The actor said her agent's assistant had to fight for her to be seen by the show's creative team during the casting process.
The actor, whose Hollywood career spans more than five decades, garnered 185 film and TV credits.
"I was never a victim guys, I was always in on the joke," the Modern Family actor insisted.
The two stars are set to appear in the final series of US comedy Modern Family together.
Step-this and half-that - not only is it a bit outdated, it doesn’t even begin to cover all the different people we may now count as family
He'll be playing Tom, a new friend of Lily's.