• Richard Karn Wilson is an actor and TV show host born in Seattle on 17th February 1956
• His parents were a construction worker (father) and a painter (mother)
• He attended the University of Washington and was part of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity
• He got his first role in a beer commercial and moved to New York and Los Angeles to pursue his acting career
• His net worth is estimated to be over $8 million from his career in the entertainment industry

Known for movies

Short Info

Date Of BirthFebruary 17, 1956
SpouseTudi Roche
MarkRaspy Voice
FactWas not the original actor chosen to be Al on Home Improvement. Strphen Tobolowsky was originally cast and Richard filled in as a favor to the directors in the pilot when Stephen wasn't available. Once Stephen decided to pursue a movie career Richard agreed to stay on as Al.

Who is Richard Karn?

Richard Karn Wilson was born on the 17th February 1956, in Seattle, Washington State, USA. He is a game and TV show host and an actor, who is probably best recognized for his appearances predominantly in sitcoms and TV series, such as “Home Improvement”, “Ctrl”, “Watching Ellie” and “The Bold and the Beautiful”. In addition, he is well known for being a host of several successful TV and game shows such as “Amanda and the Fox” and “Family Feud”.

Early Life and Childhood

Richard is the second child of Louise and Gene Wilson. His father was a construction worker, but also a soldier who fought in World War II which had an impact on Richard as his father was always firm and thought him to be the same. His mother was a tender and artistic woman who was a painter, and who brought the necessary balance into the family – she died of cancer in 1983. Karn has an older sister named Sue Wilson. The only other thing known about his childhood is that he knew from a very early age that acting would be his greatest passion – he enjoyed making-up stories and playing them for his sister and parents.

Later on, all of his extra-curricular activities involved acting and public performances, so he was engaged in a great number of local theatrical organisations and programs.


Following the matriculation from primary school, he started attending Roosevelt High School, located in his hometown. Richard explained in several interviews that by then he was pretty sure what he wanted his profession to be and what he enjoyed the most, so he put all his energy in acting. He continued being involved with local amateur theatres, taking parts in various plays whenever he had enough time.

Richard Karn

After he matriculated from high school with good grades, he enrolled in the University of Washington. He was always proactive and participated in numerous events and organizations, including being a part of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Moreover, he took part in the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, where he got a chance to gain significant acting experience.

Career Beginnings

He graduated in 1979 with a degree in drama which led him to his first job on screen – a commercial for a beer named Michelob. He then moved to New York to pursue a career in acting, believing that it would be much easier to find the job there.

However, after several commercials and parts in a couple of plays, he stopped getting offers and struggled to pay rent, even though he joined an organization called Screen Actors Guild which gave him hope that he would do better in the entertainment industry. He needed to change his last name, as there was already an actor with the same name as him, so he chose Karn instead of Wilson, and moved to Los Angeles, as everybody knew that there were a lot more opportunities for actors.

He desperately needed any kind of job just to make ends meet in his first months there, so he became a manager of an apartment complex, as well as a caterer at a local synagogue. In addition, he enrolled into a traffic school where he met an agent who told him about a new TV series entitled “Home Improvement”, and encouraged him to audition.

Acting Career

The role of Al had already been given to another actor, so Richard got a minor role in the series’ pilot, however, the other actor cancelled, so the producers offer Karn one of the leading roles, which helped him gain a lot of the public’s attention.

As the series aired between 1991 and 1999, and became more popular each year, Richard didn’t have much time and energy to take part in many other projects, but he did make guest appearances in several TV series such as “Carol and Company”, “Burke’s Law” and “Soul Man”. He subsequently starred in the role of Agent Dainville in the 2000 TV movie “The Pooch and the Pauper”, and played Ollie Plant in the comedy “Most Vertical Primate” (2001). Between 2001 and 2008, he was cast as Theo in the popular TV series “The 70’s Show”, appeared in the comedy “Sex and the Teenage Mind” as well as in “Air Buddies”, “Reality School” and many more.

