Home Uncategorized Rob Reiner’s All In The Family Audition Was Initially Rejected

Rob Reiner’s All In The Family Audition Was Initially Rejected


Early on, it became clear there would be no Archie and Edith on “All in the Family” without Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton. However, the roles of the Bunkers’ daughter Gloria and her husband Mike were recast for the two pilots that Lear shot for ABC. After CBS bought the show rights, a third pilot was produced, at which point Reiner was finally cast as the Meathead to Sally Struthers’ Gloria. Here’s how Reiner recounted the process:

“That episode [of ‘Headmaster’ I starred in] was one of the reasons I got ‘All in the Family’ […] I believe I had [originally] auditioned when it was a pilot at ABC. ‘All in the Family’ had done two pilots at ABC and then, when it eventually got on, it got on at CBS. And Sally Struthers and I were the third set of Mike and Gloria. And I remember auditioning for an earlier version, they said I didn’t get it. But I think Norman Lear saw my work in [‘Headmaster’] and I auditioned again. He felt I had matured as an actor, I think, and gave me the part on the CBS [version of ‘All in the Family’].”

Reiner, as he admitted in the same interview, was always more interested in writing and directing than acting, so it’s little wonder that Mike wound up becoming the definitive role of his career onscreen. On the other hand, Reiner’s performance in “All in the Family” was a pretty flawless embodiment of both the strengths and foibles of white cishet hippie men of his generation, to the degree that it’s hard to imagine him ever topping it. As for what became of dudes like Mike when they were older? Well, perhaps it’s telling that Reiner later played Jordan Belfort’s father in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

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