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Why Tad From Modern Family Looks So Familiar

Throughout its eleven-season run on ABC, "Modern Family" introduced audiences to a host of fan-favorite characters. Obviously, this included the core ensemble, such as Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell), Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), and Gloria (Sofia Vergara), but it also included several supporting characters who popped up throughout the years. In fact, some of the show's best supporting characters only appeared in one episode, such as Jonathan Banks' Donnie or John Heard's Gunther Thorpe.

One notable single-episode supporting character from "Modern Family" is Tad — Phil's prospective real estate client, who appears in the Season 3 episode "Me? Jealous?" Tad from "Modern Family" likely looks familiar. That is because the character is portrayed by veteran actor Greg Kinnear, a seasoned film and television performer with numerous iconic roles on his IMDb profile. Given his lengthy tenure in Hollywood, it's worth diving in to take a look at some of his most significant and best roles.

He hosted Talk Soup

One of the earliest on-screen jobs that audiences may recognize Greg Kinnear from is his work as the host of "Talk Soup." Airing on E! The series was designed as a talk show that would poke fun at other talk shows that aired during the era, such as "The Jerry Springer Show" and "The Tonight Show." Kinnear was the first personality to host the series. His tenure began in 1991 and lasted until 1995, followed by John Henson, Hal Sparks, and Aisha Tyler.

Kinnear's time on "Talk Soup" created a lasting legacy that would eventually lead to other jobs and roles. However, Kinnear recently admitted to fellow talk show host Drew Barrymore (via "The Drew Barrymore Show") that he misplaced one essential keepsake from his time on the show: a book that his guests would sign when they would come on the show. Addressing the lost artifact, Kinnear said, "When I did my talk show we had a book and everybody would sign the book ... Don't then finish the show and then realize a year later, 'where's the book?' I don't have the book from all of the years I did [Talk Soup]. I had a huge book that everybody signed it and stuff. I'm sure it said glowing things about me. I never found the book."

He received an Oscar nomination for As Good As It Gets

In 1997, Greg Kinnear delivered an Oscar-nominated performance with his role as Simon Bishop in "As Good As It Gets." The film follows a curmudgeonly writer named Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson) who befriends his neighbor, Bishop, after the latter is assaulted in a robbery. As their friendship progresses, Melvin's hard exterior begins to soften, and he opens himself to others, including a woman named Carol (Helen Hunt). For his role, Kinnear was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, but ultimately lost to Robin Williams' performance in "Good Will Hunting."

Kinnear ultimately received ample praise and awards consideration for his work on the movie, but working with Nicholson still proved intimidating for him. In fact, Kinnear reflected on filming a confrontational scene between the two of them (via Variety) and explained that some takes couldn't be used because he was so nervous. Kinnear said, "I'm pretty sure, if you watch that scene, there are a few takes on my back and you see my shoulder shaking. I kept it together the whole movie, but there were moments where I had tears coming down my eyes when Jack was unloading on me. He never broke. I said to him afterwards, 'I'm sorry I lost it.' He goes, 'I used it.' That's what I learned; he never left the character. It was remarkable."

He dated Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail

Greg Kinnear has appeared in several romantic comedies throughout his career as an actor. One of the earliest and most notable is his portrayal of Frank Navasky in the iconic '90s comedy "You've Got Mail." Directed by Nora Ephron, the film follows the burgeoning, mismatched relationship of small bookstore owner Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and big bookstore businessman Joe Fox (Tom Hanks). Despite harboring a deep resentment for one another, the two meet online and gradually begin to fall for one another. This eventually leads to a breakup between Kathleen and Frank.

Kinnear's presence in "You've Got Mail," much like that of Parker Posey's Patricia Eden, is to serve as the initial love interest who the main character will eventually grow distant from. As portrayed in the movie, Frank is shown to be a major fan of analog technology who harbors apprehension of the internet. This was largely played for laughs in 1998, but looking back, some have noted that the character's attitude towards the internet and technology actually had some merit in retrospect. As noted by The Atlantic, "Frank Navasky (Greg Kinnear), the Luddite-obsessed quasi-intellectual who loves Heidegger and typewriters, is in fact the most prescient character in the movie: He's the only one here who seems rightly suspicious of the internet's alleged wonders."

