Roseanne Cherrie Barr, aka Roseanne Barr, aka Roseanne Arnold, aka Roseanne Thomas, aka Roseanne (born November 3, 1952) is an Emmy Award-winning American comedian, actress and writer. On the opening credits of one final-season episode of her TV show, she was credited as "Roseanne Barr Pentland Arnold Thomas." By 2005, she had resumed referring to herself by her maiden name, "Roseanne Barr."
The youngest of four children, she was born in Salt Lake City, Utah
, to a working-class Jewish
family. Her mother, Helen (née
Davis), was a bookkeeper and cashier, and her father, Jerome Hershel “Jerry” Barr, worked in sales as a door-to-door salesman of household goods. Barr's grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants from Ukraine
, and her paternal grandfather changed his surname from "Borisofsky" to "Barr" upon entering the United States. Barr's parents kept their Jewish heritage secret from their neighbors and, thus, were partially involved in The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints
. Barr has stated that "Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning I was a Jew; Sunday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday afternoon we were Mormons; her Jewish upbringing was influenced by her devoutly Orthodox Jewish
Barr married Bill Pentland, on February 4, 1974. They had three children, Jennifer, Jessica, and Jacob. In 1971, prior to marriage and while residing in Denver, Roseanne had a daughter named Brandi Brown for whom she arranged an adoption. In 1989 Roseanne located and met Brandi. Eventually, Brandi moved to L.A. and began working for Roseanne. She later moved to Denver and now splits her time between Denver and the Colorado West Slope. Brandi and Roseanne remain very close.
Roseanne became famous in the early 1980s with her stand-up comedy
routine, receiving critical acclaim for her unglamorized portrayal of the typical American working-class housewife
. In her routine she popularized the now well-known phrase, "domestic goddess," to refer to a homemaker or housewife. The success of her act led to her own series on ABC
, called Roseanne
. The show ran from 1988 to 1997, and co-starred Emmy
winners Laurie Metcalf
and John Goodman
. Roseanne herself also won an Emmy for her part in the show. For the final season Roseanne earned $650,000 an episode. In 1997, after the end of her sitcom's run, she portrayed the Wicked Witch of the West
in a production of The Wizard of Oz
at Madison Square Garden
She went on to host her own talk show, The Roseanne Show which ran for two years before it was canceled in 2000. In the summer of 2003, she took on the dual role of hosting a cooking show (called Domestic Goddess) and starring in a reality show (called The Real Roseanne Show) about hosting a cooking show, although food poisoning and an emergency appendectomy brought a premature end to both projects. In 2005, she returned to stand-up comedy, touring the world. In February 2006, Roseanne performed her first-ever live dates in Europe as part of the Leicester Comedy Festival in Leicester, England. The shows took place at De Montfort Hall. She also released her first kids' DVD, Rockin' with Roseanne: Calling All Kids, that same month.
Roseanne's return to the stage culminated in an HBO Comedy Special Roseanne Barr: Blonde N Bitchin', which aired November 4, 2006, on HBO. Two nights earlier, Roseanne returned to prime-time network TV with a guest spot on NBC's My Name Is Earl, playing a crazy trailer park manager.
Roseanne has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6767 Hollywood Blvd.
On January 11, 2007, TV Land announced that Roseanne would be the host of season three of The Search for the Funniest Mom in America on Nick @ Nite. The show aired in spring 2007. She has also signed on to host a daily radio talk show on KCAA in the Los Angeles area.
She just completed a stint, headlining at the Sahara Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While taping Roseanne
, she separated from Bill Pentland and later fell in love with fellow comedian Tom Arnold
. In January 1990, she divorced
Pentland and married Arnold. Four years later she and Arnold divorced. She later married her security guard, Ben Thomas, on Valentine's Day
, in 1995. They had one son, Buck Thomas
. She and Thomas divorced in 2002.
In a 1991 interview with People, Roseanne revealed herself to be an incest survivor, accusing both of her parents of physical and sexual abuse, charges which they and her sister Geraldine publicly denied. Geraldine later sold stories to the tabloids calling Roseanne a liar and accusing her of making up the story to boost her show's ratings. Geraldine also accused Roseanne of "unfairly" firing her from the cast of the show and claiming that Roseanne "owed" her half of the show's profits.
