Tom Arnold Biography

Screenwriter, Television Actor, Comedian, Actor, Film Actor (1959–)
Actor Tom Arnold was married to actress Roseanne Barr for four years and wrote for the sitcom Roseanne. He starred in the film True Lies (1994) and hosted The Best Damn Sports Show Period.

Who Is Tom Arnold?

Tom Arnold is an American actor and comedian who began his career by performing stand-up comedy. He met the comedian Roseanne Barr, who hired him to write for her namesake show, and the two were married for four years. Arnold later starred in the film True Lies in 1994 and hosted The Best Damn Sports Show Period for five years. In 2008, he began hosting CMT's show My Big Redneck Wedding.

Early Life

Actor, comedian and television host Tom Arnold was born on March 6, 1959, in Ottumwa, Iowa. At first, Arnold was largely known for his four-year marriage to comedienne Roseanne Barr. Over the years, however, he has been able to carve out a place for himself in film and television, playing a variety of roles. One of seven children, Arnold’s parents split up when he was 4 years old. He was raised by his father, but clashed with his stepmother after his father remarried.

As a young man, Tom Arnold went to work at a meat factory. But he was dismissed from that job. Arnold told Entertainment Weekly in an interview: “If I hadn’t gotten fired from the meatpacking plant, I . . . would still be working there.” After losing his job, he attended the University of Iowa for a time and became interested in comedy. Arnold started working in clubs around the Midwest. In the early 1980s, he met fellow stand-up talent Roseanne Barr. The two became friends and she invited him to move to Los Angeles and join the writing staff of her self-titled sitcom in 1988.

Marriage to Roseanne Barr

After her divorce in 1989, Roseanne and Tom Arnold became romantically involved. Their relationship was complicated by his drug and alcohol addiction. Eventually he got sober, and the two married in 1990. Every step of the way, they were popular tabloid fodder, with the details of their ups and downs published on nearly weekly basis. Some thought that Arnold may have hooked up with Roseanne just to further his career. Others were stunned by their devotional tattoos - he had her face put on his chest and she had his name written on her derriere.

Professionally Tom Arnold struggled during the early 1990s. He appeared with his wife in 1991 television movie Backfield in Motion and had a recurring role on Roseanne. But he was unable to develop a substantial career on his own. He starred in the sitcom The Jackie Thomas Show, in which he played a former slaughterhouse worker and stand-up comic who lands a television series. But the program, which started out strong, failed to find an audience and was canceled. Next attempt at sitcom stardom, 1994’s Tom, was also short-lived.

Breakthrough Role

Tom Arnold’s career got a boost in 1994 when he appeared on the big screen with Arnold Schwartzenegger and Jaime Lee Curtis in the box office hit True Lies. Casting in a supporting role, he showed audiences and critics alike that he could turn in a strong performance. The critic Robert Ebert called him “surprisingly engaging” in this film. The next year, he appeared with Hugh Grant and Julianna Moore in the comedy Nine Months (1995). Along with these successes, Arnold had his share of duds, such as The Stupids (1996) and McHale’s Navy (1997).

Further Success

In 2000, Tom Arnold added television host to his list of accomplishments, appearing on the Fox Sports Network on Best Damn Sports Show Period. For five years, he served one of the show’s talking heads, adding his own humorous approach to sports news and interviews. After leaving the show in 2005, Arnold received strong reviews for two film projects released that year. He appeared in the dramatic comedy Happy Endings with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jason Ritter and starred and wrote The Kid & I. With his film career on an upswing, Arnold appeared in the inspirational drama Pride (2007) amongst other films.

Besides his marriage to Roseanne, Tom Arnold has tied the knot three more times. He was married to Julie Champnella from 1995 and 1999. In 2002, Arnold wed Shelby Roos, but the couple has separated, according to a 2006 report in the Los Angeles Times. He is currently married to Ashley Groussman.

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