He played an ill-fated superhero in Mystery Men

In 1999, Greg Kinnear stepped into the off-kilter superhero world of "Mystery Men" to take on the role of Captain Amazing. In the film, Amazing is a hero of Champion City who releases his arch nemesis, Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush) from prison in order to continue battling evil and maintain his endorsement deals. Unfortunately, Casanova Frankenstein gets the upper hand, and Amazing is killed when the titular team of amateur superheroes attempts to rescue him.

Addressing the recent anniversary of "Mystery Men" and the possibility of a revival (via Slashfilm), Kinnear confirmed that he would be interested in coming back to reprise his role as Captain Amazing. Kinnear explained, "If Mr. Furious is coming back, then Captain Amazing is coming back. No question about it. Yeah. That's funny. That [movie] has such a crazy following. It was such an oddball experience making it, but God, I didn't know it was that long ago, but it was really fun."

Of course, this would require some creative work, as Captain Amazing died in a fairly brutal fashion. That said, Kinnear thinks that it is possible to come up with a way to bring him back for the sequel. The actor continued, "So yeah, sure, I'm back. I think I got Psycho-defrakulated in the original 'Mystery Men,' so they'd have to do some creative work, but that can always be figured out on the page."

He drove the family van in Little Miss Sunshine

In 2006, Greg Kinnear was one of several members of the stacked cast of the indie darling "Little Miss Sunshine." The film follows an eccentric family as they pile into a VW bus in a frantic effort to get their daughter (Abigail Breslin) to a beauty pageant. Starring alongside Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Paul Dano, Steve Carell, and Breslin, Kinnear portrayed Richard Hoover, the family's patriarch.

"Little Miss Sunshine" ultimately proved to be both a critical and commercial success. However, the film's production was more harrowing than many fans had previously assumed. In fact, Kinnear (who drives the van in the film) recently opened up about the production of the movie (via "The Kelly Clarkson Show") and admitted how dangerous he thought it was to make "Little Miss Sunshine." Jokingly reflecting on the movie, Kinnear said, "You can count every Michael Bay movie ever made. This is the most dangerous film ever made. Nobody was wearing seatbelts, we didn't have clearance on the highway. We just went out and because I drive in the thing they handed me, 'here's the keys.'" Ending his point, he stated, "Nobody is making this movie anymore is my point."

He starred in the final season of House of Cards

One of Greg Kinnear's most notable Netflix roles is Bill Shepherd in the final season of "House of Cards." As a new addition to the show's ensemble following the controversial departure of original star Kevin Spacey, Kinnear was acutely aware of the bizarre atmosphere that accompanied the creation of the show's final season. However, despite all that public adversity, he has noted (via "The Late Late Show with James Corden") that the show was able to get back on track due to the crew's professionalism. Kinnear said, "Going back to it after the show was shut down for a bit and regrouping and getting new scripts, and kind of figuring it out. Look I'm the new guy. I'm just assuming there is an elephant in the room here, right? With Kevin being gone. I was just incredibly impressed. Everybody kind of picked up where they left off. It felt like everybody knew what their job was. "

Following Spacey's departure, some questioned whether or not "House of Cards" would be able to come back at all. However, as a fan of the series, Kinnear felt that audiences needed closure on the story. Elsewhere in his remarks, the actor said, "Fans of that show, of which I am, deserve an ending to the program. It would've been a real shame to let it go. I think they did a good job with it and brought it home."

He starred as Brian Miller in Black Bird

Finally, in 2022, Greg Kinnear made his way to Apple TV+ to take part in a retelling of a horrific true crime story in Season 1 of "Black Bird." The miniseries follows James Keene (Taron Egerton), a man offered a chance to end his ten-year prison sentence if he can get a confession from alleged killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser). Kinnear portrays Brian Miller, a detective working the Hall case who is loosely based on detective Gary Miller (via The Cinemaholic), the real-life detective who worked the case.

Kinnear addressed this during the press tour for "Blackbird" (via Screen Rant) and noted that he never knew about this true story, despite growing up very close to where some of the events occurred. Discussing whether or not he is drawn to true crime as a genre, Kinnear explained, "Truthfully, I'm really not. I wasn't familiar with this story, in spite of the fact that I'm literally from a small town about 15 miles down the road from where Larry Hall lived." The veteran actor continued, "It was handed to me as a script. I didn't go down the Google rabbit hole, I just read it and enjoyed so much the power of the storytelling, the individual characters, and how well everything was crafted in this. I felt a real responsibility — I think we all did — to try and tell it right, and to be respectful to the people who have lost children."