“Basically, everything that I would do in my outside life ended up in the Married… with Children script, whether it was my battle with zits or just growing up.” Not entirely upset that his real-life teenage antics were on display for the world to see and laugh over week after week throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, David Faustino has Married… with Children to thank for bringing him fortune and fame alongside his on-screen family Ed O’Neill, Katey Sagal and Christina Applegate. But, how exactly did the Los Angeles native land the part of Bud Bundy in what would become the Fox Network’s longest running live-action sitcom? Well, it all started when he was born into a show business family on March 3, 1974 in Los Angeles, California.
Making his acting debut at three months old as Lily Tomlin’s son in the 1974 Lily Tomlin Special, Faustino’s venture into acting wasn’t exactly out of character for the baby since his father was a costumer with the Western Costuming Company and his aunts and uncles were dancers in films. “I just sort of fell into it. My older brother really started it off: he started in commercials and my sister fell into it for a while, so it was all just a natural progression. We all just made our way through it a little bit, but it was something I really excelled at and did well on auditions and ended up working a lot,” Faustino said of his official venture into acting at six years old in 1980 when he landed a small part in an episode of Little House on the Prairie.
Even as a child, Faustino enjoyed every part of working on television and spent the next few years making appearances in popular series like Trapper John, M.D.; Fantasy Island; Family Ties; The Love Boat; St. Elsewhere; and Highway to Heaven as well as in made-for-television film like In the Custody of Strangers. In 1982, he made his feature film debut as Martin in Neil Simon’s I Ought to Be in Pictures and followed up his performance the following year as Tony Hardin in The Star Chamber before he was cast as Corwin Davis in Mister Boogedy and Bride of Boogedy in 1986 and 1987, respectively.
With plenty of experience under his belt, Faustino was anxious to find staying power on primetime television and thought he’d found it when he first auditioned for a new sitcom on Fox called Married… with Children. However, producers chose another actor to play Bud Bundy for the pilot, which perplexed Faustino so much that he fired his agent and hired a new agent who heard rumors that the casting directors weren’t impressed with the original casting of the Bundy children. That’s when Faustino was able to sneak back in and, after four meetings and a reading opposite Christina Applegate, he finally won the part of Bud Bundy, a troublemaker turned get-rich-quick schemer who enjoyed annoying his sister and attempted to pick up girls with alter egos like “Grandmaster B.” Coincidentally, Grandmaster B was a parody of Faustino’s own interest in hip hop and his failed attempts as a rapper after opening the first hip hop nightclub on the Sunset Strip in 1991 known as Ballistyx, which Faustino named after his rap album.
“The writers were definitely running it, but they were the coolest cast,” Faustino said of the birth of Grandmaster B. “We all got along, like we were really cool and it was a really easygoing set. But that was a little bit of a collaboration, just in that they knew how much of a hip hop head I was. And at that time, no one else on the set really was. Like, no one else was really feeling hip hop yet, it wasn’t mainstream at all. So, they all felt I was weird ‘cause I would bring hip hop cats around—people would come visit, from just different deejays or whoever and they were like, ‘What’s this kid doing?’ They didn’t really understand it that much but they found a way to kind of poke fun at it and Grandmaster B was their attempt…”
Not only was Grandmaster B a huge hit, but the entire Married… with Children storyline left audiences wanting more of Al, Peggy, Kelly and Bud week after week throughout the show’s decade-long run from 1987 to 1997, which made it Fox’s longest-running live-action sitcom in network history. Of course, it also made Faustino and his costars household names as Faustino carried Bud over for cameos in popular series like Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, The Earth Day Special, and Top of the Heap while Faustino himself made appearances in Blossom, CBS Schoolbreak Special, Dead Man’s Island and Madtv as well as in films like Perfect Harmony and Kiss & Tell.
After wrapping up Married… with Children in 1997, Faustino bounced around television with credits in The New Addams Family, Nash Bridges, and The X-Files before he joined his former costars for the Married… with Children Reunion special in 2003. He also attempted to rekindle his rap career and adopted “D Lil” as his rap name but the attempt was unsuccessful, which Faustino recently admitted. “I’m one of those dudes where I know that nothing can be changed,” he said. “What you did, you did, it is what it is, and the world sort of unfolds as it will… the opportunity was there to do a record, it presented itself… but the bottom line is that I wasn’t ready to do that. I wasn’t even close to ready.”
Only recently finding the courage to return to rap and emceeing, the 43-year-old is a little more cautious these days saying, “I just sort of got sucked back into the game… I always knew I was going to jump back in some way, somehow, to really knowing how it was going to happen and knowing I’m getting old and that the idea of me ever actually having a real rap career starts to diminish daily.” And, while we haven’t heard much from Faustino on the rap front, he seems to have found his niche as a voice actor with credits as Theseus in The Path of Atticus, as Fox in The Batman, as Hella in Winx Club, and as Mako in The Legend of Korra. Beyond that, his most recent credits include voicing Dagur the Deranged in DreamWorks Dragons with cameos in Modern Family, Bones, and Sharknado: The 4th Awakens as well as a recurring role as Howard Green on The Young and the Restless, which he certainly has the looks for despite the daytime soap opera being a far cry from the drama that unfolded with the Bundys over two decades ago!