Who Is Roseanne Barr?
Comedian and actress Roseanne Barr started in stand-up comedy before starring in her own hit ABC sitcom, Roseanne, which initially ran for nine seasons and was pioneering in its break from traditional family show formats. Barr won an Emmy Award for her role in the sitcom and also starred in several films, including She-Devil and Look Who's Talking Too, before moving on to reality TV work with Roseanne's Nuts on Lifetime. Roseanne enjoyed a successful reboot in 2018 before it was canceled in the wake of its star's racist Twitter rant.
Early Life and Career
Roseanne Cherrie Barr was born on November 3, 1952, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She married motel clerk Bill Pentland in 1974, and the couple had three children.
Turning her experiences as a wife and mother into a stand-up comedy act, Barr began performing at local clubs. Audiences responded to her "domestic goddess" routine, leading to bigger gigs and the attention of other comics, like Sam Kinison. She started making appearances on The Tonight Show in the mid-1980s.
Sitcom Start in Original 'Roseanne'
The original Roseanne premiered in 1988 and made Barr a television star. Her realistic depiction of wisecracking, working-class mom Roseanne Conner struck a cord with viewers, who tuned in weekly to see her interactions with husband Dan (John Goodman), sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and children.
In 1992, Barr received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her work on Roseanne, she received three Emmy Award nominations, each in the outstanding lead actress in a comedy series category, winning in 1993. The series also earned her a Golden Globe, a Kids' Choice Award and three American Comedy Awards, before wrapping in 1997.
Movies, TV Shows and Other Projects
Barr lent her talents to several feature films during Roseanne's original run. She starred in She-Devil (1989), opposite Meryl Streep and Ed Begley Jr., voiced a baby girl in Look Who's Talking Too (1990) and went on to appear in Freddy's Dead (1991), Blue in the Face (1995) and Meet Wally Sparks (1997). The comedian also wrote two books about her life and career experiences: Roseanne: My Life as a Woman (1989) and My Lives (1994).
Barr hosted her own talk show, The Roseanne Show, from 1998 to 2000. She voiced a cow in Home on the Range (2004), and then returned to her stand-up roots with an HBO comedy special, Roseanne Barr: Blonde N Bitchin', in 2006. That same year, she released her first kids' DVD, Rockin' with Roseanne: Calling All Kids.
In 2007, Barr was chosen to host The Search for the Funniest Mom in America. In March 2009, it was announced that she would be returning to primetime with a new sitcom. That same year, she began co-hosting a one-hour, politically focused show on KPFK.
Barr released her third book, Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm, in 2011. That same year, she returned to the small screen with the debut of Roseanne's Nuts on the Lifetime network. The show, for which she also served as executive producer, aired from July to September 2011, and followed Barr as she oversaw a nut farm in Hawaii.
'Roseanne' Show Revival and Tweet
In 2017, it was announced that most of the original Roseanne cast would reunite for a revival of the hit sitcom. According to Metcalf, the idea came about when fellow co-stars Goodman and Sara Gilbert performed a parody of the show on The Talk, prompting Gilbert to reach out to the rest of the cast about revisiting their familiar characters.
At a media event in January 2018, Barr indicated that the new Roseanne would likely invite controversy through her character's support of President Donald Trump, but insisted it adhered to the show's reputation for authenticity. Additionally, Roseanne was expected to tackle other contemporary hot-button issues like immigration, health care, gender identity and the opioid crisis.
"I’ve always had it be a true reflection of the society we live in," said Barr.
Audiences were certainly receptive to seeing Roseanne back on the air, as a whopping 18.2 million viewers turned in to the March 27 premiere to produce the highest-rated network comedy telecast in almost four years. One of the show's fans turned out to be President Trump himself, who called Barr to congratulate her on the impressive debut.
On May 29, 2018, Barr sent out a racist tweet saying that former aide to President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, was a combination of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. Although she apologized for her "bad joke," ABC canceled the Roseanne reboot, saying, "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show."
Three weeks later, ABC announced that it was moving forward with a spinoff of Roseanne's sitcom family, titled The Conners. The series debuted during in fall 2018 and included the cast and creative team from the recently canceled show after its former star agreed to a settlement in which she relinquished claims to financial and creative involvement.
Barr subsequently released a statement which said: "I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from Roseanne. I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved."
Amid questions of how the spinoff would deal with Roseanne's absence from a narrative standpoint, Goodman said in an August interview with the United Kingdom's Times that the family matriarch will have been killed off before the start of The Conners, with his character acting "mopey and sad because his wife's dead."
Personal Life and Politics
Barr has been married three times, all ending in divorce. After her marriage to Pentland in 1974, the couple called it quits in 1990; days later, Barr married comedian Tom Arnold, but their marriage lasted only four years. In 1995, the actress married her security guard Ben Thomas, and through IVF, gave birth to their son Buck. The couple divorced in 2002.
Barr is currently in a relationship with Johnny Argent, whom she met online. The couple has been together since 2003 and live on Barr's macadamia nut farm in Hawaii.
Barr threw herself into politics, seeking the nation's top office in 2012. She tried for the Green Party's presidential nomination, before losing out to Dr. Jill Stein. Barr then ran as the Peace and Freedom Party candidate. In an interview with Vulture, Barr said she didn't expect to win but was hoping to raise awareness about the country's flawed political system. "I wanted to show how hard it is for anyone who doesn't have $1 billion, who doesn't have any infrastructure, to get their name on the ballot."
Roseanne for President!, a documentary on her presidential bid, debuted in 2015. Around this time, Barr revealed that she was experiencing health problems. She told the Daily Beast website that she has macular degeneration and glaucoma, which will eventually cause her to lose her vision.
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