In 2009, he featured as Arthur Piller in the TV series “Ctrl” which was another big project in his career, adding a significant amount to his net worth. His next major role was playing Shane Bingham in the romantic comedy “Head Over Spurs in Love”, which was followed by his portrayals of Perry Merrow in the movie “Gordon Family Tree”, and Jim in the film “Stars Are Already Dead”.

Career as a Host

Besides being an actor, Karn was always interested in becoming a host, as he felt that he had charisma, talent and ideas to share with the audience and other stars, so he landed a job as a host for the 4th season of the game show called “Family Feud”. After four years he needed to step down because of numerous acting projects he got involved with. However, he missed the job so much that after a couple of years he decided to clear his acting schedule and go back to being a host, this time of the game show “Bingo America”. In addition, he tried himself in radio hosting as well, being a substitute host for GSN Radio.

Personal Life and Net Worth

Richard has been married to singer and actress Tudi Roche since 1985 – they met and fell in love long before either of them became famous. They were colleagues on his first major project “Home Improvement”, and welcomed their only child, a son they named Cooper, in 1992 while still filming it. Speaking about his wealth, it is estimated by authoritative sources that Richard counts his net worth at over $8 million, as of mid-2019, largely from a career in the entertainment industry now spanning almost 40 years.

General Info

Full NameRichard Karn
Date Of BirthFebruary 17, 1956
ProfessionGame Show Host, Actor
EducationRoosevelt High School, University of Washington


SpouseTudi Roche
ChildrenCooper Karn Wilson
ParentsLouise Wilson, Gene Wilson
SiblingsSue Wilson


AwardsTV Land Fan Favorite Award
MoviesSnow Buddies, Air Buddies, Sex and the Teenage Mind, Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch, MVP: Most Vertical Primate, Bram Stoker's Legend of the Mummy, Picture Perfect, Mr. Blue Sky
TV ShowsCtrl, Bingo America, Home Improvement, Family Feud

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
3Raspy Voice
4Always wears Button-Down shirts or LumberJack outfits


1(Commenting on the death of his mother, who succumbed to cancer in 1983): "I thought my parents were invincible. It never occurred to me she would die."


1Was not the original actor chosen to be Al on Home Improvement. Strphen Tobolowsky was originally cast and Richard filled in as a favor to the directors in the pilot when Stephen wasn't available. Once Stephen decided to pursue a movie career Richard agreed to stay on as Al.
2Richard and Casey Sander attended Nathan Eckstein Junior High School in Seattle together, though Richard was a year behind.
3His son, Cooper, goes to Campbell Hall. This school was also once attended by Andy Garcia's children, Denzel Washington's daughter (Olivia), Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen and Andrew Lawrence.
4Graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington and was often a part of the drama program there.
5His father Gene is a retired building contractor.
6His mother Louise was a painter; she died of bone marrow cancer in 1983.
7His last name is omitted from his stage name because it was discovered that the Screen Actors Guild already had an actor by the name of Richard Wilson.
8Is a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity from University of Washington
9Worked as an apartment building manager prior to his success on Home Improvement (1991), and even maintained that job during the show's first season until he knew that Home Improvement would be successful.
10Graduated University of Washington with B.F.A. from the Professional Actors Training Program.
11Has one son, Cooper Karn (b. 1992).
12His wife, Tudi Roche, periodically appears on Home Improvement (1991) as Jill's sister.




