Although she’s remembered as an integral part of Home Improvement, Dunning had to fight to turn Heidi into a full-fledged character. In a 2018 interview with Stars and Celebs, she revealed that for the first couple of seasons her part seemed small, only appearing in the Tool Time segments, and without much backstory. This left her feeling like she might get dropped from the show at any time, and kept her looking for other roles on different TV shows.
That changed when she was up for a multi-episode guest spot on Friends. When Tim Allen found out, Dunning says that he encouraged her to stick with Home Improvement. “He’s like, ‘I’m not going to tell you how to make your decision. I’m just going to tell you this. If you stick around, I’ll make sure I make it up to you,'” she recalled.
He kept his word, and eventually Dunning’s part on the show was expanded, and she was bumped up from a recurring character to a regular. After Home Improvement ended, she had a one-episode guest spot on Sabrina: The Teenage Witch, and appeared in a few low-budget films. Her most significant and last acting role was a seven-episode arc as Hope Lorca on the Tatum O’Neal-starring revenge drama Wicked Wicked Games.
Since then, Dunning hasn’t had another acting role — but she hasn’t left TV for good.