Who Is John Goodman?

In the 1980s, actor John Goodman landed a string of TV and film appearances. In 1985, he starred as Pap Finn in the musical Big River and stayed until he was cast in his first sizable film role: the David Byrne comedy True Stories. This led to a role in Raising Arizona. In 1987, he was recruited for the sitcom Roseanne, which won him several Emmy nominations. He has continued his on-screen career by appearing in films such as Monsters, Inc. (2001), Argo (2012) and The Monuments Men (2014).

Early Life

John Stephen Goodman was born on June 20, 1952, in Affton, Missouri, to postal worker Leslie Goodman and waitress Virginia Goodman. When Goodman was only 2 years old, his father died of a heart attack, leaving Virginia to raise Goodman and his siblings on her own.

Goodman went to Affton High School, where he excelled in football and dabbled in theater. Following high school graduation in 1970, he won a football scholarship to Southwest Missouri State University. During his first year, he spent much of his time partying and playing football, but an injury squashed his dreams of a professional sports career.

After the injury, Goodman changed his major to drama and studied theater with notable actors such as Kathleen Turner and Tess Harper. In 1975, Goodman graduated with his theater degree and headed to New York to become a professional actor. With a loan from his brother, he found an apartment near the theater district in Manhattan. He worked as a bartender and waiter, while he took small jobs in commercials and voice over performances. In 1978, he joined fellow young and struggling actors Dennis Quaid, Bruce Willis and Kevin Kline in the Broadway production of Loose Ends, but the play failed to grab audiences.

Goodman's career began to build serious career momentum in the early 1980s, however, when he landed a string of television and film appearances including a role on Eddie Macon's Run (1982) and Face of Rage (1983). In 1985, he starred as Pap Finn in the Tony-winning Broadway musical Big River and stayed with the production until he was cast in his first big film role: the David Byrne comedy True Stories (1986). This led to a role in another quirky Southwestern feature, the Coen Brothers' cult-smash Raising Arizona (1987), in which Goodman starred with Nicolas Cage.

'Roseanne' and Other Roles

Goodman was acting in a 1987 stage production of Antony and Cleopatra in Los Angeles, when an ABC talent scout spotted him and recruited him for a role on a new television sitcom. The show Roseanne, starring comedian Roseanne Barr, focused on the ups and downs of a blue-collar Midwestern family. Goodman was chosen to play the jovial, tough-loving father and the foil to Barr's sarcastic, sharp-witted mother. The comedy was an overnight hit and became a career-making move for Goodman. He was nominated for an Emmy seven times between 1989 and 1995, and earned a Best Actor Golden Globe Award in 1993.

Goodman also continued performing on the big screen, taking a co-starring role in the successful Steven Spielberg thriller Arachnophobia (1990), the comedy King Ralph (1991) and the Coen brothers' Barton Fink (1991). He then received critical acclaim for his starring role in the biopic The Babe (1992), about baseball legend Babe Ruth. In 1994, he appeared in the live-action version of The Flintstones opposite comedian Rick Moranis, which became a blockbuster hit.

Goodman's star was on the rise, and he used his new-found fame to produce the made-for-TV biopic Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long (1995), which earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special. His award streak continued with the TV remake of A Streetcar Named Desire, featuring Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange, which earned Goodman his ninth Emmy nod.

During his 1995 hiatus from Roseanne, Goodman returned to the stage for a production of Shakespeare's Henry IV, followed by small roles in Pie in the Sky (1996) and Mother Night (1996). His growing film career led to his decision to leave Roseanne at the end of the eighth season.

'The Big Lebowski' and Continued Film Success

His film career now moving in full force, Goodman appeared in The Borrowers (1997) and then appeared in another Coen brothers film, The Big Lebowski (1997), which earned Goodman rave reviews from critics and audiences and went on to become a cult classic. He also appeared in the Blues Brothers remake Blues Brothers 2000 (1998), with Dan Aykroyd, and starred as Big Dan Teague in another critically acclaimed Coen brothers film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2001), a loose retelling of Homer's epic poem The Odyssey.

In addition to film and television, Goodman added voice-over work to his repertoire with 1993's We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story. The performance led to other voice roles, including the Disney films The Emperor's New Groove (2000), Monsters, Inc. (2001), The Jungle Book 2 (2003) and Cars (2006).

Goodman continued to work steadily in film and television, including an appearance on the short-lived television drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006-07), which earned him an Emmy nomination, and appearances in the Jerry Seinfeld animated film Bee Movie (2007), Speedracer (2008) and Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009).

Recent Roles

Goodman played Creighton Bernette on the acclaimed New Orleans-based series Treme (2010) and joined the series Damages and Community in 2011. On the big screen, he starred in Clint Eastwood's Trouble With The Curve (2012), and alongside Denzel Washington in Flight (2012). That same year, Goodman played John Chambers in the Oscar-winning film Argo. In 2013, Goodman appeared in the Joel and Ethan Coen's' hit Inside Llewyn Davis, among other projects. In 2014, he played Walter Garfield in The Monuments Men and lent his voice to a role in the blockbuster sci-fi hit Transformers: Age of Extinction. The following year, he starred opposite Bryan Cranston in Trumbo and in the holiday comedy, Love The Coopers, opposite Diane Keaton.

Goodman also appeared in the dark thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane and returned to voice-over work in the form of Ratchet and Clank, a big-screen adaptation of the blockbuster video game series, and as folk hero Paul Bunyan in Bunyan and Babe.

Goodman also reprised his role as Dan Connor in the 2018 reboot of Roseanne, as well as in the spinoff The Connors.

Personal Life

Goodman met his wife, Annabeth Hartzog, in New Orleans while filming Everybody's All-American (1988). They married in October 1989, and the couple has a daughter named Molly Evangeline who was born on August 31, 1990.


  • Name: John Goodman
  • Birth Year: 1952
  • Birth date: June 20, 1952
  • Birth State: Missouri
  • Birth City: Affton
  • Birth Country: United States
  • Gender: Male
  • Best Known For: John Goodman is an actor best known for his role as Dan Connor on the hit sitcom 'Roseanne,' for which he was nominated for several Emmys. He has since starred in a number of films.
  • Industries
    • Sports
    • Television
    • Theater and Dance
    • Drama
    • Comedy
  • Astrological Sign: Gemini
  • Schools
    • Affton High School
    • Southwest Missouri State University
  • Nacionalities
    • American

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  • Article Title: John Goodman Biography
  • Author: Biography.com Editors
  • Website Name: The Biography.com website
  • Url: https://www.biography.com/actors/john-goodman
  • Access Date:
  • Publisher: A&E; Television Networks
  • Last Updated: April 8, 2021
  • Original Published Date: April 2, 2014