The brothers Taylor were a staple of family-friendly television programming of the 1990’s during the eight year run of “Home Improvement” on ABC.
Brad, Randy and Mark were like the “Modern Family” siblings of two decades later, only with much more heavy-handed story lines designed to teach kids Very Important Life Lessons about the consequences of stealing your parents car or underage drinking.
There was the weird one, Mark, played by Taran Noah Smith, who was only seven years old when the show started and unfortunately went through his entire awkward phase on national television.
The lugheaded jock, Brad (of course his name was Brad), played by Zachary Ty Bryan was probably the first bad boy that girls of a certain age fell in love with because of his luscious blonde locks and broad-shouldered build.
And then there was everyone’s favorite Tiger Beat cover star and voice of Simba, Jonathan Taylor Thomas (who shall henceforth be referred to as JTT). Randy Taylor was by far the most adorable of the three, and the reason your tween daughter ever watched the show with you.
These three dudes were all over the place throughout the nineties, then went the way of the Pog and faded into obscurity once the show ended in 1999. And since there is some small part of you wondering what ever came of Mark, Brad and Randy, we’re going to fill you in.
When “Home Improvement” ended in 1999, Smith was just a tender 16 years old. He had one more small TV part — voicing a character in an animated “Batman” series — before he decided to quit acting forever.
At just 17, Smith married a 33-year-old named Heidi Van Pelt, because of course he married a 33-year-old named Heidi Van Pelt.
Obviously, Smith had a load of cash from starring in a popular sitcom for eight years, and even though he was a grown-ass married man, he claimed his parents used his money to buy a mansion. By the time he turned 18, he gained control of his $1.5 million trust fund, which really doesn’t seem like that much money at all when he consider that he basically traded his youth for it.
In 2005, Smith and his wife started a vegan cheese company, and two years later they got divorced. (Apparently the couple who subsides on only rabbit food together doesn’t stay together, or whatever.) But just last year, Smith was arrested on for a DUI and marijuana possession, so we guess he’s still a little rad.
Smith’s oldest (fictional) brother, Zachary Ty Bryan, has had the most robust acting career of all the Taylor siblings. Once “Home Improvement” wrapped in 1999, he was featured in a bunch of those early-2000’s shows that everyone from “Beverly Hills 901210” had recurring parts on: “Touched By an Angel,” “ER,” “Buffy,” “Boston Public,” “Smallville” … you know, those kinds of shows.
By the time he was in his late twenties, Bryan put his thinking cap on and started a production company. He produced an indie film starring Melanie Griffith, which says a lot about both careers. Bryan, who seems like he has a good head on his shoulders, never got caught with drugs or anything like that. Good for him.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas is something of a punchline these days. The pint-sized actor (he is just 5’6″) just dropped off the face of the earth, and in 2011, none of the Taylor family had heard of him since the show’s last episode. (Fun fact: Thomas is actually the same age as Bryan, who played his older brother.)
After the series ended, Thomas sporadically appeared in those filler TV shows like “Smallville,” “Veronica Mars” and “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter.”
In between his acting gigs, Taylor enrolled at Harvard, went abroad to St. Andrew’s in Scotland and graduated from Columbia in 2010, so the joke is really on us.
Until this year when he appeared on Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing,” Thomas hadn’t been on TV since 2006. In an interview with People earlier this year, he said that he preferred studying to fame.
In conclusion, Mark is a vegan druggie, Brad wasn’t hot enough to become a big star, and Randy wasn’t tall enough, but made up for it by going to Ivy League schools. He probably still gets plenty of chicks, so don’t cry for JTT, America.