For all 11 Married… with Children seasons, Amanda Bearse portrayed Marcy D’Arcy, the show’s clumsy every-American shmuck protagonist Al Bundy’s neighbour (and arch-nemesis).
Marcy thought she was superior, yet she frequently found herself on his level because she was a feminist elitist and the target of Al’s jokes.
Bearse was very different from who she appeared to be off-screen. She was focused on developing a career as a lesbian in a time when men dominated Hollywood, and she was determined to be successful.
Continue reading to find out what happened to her after the show aired and what she thinks of it now.
Bearse’s performance in Married… with Children was not her first. She moved to NYC to attend the Neighborhood Playhouse before going to Los Angeles in 1981.
She was born in Florida and reared in Atlanta. She was in the popular daytime programme All My Children in 1982.
After finishing her degree in 1983, she began working on films such as the timeless horror classic Fright Night and the low-budget adolescent comedy Fraternity Vacation.
She participated in the TV movies Came to the Munsters and the action picture The Doom Generation, directed by Gregg Araki, while on Married… with Children from 1987 to 1997.
After the laughter subsided, she moved behind the camera.
Bearse seemed to vanish from TV screens after Married… with Children ended, but this was on plan. During the show’s sixth season, she began a project to transfer from acting to directing, being the first cast member to do so. By the end of the season, she had produced 31 episodes of her show.
“I consciously quit performing after getting married and having kids,” Bearse revealed in 2020. [The show] was the catalyst for my second career as a television director.
Bearse has directed episodes of several well-known sitcoms, including Veronica’s Closet, The Jamie Foxx Show, Jesse (which stars her former co-star Christina Applegate), Dharma & Greg, and Reba. In addition to 21 episodes of MADtv, she directed every episode, which Rosie O’Donnell produced and broadcast on the Logo network from 2007 to 2010.
“I was one of the very few women behind the camera on television at the time, and it was a very different time,” she stated in 2021. Although white men continue to dominate the industry, more women, LGBTQ people, and people of colour are now represented.”
Bearse became the actor on a primetime network TV series to come out as gay in 1993, famously said so on her self-titled sitcom and on the cover of Time. Bearse did this on the surface of the September 21, 1993, issue of The Advocate.
She went public after adopting a daughter.
“I felt like this was such a wonderful and meaningful event in my life to share my story my way,” she said as she accepted the Out on Film 2021 Trailblazer Award at the Atlanta Film Festival.
“It was the best thing since I was so happy to be a mother. I was moral in the way I lived. I just wanted to express my feelings whatever I wanted because I was never ashamed of being gay.”
Bearse continued to promote the LGBTQ+ community after coming out. She began working as a spokeswoman for the Human Rights Campaign in the late 1990s. She has also advocated for the Human Rights Campaign’s National Coming Out Day for queer visibility in Hollywood. In 1994, she told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that discriminating against a face is more complicated than discriminating against a notion. She has also served as an ambassador for the Gay Games.
Bearse’s own life came to light the challenges that gay parents experience when her then-partner, a TV producer, was involved in a custody fight with an ex-partner with whom Pierce had adopted a kid in 1997.
Bearse relocated from Los Angeles to Atlanta to raise her child in 2000. Before their divorce, she and Pearce co-owned a coffee business. She recently told GLAAD that refusing to conform to Hollywood’s expectations was the “greatest move ever” for her family.
Bearse married Carrie Schenkman, a Seattle businesswoman, in 2010. The couple shared their time between the Pacific Northwest, where Schenkman was raising her child, and Atlanta, where Bearse lived with Zo.
At approximately the same period, Bearse appeared in the spoof horror film Sky Sharks, the second season of the Prime Video series Smothered, and episodes of the TV show Anger Management and Drop Dead Diva.
Her next movie will be the romantic comedy Bros, starring Billy Eichner, about two commitment-phobic males fighting to stay in a relationship (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the picture is “the first LGBT romantic comedy from a major studio,” and the company has complimented it.
“I just thought, I’ll give it a chance, and as long as it’s nice and fascinating, I’ll stick with it,” Bearse told The Advocate in 2021. “To put it simply, I’m back into acting. I hadn’t realised how much I missed it until it had been so long.”
She gets along with most of Bearse’s Married… with Children co-stars. In an interview, she claimed to be good friends with Applegate and David Garrison, who played Marcy’s first husband. The series’ star, Ed O’Neill, isn’t friendly with her, and it appears he never was.
When asked about their relationship at a fan event in North Carolina in 2018, Bearse said that while she avoided discussing dirty laundry, there was “no love lost” between them.
In an interview, O’Neill was more honest and named Bearse as the cast member he found most challenging to get along with.
He said that David Faustino was the only surviving cast member without her wedding invites. O’Neill claims that after she offended him and was questioned, she admitted that it would be amusing for him and Faustino to see Bearse and her wife dressed in tuxedos. This shows that Bearse’s instincts were generally correct.
After all these years, Bearse, 63, isn’t a big admirer of the show itself. She reportedly contacted News Corp Australia in 2018 that the show was “mean-spirited and nasty.” Simply said, it was improper.
The show would not be performed now since it is so widely condemned. She did confess that Marcy is a “close and dear” person to her.
“I truly like her, and I admire a lot of the literature that has gone her way,” she said. Her voice stood out among the others on the show.