'Home Improvement': Zachery Ty Bryan Played the Oldest Brother Despite Being Younger

There are a few TV shows that define the landscape of the 1990s — and for thousands of fans, Home Improvement is one of those shows.

Starring popular comedian Tim Allen, Home Improvement told the story of a working-class family dealing with many of the same problems that families all over the world struggle with. Home Improvement ran for years on television, and although all the actors involved have gone on to other projects, most of the stars are still best known for their work in the popular sitcom.

Two of the biggest stars to feature on Home Improvement were Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Zachery Ty Bryan — still, according to a recent report, their casting is interesting for several distinct reasons. 

What was ‘Home Improvement’ about?

Home Improvement debuted on television in 1991. Starring up and coming comedian and actor Tim Allen, the show focused on the Taylor family, which consists of Tim, his wife Jill (played by Patricia Richardson), and their three sons.

At their home in suburban Detroit, the Taylor family interact with their friends and neighbors, all while Tim works on filming his regionally popular home improvement show.

Home Improvement found immediate success with middle-class viewers of all ages, many of whom could relate to Tim, Jill, and the problems of a normal, everyday family. The series ran for eight seasons, finally going off the air in 1999. It remains popular in syndication, with new fans gravitating to the series every year. 

Jonathan Taylor Thomas was one of the stars of ‘Home Improvement’

At the center of Home Improvement were the three Taylor boys — Brad, Randy, and Mark. Brad, the oldest son, was played by Zachery Ty Bryan, and was portrayed as a popular, athletic young man, who often acted before he thought.

Randy, played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, is the family comedian, well known for his love of pranks and practical jokes. Mark, as played by Taran Noah Smith, is the classic baby of the family, rather spoiled and very close to his mother.

Out of the three young actors who portrayed the Taylor sons, it was Jonathan Taylor Thomas who tended to steal the spotlight. Thomas grew into a teen heartthrob during his years on Home Improvement and started acting in a variety of other shows and movies.

A few of Thomas’s other popular projects included roles in movies like Tom and Huck, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, and Man of the House. He also lent his voice to several animated features, including, most notably, The Lion King

Jonathan Taylor Thomas was older than Zachery Ty Bryan

To millions of viewers, Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Zachery Ty Bryan perfectly played their roles as the oldest two Taylor sons. Still, the reality of the situation is that Thomas would have been a bit better suited to play the role of Brad.

According to a report by Mental Floss, Thomas is actually the oldest of the three actors. Thomas was born in September 1981, making him exactly one month older than Bryan. The age gap was negligible enough to make it appear as though the larger, taller Bryan was the older brother — and the actors were able to easily inhabit their roles.

These days, Thomas is retired from the acting business, and hasn’t worked on any onscreen projects in years. As for Bryan, he still works as a film producer, although his recent legal troubles have temporarily sidelined his career. Home Improvement, however, is still going strong, more than twenty years after the iconic show went off the air. 

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