Published On: Oct 11 2013 04:03:01 PM CDTUpdated On: Jun 16 2015 01:00:00 AM CDT
On Oct. 18, 1988, the sitcom "Roseanne" premiered. The show, which focused on the Conners, a blue-collar Illinois family, was ranked in the top five in each of its first six seasons, including topping the ratings in its second season, and lasted a total of nine seasons overall before ending in 1997.
Roseanne Barr was the star of the show, playing working mother Roseanne Conner, a takeoff of her stand-up comedy persona of a "fierce working-class domestic goddess," as she called it.
Barr, who won an Emmy in four nominations for "Roseanne," went on to launch her own talk show, "The Roseanne Show," after the sitcom ended in 1997. The talk show ran from 1998 to 2000 before being canceled. She later returned to her stand-up roots with a world tour in 2005 and landed a reality TV show titled "Roseanne's Nuts" that featured herself, boyfriend Johnny Argent, and son Jake as they ran a macadamia nut and livestock farm in Hawaii. The show lasted 16 episodes during the summer of 2011 before being canceled. Most recently, she's had cameos on the sitcoms "The Office" and "The Millers" and served as a judge on "Last Comic Standing" in 2014. She also has dabbled in politics, hosting a politically themed radio show in Los Angeles and seeking the Green Party nomination for U.S. president in 2012. After losing the nomination, she ran for president as the candidate for the Peace and Freedom Party, receiving 61,971 votes overall. In 2015, she revealed that she had been diagnosed with both macular degeneration and glaucoma, and thus is gradually losing her eyesight and expects to eventually go blind.
John Goodman played Dan Conner, Roseanne's husband, who works as a drywall worker, contractor, motorcycle repair shop owner, and construction worker over the course of the series. His character suffered a heart attack in the eighth season and it was later revealed in the show's series finale that he had actually died.
Goodman earned seven straight Emmy nominations for "Roseanne" but never won. By the time he landed the role, he had already appeared in movies like "Revenge of the Nerds" and "Raising Arizona." He continued to land movie roles during the show's run, including playing Fred Flintstone in 1994's "The Flintstones" and starring in movies like "Arachnophobia," "King Ralph," "Barton Fink," "The Babe" and "Matinee." Since "Roseanne," he's starred in movies such as "Blues Brothers 2000," "The Big Lebowski," "The Artist," "Argo" and "The Monuments Men." Perhaps his biggest post-"Roseanne" role, though, came voicing the shaggy blue monster James P. "Sulley" Sullivan in Pixar's "Monsters, Inc." and "Monsters University."
Laurie Metcalf played Roseanne's younger sister Jackie, whose neurotic behavior, unstable romances and job changes became the subject of many storylines over the series' run. Metcalf won three Emmys for the role and was nominated for another.
Metcalf has landed the occasional movie role since "Roseanne," including "Scream 2," "Georgia Rule" and "Stop-Loss," but most of her work has come on television, including a recurring role on "Desperate Housewives," a starring role on the short-lived sitcom "The Norm Show" and a recurring role on "The Big Bang Theory," which has reunited her with "Roseanne" co-stars Johnny Galecki and Sara Gilbert. She also stars in the HBO comedy "Getting On" and the CBS sitcom "The McCarthys," the latter of which was canceled in May 2015 after one season.
Sara Gilbert played Darlene Conner, the younger of Roseanne and Dan's two daughters. Darlene initially was portrayed more of a tomboy who was into sports, but became more artistic and focused on writing as the show moved on. Since she shared her mother's quick wit and smart mouth, the two often clashed on the show.
The younger sister of "Little House on the Prairie" actress Melissa Gilbert, Sara Gilbert earned two Emmy nominations for playing Darlene. Since "Roseanne," she has appeared in a few movies, including "High Fidelity" and "Riding in Cars with Boys," but has focused on television, including recurring roles on "24" and "ER." Since 2007 she's also had a recurring role on "The Big Bang Theory" as Leslie Winkle, a scientist friend and occasional romantic interest of Leonard Hofstadter, played by "Roseanne" co-star Johnny Galecki. She is also a co-host and executive producer of "The Talk," a daytime talk show that premiered in October 2010.
The role of Becky Conner, the oldest of the Conner children, was played originally by Lecy Goranson (left). During the show's fifth season, Goranson left to attend Vassar College, with Becky's absence first being explained by having the character marry her boyfriend and move away to live in Minneapolis. However, the role was recast with actress Sarah Chalke (right) for the sixth season. Believing the eighth season would be the show's last, Goranson signed on to return, with Chalke also occasionally playing the character interchangeably in what became a running gag. Chalke again returned to play the character full time for the show's final season.
Since the show ended, Goranson has had several small roles in films, including "Boys Don't Cry," and has guest starred in TV shows such as "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Sex and the City," "Fringe" and "Damages."
