Posts tagged ‘Modern Family’

From Penn State, Ty Burrell Stumbled into the Real World


Ty Burrell’s portrayal of Modern Family‘s Phil Dunphy has earned a number of accolades, including a pair of Primetime Emmy Awards. One of Dunphy’s endearing traits is the nervous, nutty energy that Burrell ’97g displays.

As it turns out, that energy is something that followed Burrell as he pursued a career in acting. He wrote a column this week for The New York Times recalling the first time he met with an agent, which involves him soiling himself and looking at the McDonald’s golden arches “the way I imagine immigrants spotted the Statue of Liberty.”

But before he got to that point, Burrell explained how fear impacted his desire to put off finding a job and continue his education, which led to him enrolling at Penn State.

So off to grad school I went. I spent three incredible years at Penn State, working very, very hard and accidentally doing what I’d said I was doing it for in the first place, which was convenient. I did actually dig very deeply into theater and very deeply into acting. After graduation, I discovered, to my horror, that I had no more options to put off the real world. “Really? There’s no Ph.D. in acting? No acting think tank? No heavily funded acting research focused on one day finding the cure for blinking?”

Burrell appears in the film Rough Night, which comes out nationwide on Friday, June 16.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

June 15, 2017 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

Ty Burrell Talks ‘Finding Dory’

Ty Burrell is one of the many big names in Finding Dory, the sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo. Burrell ’97g provides the voice for a beluga whale named Bailey who is convinced that he cannot use echolocation after hitting his head.

As is the norm for a movie this big (so far, it has made nearly $650 million worldwide), Burrell made a number of media appearances prior to its release where he discussed various aspects of his character’s role. During one appearance on The Talk, Burrell explained how he had an idea for what Bailey should sound like, which was shot down after one take.

In an interview that Burrell gave to ABC Radio, he explained how he was excited to join this project. Burrell knew that he was about to get a phone call from Pixar regarding Finding Dory, so when the call came, he picked up the phone and answered “Yes, I’ll do it. Who is this?”

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

July 12, 2016 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

A Comedy Connection

Keegan-Michael Key '96g and Jordan Peele (as Barack Obama) in a sketch for their Comedy Central show.

It’s not often that scripted television makes me laugh out loud. As a full-fledged reality TV junkie, I’m far more likely to crack up watching the latest Real Housewives blowout or a melodramatic rose ceremony on The Bachelor.

So you can imagine my shock when I found myself in hysterics during Key and Peele, a new sketch comedy show on Comedy Central. The sketches are smart — politically incorrect, but not mean-spirited. And both title stars are very, very funny.

Some of our readers might remember that the “Key” in the title is a Penn Stater: Keegan-Michael Key ’96g earned his MFA at Penn State, and doubly cool, he’s buddies with Ty Burrell ’97g, from ABC’s Modern Family. Both actors have roots in Utah. In this interview from The Salt Lake Tribune, Key mentions their connection, and Burrell made a cameo in a recent Key and Peele sketch.

Key and Peele premiered in January, and it’s been earning rave reviews, like this one from the Los Angeles Times. It airs Tuesdays at 10:30 on Comedy Central.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

March 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm 2 comments

Here’s a Random Assortment of Happy News

Update: It looks like the Daily Mail has removed the story about Ty Burrell already. I can’t even find a cached version to show you. It’s too bad, because the story and photos were pretty sweet. If anyone knows a way to view the article online, please let us know in the Comments section. —Tina

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I hit a wall where I don’t think my brain can process one more piece of ugly or sad news coming out of the Sandusky scandal. In case you happen to be feeling that way today, we offer you a few bits of more upbeat news.

—Chicago Bears placekicker Robbie Gould ’03 is having an excellent year. This story from the Bears’ website was written a couple of weeks ago, just after he had kicked field goals of 50 and 53 yards in the same game, a loss to the Raiders … and then this past Sunday, in an overtime loss to the Broncos, he kicked one of 57 yards—a team record.

Better yet, this past Monday—the day after the Denver game—he took a bunch of needy kids shopping. Gould, through his Goulden Touch Foundation, gave a $120 shopping spree at Target to each of 99 kids from Mooseheart Child City and School, a place for children and teens who don’t have a stable home life. Gould was there for the shopping, and the article about the event has a small gallery of photos from the event that should make you smile.

—Then we have Modern Family star Ty Burrell ’97g and his cute little adopted daughter. It seems little Frances


December 14, 2011 at 11:15 am 2 comments

Penn State Night at the Emmys

Ty-BurrellHe was nominated for an Emmy Award last year, but this year Ty Burrell ’97g actually won the thing.

Burrell captured an Emmy last night for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy, for his role as the dorky dad Phil Dunphy on the ABC sitcom Modern Family. The show itself also won for Best Comedy, and Ty’s on-screen wife, Julie Bowen, won for Best Supporting Actress.

You can see the entire list of Emmy winners here. Note that it includes another Penn Stater: Don Roy King ’69, director of Saturday Night Live, won an Emmy for Outstanding Directing. Not a bad night for Penn Staters, huh?

By the way, King will be speaking at Penn State next spring.

We did a profile of Ty Burrell in the magazine back in Jan-Feb 2010. That story got its start when I was trying to recruit Vicki Glembocki ’93, ’02g to write a story for us on some other topic, and she wrote back: “How about Ty Burrell??? Are you watching Modern Family? I can see the subhead: How does a guy become the most lovably annoying dad in America?”

Vicki usually knows what she’s talking about, so I took her up on the offer, and I’m glad I did.

You might enjoy reading Vicki’s tale of what it was like to meet Burrell, and that’s also where you can download a PDF of her story in The Penn Stater about him.

Tina Hay, editor

September 19, 2011 at 8:28 am Leave a comment

Ty Burrell Shows Some Love For His Alma Mater

Modern Family had its predictably hilarious season premiere on Wednesday night, and our man Ty Burrell ’97g was his usual loopy self. Line of the night (at least for Nittany Lion fans) came when Burrell’s character, Phil Dunphy, was telling his son about having attended a long-ago Rose Bowl game. He doesn’t mention the year, but when his son asks what happened, Phil replies, “We got our butts kicked by Penn State.”

Burrell was born and raised in Oregon, so we can only assume this is a sly reference to the 1995 Rose Bowl, in which the Lions knocked off the Oregon Ducks, 38-20.

You can watch the entire episode on the ABC website. The Rose Bowl reference comes about 3:45 into the show.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

September 23, 2010 at 8:59 am Leave a comment

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