The Horse Dancer2017post-productionJerry
F*&% the Prom2017post-productionMurphy
Stars Are Already Dead2016/IcompletedJim
Amanda and the Fox2016Judge Weartherbee
Christmas Land2015TV MovieMason Richards
A Dog for Christmas2015Santa
A Perfect Christmas List2014TV MovieTim
No Such Luck2014ShortSheriff Lawrence
A Daughter's Nightmare2014TV MovieCameron
Gordon Family Tree2013Perry Merrow
Last Man Standing2013TV SeriesBill McKendree
All Star Bowling Trick Shots2012Video shortRichard Karn
Poolboy: Drowning Out the Fury2011Bill Witherspoon
The Back-up Bride2011Shane Bingham
In Gayle We Trust2011TV SeriesMayor Thomas
True Jackson, VP2010TV SeriesFire Marshal O'Dannon
Ctrl2009TV SeriesArthur Piller
Dirt2008TV SeriesHolt's Father
Snow Buddies2008VideoPatrick
Mr. Blue Sky2007John Adams
Air Buddies2006VideoPatrick Framm
The Fast One2006ShortGerald
Reality School2004TV MovieFounder
Watching Ellie2003TV SeriesRichard Karn
Sex and the Teenage Mind2002Stanley Heitmeyer
Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch2002VideoPatrick
Reality School2002ShortVictor Cayanne
That '70s Show2001TV SeriesTheo
MVP: Most Vertical Primate2001Ollie Plant
The Chronicle2001TV SeriesDavid Tally
The Lot2001TV SeriesStan Lunquist
Recess2000TV SeriesEdmond P. Edmonton
The Pooch and the Pauper2000TV MovieAgent Dainville
Home Improvement1991-1999TV SeriesAl Borland
Legend of the Mummy1998Brice Renard
Soul Man1997TV SeriesAl Borland
How to Host a BBQ with Richard Karn1996TV ShortHost
Boy Meets World1995TV SeriesVictor
Picture Perfect1995TV MovieGeorge Thomas
Burke's Law1995TV SeriesDavid Bergen
ABC Afterschool Specials1994TV SeriesMr. Delo
ABC TGIF1990TV SeriesAl


Picture Perfect1995TV Movie creative consultant


The Story Behind: Home Improvement2015TV Movie documentaryHimself
Home & Family2013TV SeriesHimself - Guest
Celebrity Poker Live2012TV SeriesHimself
The 8th Annual TV Land Awards2010TV SpecialHimself - Glee Club
2009 Game Show Awards2009TV SpecialHimself - Presenter
Straight from the Horses Mouth2009VideoHimself
The 7th Annual TV Land Awards2009TV SpecialHimself
Bingo America2008TV SeriesHimself - Host / Himself
GSN Live2008TV SeriesHimself
WWE Raw2007TV SeriesHimself
Big Break All-Star Challenge2006TV Special
E! True Hollywood Story2004-2005TV Series documentaryHimself
Family Feud2002-2005TV SeriesHimself - Host / Host
World Poker Tour2004TV SeriesHimself
Tim Allen Presents: A User's Guide to 'Home Improvement'2003TV MovieHimself / Al Borland
TVography: Home Improvement - A Half Hour of Power2002TV SpecialHimself
MVP 2: Most Vertical Primate - Behind the Scenes2002Video documentary shortHimself - 'Ollie'
The Rosie O'Donnell Show1996-1999TV SeriesHimself
Home Improvement: Backstage Pass1999TV Special documentaryHimself; Al Borland
Foot Soldiers1998TV Movie documentaryNarrator
Sin City Spectacular1998TV SeriesHimself
Road Rules1998TV SeriesHimself
Christmas Miracles1997TV MovieHimself
Chariots of the Gods? The Mysteries Continue1996TV Movie documentaryHost
Oops! The World's Funniest Outtakes 41996TV MovieHimself
The 21st Annual People's Choice Awards1995TV SpecialHimself - Accepting Award for Favorite Television Comedy Series
The Walt Disney Company and McDonald's Present the American Teacher Awards1995TV SpecialHimself
Wheel of Fortune1995TV SeriesHimself - Celebrity Contestant
The 20th Annual People's Choice Awards1994TV SpecialHimself - Accepting Award for Favorite Television Comedy Series
The 19th Annual People's Choice Awards1993TV SpecialHimself - Accepting Award for Favourite Television Comedy Series
The 45th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards1993TV SpecialHimself - Audience Member
Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade1992TV SpecialHimself
The 44th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards1992TV SpecialHimself - Presenter
The 18th Annual People's Choice Awards1992TV SpecialHimself - Accepting Award for Favourite New Television Comedy Program

Archive Footage

Inside Edition2014TV Series documentaryHimself
Pioneers of Television2014TV Mini-Series documentaryAl Borland - Home Improvement
Burn After Reading2008Himself - Family Feud Host (uncredited)
Playboy: The Best of Pamela Anderson1995Video documentaryHimself

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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