Sarah Chalke is best known as a regular on the sitcom "Scrubs," which ran from 2001 to 2010. She's also had recurring roles on the sitcoms "Cougar Town" and "How I Met Your Mother" and the Fox drama "Backstrom," and starred in the short-lived sitcom "How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)" in 2013.
Michael Fishman played D.J., the third child of the Conner family and the youngest until his little brother, Jerry Garcia Conner, was born during the show's eighth season.
"Roseanne" was the first acting role for Fishman, who played D.J. from the time he was 6 until age 15. Following the show he found small parts in the TV series "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Seinfeld" and in Steven Spielberg's "A.I. Artificial Intelligence." He reconnected with Barr as co-host of her talk show "The Roseanne Show." He also appeared on the Passover episode of Barr's reality TV show "Roseanne's Nuts" in August 2011.
Glenn Quinn joined "Roseanne" during its third season, playing Mark Healy, a biker and "rebel-without-a-cause" type character who dates and later elopes with Becky.
Quinn, a native of Dublin, Ireland, went on to play Doyle (pictured), a half-demon, on the first season of "Angel," a spin-off of the television series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but his character was killed off early in the season. Quinn was found dead in December 2002 of an accidental heroin overdose at age 32.
Johnny Galecki joined "Roseanne" during its fourth season, playing Mark Healy's younger brother, David. He eventually began an on-again, off-again romance with Darlene and became a regular character on the show. In season eight, he married Darlene after learning she was pregnant.
Galecki has appeared in the movies "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "The Opposite of Sex," "Suicide Kings," "Vanilla Sky," "Hancock" and "In Time," but his most high-profile post-"Roseanne" role has been starring in "The Big Bang Theory" as experimental physicist Leonard Hofstadter.
Natalie West played Crystal Anderson-Conner, a childhood friend of Roseanne and Jackie who ends up marrying Dan's father, even though she is considerably younger than he is. She was a regular cast-member for the show's first four seasons, but appeared as an occasional recurring character afterward.
After making her last appearance on "Roseanne" during its eighth season, West took a break from film and TV roles to focus on her stage career. She later made a film comeback in 2004 with the indie film "Life Sentence" and has also appeared in the movies "The Poker House" and "Nate and Margaret" (pictured). She also continues to perform in Chicago theater productions.
Estelle Parsons played the recurring character of Beverly Harris, Roseanne and Jackie's pretentious and hard-to-please mother.
An Oscar-winner for her role in "Bonnie and Clyde" and a nominee for "Rachel, Rachel," Parsons has also acted and directed on Broadway, earning four Tony nominations. Her post-"Roseanne" roles include guest spots on TV shows like "Touched by an Angel," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Frasier" and "The Good Wife."
Martin Mull joined the show during its third season as Leon Carp, who was originally Roseanne's boss at Rodbell's Luncheonette and later became her business partner in The Lanford Lunchbox.
Mull, whose movie career includes roles in the likes of "Mr. Mom," "Clue" and "Mrs. Doubtfire," has more recently had recurring roles on "Arrested Development" and "Two and a Half Men" and starred in the sitcom "Dads," which lasted 19 episodes before being canceled in May 2014.
Michael O'Keefe played Fred Oakland in 35 episodes of "Roseanne," appearing as a recurring character in seasons six through eight. Fred was a mechanic who worked at the garage with Dan and was introduced to Jackie, leading to a one-night stand, accidental impregnation and, briefly, marriage.
O'Keefe, perhaps best known for the role of caddy Danny Noonan in "Caddyshack," also earned an Academy Award nomination for his role in 1979's "The Great Santini." Some of his more recent credits include "The Pledge," "Michael Clayton," "Frozen River" and "Atlas Shrugged." He's also had cameos on TV shows such as "Law & Order," "The West Wing," "House," "The Closer," "Saving Grace" and "Brothers & Sisters." He was also a regular on the short-lived TNT drama "King & Maxwell," which was canceled in September 2013 after 10 episodes, and appeared in the fourth season of Showtime's "Homeland" in 2014.
Sandra Bernhard played Nancy Bartlett, Roseanne and Jackie's friend and business partner, over 33 episodes spread over the second half of the series' run. Nancy was originally married to a character played by Tom Arnold, but came out first as a lesbian and then bisexual after they split up, making her one of the first openly lesbian recurring characters on American television.
A fellow stand-up comedy vet along with Barr, Bernhard has continued to perform live comedy, including shows that were recorded for the live comedy albums "I'm Still Here... Damn It!" and "Everything Bad & Beautiful." She also has made cameos in TV shows like "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Will & Grace," "The L Word" and "Hot in Cleveland," and now has a recurring role on the ABC Family drama "Switched at Birth," the Fox sitcom "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and the CBS sitcom "2 Broke Girls." She also made a cameo in an episode of Barr's reality TV series "Roseanne's Nuts."
