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Roseanne Barr - Biography


Comedian Roseanne Barr
Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images


November 3, 1952

Also Known As:

Roseanne, Roseanne Arnold

Roseanne Barr Overview:

The self-proclaimed "domestic goddess," Roseanne Barr paved the way for a new kind of female comic and changed the landscape of American television with her groundbreaking sitcom Roseanne, which aired from 1987-97. Known for her loud voice, pervasive sarcasm and a willingness to say whatever is on her mind, Barr is a one-of-a-kind presence in stand-up comedy.

Quick Roseanne Barr Facts:

  • Roseanne Barr was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • She left home at age 18 and began performing stand-up comedy while living in Colorado.
  • Her first televised stand-up appearance was on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1985.
  • In 1986, she had her own HBO comedy special, The Roseanne Barr Show, for which she won the American Comedy Award for Best Female Stand-up.
  • In 1987, she starred on the sitcom Roseanne, loosely based on her stand-up comedy. The show was a massive hit, running for nine seasons, winning multiple Emmys, a Golden Globe and three American Comedy Awards.
  • Comedy Central roasted Barr in 2012.

Roseanne and 'Roseanne':

In 1987, Barr became the star of her own family sitcom, Roseanne, on ABC, on which she played the mother of the Connor family. The show broke ground on TV, showcasing a blue-collar family and not shying away from the hardships of marriage and raising kids. The show was an immediate hit, remaining in the top rated shows on TV for all of its eight seasons. It racked up dozens of awards and nominations, including Emmy wins for Barr herself.

Behind the scenes of the show, there was a great deal of drama, with Barr constantly wrestling for control of the series with the staff. It ended in 1997 after nine seasons.

More Roseanne on TV:

Following the end of Roseanne in 1997, Barr launched her own talk show in 1998, The Roseanne Show. It ran for only two years, but she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Talk Show host in 1999.

She starred on the reality series The Real Roseanne Show in 2003, which lasted for only 13 episodes. In 2011, Barr returned with another reality series, Roseanne's Nuts, which centered on her running a macadamia nut farm in Hawaii. It was canceled after just a few months on the air.

Books by Roseanne Barr:

  • Roseanne: My Life as a Woman (1989)
  • My Lives (1994)
  • Roseannarchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm (2011)

Additional Roseanne Barr Facts:

  • In 1990, Barr caused controversy after singing "The Star Spangled Banner" at a San Diego Padres baseball game. She sang loudly and off-key, grabbing her crotch and spitting as she had seen ball players do. Barr explained that it was meant to be humorous, but received a firestorm of negative media reaction for the stunt.
  • Her lone attempt at a career as a movie star came when she played the lead in the 1989 comedy She-Devil, opposite Meryl Streep and Ed Begley Jr. The movie was a bomb, and Barr never starred in another movie.
  • Roseanne has been married three times, most famously to actor and comedian Tom Arnold. The pair were married from 1990 to 1994, during which time Barr had Arnold hired as a writer, actor and producer on Roseanne. The two had a very public and acrimonious split.
  • Barr returned to stand-up in 2005, embarking on a world tour. In 2006, HBO aired Roseanne's second stand-up special, Roseanne: Blonde and Bitchin'. It was her first since her HBO comedy special 20 years prior.
  • At 16 years old, Roseanne suffered a serious brain injury after being hit by a car.
  • She turned down the role of Peggy Bundy on the long-running Fox sitcom Married...with Children.
  • She was the first woman to host the MTV Video Music Awards, and was the only woman to do so until Chelsea Handler hosted in 2010.
  • In 2012, Roseanne was the Green Party candidate for President of the United States/
  • During the final two seasons of Roseanne, Barr was the second highest paid woman in show business (after Oprah Winfrey), making $40 million.
  • In 2008, Barr and her partner, Johnny Argent, began hosting the weekly radio show The Roseanne and Johnny Show in Los Angelse. From 2009 to 2010, Barr hosted a political radio show in Los Angeles.
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