Red Forman was a known fan favorite in the television sit-com That 70’s Show. And with the series wrapped up over a decade ago, it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the family patriarch other than Kurtwood Smith. But the creators of the show initially begged to differ.
Fans of the show will be surprised to know that the role was originally written with a different character in mind–Chuck Norris.
That’s right, the cultural legend and subject of endless memes were pretty close to playing Eric Forman’s father in the hit TV series. Before Smith was offered the role of the WWII veteran and head of household, producers approached Norris for the role. Being known for his action films as an actor and martial artist, the creative team behind the show believed casting him was the best move. And even Norris seemed to think so.
The legendary actor genuinely considered the offered role and was willing to jump in on the project. But due to what is probably the number one reason why actors turn down roles he had to take a pass. Scheduling conflicts made it impossible for Norris to join the cast as he was still staring in the crime series Texas Ranger.
As it turns out it was all for the best. Smith’s take as the character who gives nothing but tough love was a hit among audiences with his catchphrases and stern parenting antics. His signature “dumba**” and “my-foot-in-your-a**” became a staple throughout his appearance in all eight seasons of the show.
Ben is is a senior journalist and sport columnist for Best in Australia. He previously worked for the BC and other radio stations.