Tom Arnold played Arnie Thomas, one of Dan's best friends and former high school classmate, over the course of 20 episodes scattered between the show's second and fifth seasons. He married Nancy but eventually left her, claiming to be abducted by aliens.
Barr originally brought Arnold on as a writer for "Roseanne," but he began making on-screen appearances after the two married in 1990. In 1992, he appeared in his own sitcom "The Jackie Thomas Show," which was canceled after 18 episodes. He went on to star alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1994's "True Lies" and has also appeared in movies such as "Nine Months," "The Stupids," "McHale's Navy" and "Happy Endings." More recently, he's had cameos in TV series such as "Sons of Anarchy," "Franklin & Bash," "Hot in Cleveland" and "Psych," and is now a regular on the Yahoo! Screen comedy "Sin City Saints."
With Barr pregnant in real life in the mid-1990s, the show wrote her pregnancy into the show. In the eighth season, twin boys Cole and Morgan Roberts were brought in to play the newest addition to the Conner household, Jerry Garcia Conner, named in honor of the late Grateful Dead frontman.
The twins, now in their teens, haven't acted since "Roseanne" and are no longer in show business.
James Pickens Jr. played Chuckie Mitchell, an occasional co-worker and poker buddy of Dan's. While he had only a small recurring role on "Roseanne," Pickens went onto similar roles on "The Practice" and "The X-Files" before landing a starring role on "Grey's Anatomy" playing Dr. Richard Webber.
Shelley Winters (right) played Nana Mary, the grandmother of Roseanne and Jackie who first appears in season three at a family barbecue. She appeared in 10 episodes over the course of the series. Winters, who died of heart failure in 2006, won Academy Awards for her acting in "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "A Patch of Blue," and is also remembered for her Oscar-nominated roles in "A Place in the Sun" and "The Poseidon Adventure" and other movies like "The Big Knife," "Lolita," "The Night of the Hunter" and "Alfie."
George Clooney appeared in 11 episodes early on in the series, playing Booker Brooks, the original foreman at the Wellman Plastics factory where Roseanne and Jackie worked. The role came on the heels of his work on "The Facts of Life" and a few years before his breakout role on "ER."
Fred Willard played Scott, a probate attorney who ends up marrying Martin Mull's Leon Carp, on eight episodes late in the show's run. The comedy veteran is best known for roles in the mockumentaries "This Is Spinal Tap," "Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show," "A Mighty Wind" and "For Your Consideration." He's also known for his Emmy-nominated roles on "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Modern Family."
Ned Beatty played Ed Conner, Dan's father, in six episodes of "Roseanne." Ed was a traveling salesman who had a rocky relationship with his son but was beloved by his grandchildren. Beatty is known for movies such as "Deliverance," "Network," "Nashville," "Superman," "Rudy" and "Toy Story 3."
The show also featured its fair share of guest stars, including Mariel Hemingway, who played Nancy's girlfriend and planted a memorable and controversial kiss on Roseanne during the sixth season episode "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
Other guest stars included Morgan Fairchild, who played Marla, Nancy's first girlfriend, on three episodes during the show's fifth season in 1992.
Neil Patrick Harris made an uncredited cameo as Dr. Doogie Howser in a dream sequence in the 1992 episode "Less Is More."
Sharon Stone played a trailer-park resident in the 1995 episode "Happy Trailers."
Jim Varney, better known as Ernest P. Worrell, played Jackie's boyfriend Prince Carlos in two episodes during the show's final season.
James Brolin appeared as Roseanne's business partner/love interest Edgar Wellman Jr. in two ninth-season episodes.
Tammy Faye Bakker, seen here in 2005 about two years before her death, played Roseanne's makeup consultant in the 1996 episode "Pampered to a Pulp."
Tim Curry played Roger, a business partner who leaves Dan and Roseanne in a lurch by taking off and leaving them with a fixed-up house they can't sell, in two fifth season episodes in 1993.
The show also featured appearances from future stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio (far left) as Darlene's classmate during an uncredited role in a 1991 episode.
Alyson Hannigan, later famous for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "American Pie" and "How I Met Your Mother," played Becky's friend Jan in the 1990 episode "Like, a New Job."
Tobey Maguire had a minor role in the 1991 episode "Valentine's Day."
Joseph Gordon-Levitt appeared in four episodes between 1993 and 1995, playing George, the Conners' neighbor and D.J.'s friend.
Stephen Dorff played Jimmy Meltrigger, one of Becky's numerous boyfriends, in three episodes in 1989.
Danny Masterson, later known for his role on "That '70s Show," played Darlene's boyfriend Jimmy in two episodes in 1994.
"Roseanne" also helped start some careers behind the camera as well, including Joss Whedon, who wrote four 1989 episodes after Barr gave him one of his first jobs in Hollywood. Whedon has gone on to create the TV shows "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Firefly" and directed "Marvel's The Avengers" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron."
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