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The Actor Who Almost Played Red On That '70s Show

Sometimes a role is just so perfectly cast, you genuinely can't think of anyone else who would do the part justice, and when it comes to the world of sitcoms, no one has managed to play an angry dad better than Kurtwood Smith on "That '70s Show." He played family patriarch Red Forman, who wasn't above telling a bunch of teenagers they were "dumbasses" when they got out of line. He was an authority figure in Point Place when those were few and far between, and with a swift threat and a deadpan attitude, he was a highlight on the series throughout its eight-season run. 

By the time "That '70s Show" came around in the 1990s, Smith was already an accomplished actor with roles in "RoboCop," "Rambo III," and "Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country." Given his impressive resume and his proclivity for playing characters with a threatening aura around them, Smith seems like a natural pick for Red Forman, but as it turns out, he wasn't the first choice for the role. In fact, the producers wanted to get a genuine action star straight out of the 1970s a chance to scare the living daylights out of a bunch of kids.

Chuck Norris could've played Red Forman

Chuck Norris may be able to count to infinity twice, but the one thing he couldn't do was balance production schedules. According to multiple reports, producers of "That '70s Show" originally offered Norris the role of Red Forman (via CBR). The casting makes sense on paper: Red Forman is a conservative, no-nonsense war veteran who served in both World War II and the Korean War. You definitely wouldn't want to look at a guy like that sideways, and Norris absolutely could've nailed that attitude. Alas, Norris had to turn it down. 

CBR goes on to state that even though Norris considered taking the role, he ultimately had to turn it down as a result of scheduling conflicts with "Walker, Texas Ranger," which ran from 1993 to 2001. That's several years where the two shows would've overlapped, so producers had to find someone else who was used to not smiling a lot.

Norris' loss was Smith's gain as he went on to make the Forman father iconic, and it was all for the best in the end. Kurtwood Smith made the role all his own, and Chuck Norris has been able to retain fame into the 21st century courtesy of some very random memes. The real question comes down to deciding who's the more proficient kicker — Red Forman or Chuck Norris? If the kicking involves butts in any way, then we're going to have to give the edge to Red.