Barr has written that she considers herself a kabbalist and a follower of Jesus Christ.
Star Spangled Banner controversy
On July 25, 1990, Barr performed a controversial rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner
" before a Cincinnati Reds
-San Diego Padres baseball
game in San Diego, California
. As she later reported, she was initially having trouble hearing herself over the public-address system, so she was singing as loudly as possible, and her rendition of the song sounded "screechy". Following her rendition, she mimicked the often-seen actions of players by spitting and grabbing her crotch as if adjusting a protective cup. Barr claimed she had been encouraged by baseball officials to "bring humor to the song". The song and the closing routine offended many in the audience, and it was replayed frequently on television, drawing further attention to it.
She referenced the incident on the Roseanne episode The Test (originally aired September 18, 1990) when she comments on what a nice Saturday morning it is and how it makes her feel like she could sing (she then pauses until the studio audience laughs, cheers, and applauds).
She also joked about the incident later in the third season in the episode Home-Ec in the Buy N Bag scene.
She also humorously referred to the incident a year later in her television movie, Backfield in Motion, in which her character, Nancy Seavers, is asked to sing the anthem. She responds incredulously, "Me? Sing the national anthem?" The line is followed by a long, dramatic pause, with the camera zooming in on her face. She then grins and says, "I don't think so."
On February 16, 1991, she joked about the incident further on Saturday Night Live in a skit called Comedy Killers, a mock game show about gags that aren't funny.
A brief parody of the incident was included in the 1992 made-for-TV movie Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation.
Gay rights controversy
On April 6, 2007 Barr made a controversial statement about gay activists during her show on California's KCAA
radio. Barr commented that putting measures like gay marriage on ballots for elections only hurts the gay rights cause and elects more conservative politicians. Barr went on to say, "And I have never once -- and I say I have gay and lesbian people in my family -- never once in my life have I ever once heard a gay or lesbian person who’s politically active say one thing about anything that was not about them. They don’t care about minimum wage, they don’t care about any other group other than their own self because you know, some people say being gay and lesbian is a totally narcissistic thing and sometimes I wonder. I’ve never heard any of them say anything except for 'accept me 'cause I'm gay.' It's just, it’s screwed up."
Barr later apologized twice on her online blog stating, "I deeply regret that I have offended gay people. I said things that I do not really mean, before I had thought them through.... I was wrong and I seriously apologize! Call me up today and let me have it! I will apologize and try to make clear what I really meant to say... which was that everybody needs to unite right now, and step outside of their own neighborhoods, groups, races and classes to stop Bush's war on our country and our people. I love gays and I hate division. I am just a big idiot with a big mouth sometimes. I will learn to be more careful! Please forgive me, I am so sorry!!!! Barr continued to state in further online posts that she believes gays need to unite against those who try to oppress them: "Let's all leave our own bedrooms, kitchens, neighborhoods and groups and meet each other to form a diverse army that stands for Democracy and Economic justice!"
A 1992 Playboy magazine article quoted a letter in which Barr used numerous sexual epithets to try to insult then USA Today reviewer Matt Roush.
Barr told James Rampton of The Independent
that fame went to her head. Barr, who had worked as a window dresser
and waitress in Denver, said she had become famous quickly and lost touch with reality. "I was in a sound studio for almost a decade. At the end of it, like Rip van Winkle
, I came back and found that everything had changed. Suddenly there were computers and e-mails, and it took me another 10 years to catch up with regular people. But the TV show is over. What am I going to do? I can't boss people around anymore - sad but true."
Barr went back to stand-up comedy but with a notably different appearance: she has lost some weight, dyed her hair blonde, and had plastic surgery, which she does not recommend - "Now I realize that everyone has to get old and die, but it was still a very bad experience.... No one looks better after plastic surgery. Just pink and shiny. At the end of it, you look like an idiot." Barr claims that some of her surgery was for health reasons; she had a rhinoplasty to correct sleep apnea; while her breast reduction surgery was to reduce back pain.
- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for: "Roseanne" (1993)
Golden Globe Awards:
- Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Comedy/Musical for: "Roseanne" (1993)