to our Vindy Talk Radio podcast section. You will see it there.

Here’s a quick recap:

On “Modern Family”: “We’re still the No. 1 scripted show for ABC. We’re not as strong as we were. But we’re still making money. There’s an age bracket [TV companies] like to get a good number on – like age 14-46.” The show does well there. With a laugh, he said: “They don’t care about old people like me. We don’t spend the money.”

Killing off a “Modern Family” character this past season: “Everyone thought it was going to be me.”

Boots Bell, legendary Youngstown radio disc jockey for station WHOT: “He was as good as anybody ever was, I think. In fact, I just called Cleveland Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. I got this gal on the phone. I want to put Boots up for the hall of fame. She wasn’t very helpful. So I’m going to try another way around that.”

O’Neill has a Blackthorn walking stick that Boots gave him back in the 1980s when O’Neill first moved to New York City.

On working crime movies and knowing the undercover agents featured in his new podcast work: “I admire these undercover agents. You have to have special genetic qualities – like test pilots or guys who take bombs apart. I can’t do that. I’d say ‘Are you kidding me?’”

On the new YouTube project, “Weird City,” which involves O’Neill kissing his male co-star, Dylan O’Brien. O’Neill was unflinching in his beliefs: He has never had a problem with what people do in their bedrooms; to each their own; do we really know how we were born to be? Gay? Straight? How we are is something we have no control over, he said.

The male kiss scene was a first for both actors.

“I said, ‘Now look – this is one take, right?’ I told Dylan, ‘There can only be one driver here. I’m the old guy. I’m gonna drive.

“The kiss will be as long as I want it to be. And if you put your tongue in my mouth, I will strangle you on the spot.”

You can hear the full hour of fun, life, politics and Hollywood on vindy.com.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at tfranko@vindy.com. He blogs, too, on vindy.com. Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.