Roseanne aired from October 1988 until August 1997 on ABC.
Roseanne was the biggest new hit on TV during the late 1980s ( an era with very few new hits). It was the lineal descendant of blue-collar TV families stretching back to All in the Family and The Honeymooners, but like all great hits it introduced new elements to reflect its times: mom, not dad, was the center of the household; both were hefty people ( and always in the kitchen), not TV handsome; both worked; and when mom got home, she never failed to have a foul word for her kids.
kid: " Why are you so mean?"
Roseanne: " Cause I hate kids...and I'm not your real mom."
kid: " I'm bored."
Roseanne: " Go play in traffic."
One thing that didn't change , however, was the basic element of a loving family. Mom didn't really mean it, and every put-down was accomplished by a big grin and laugh. Chronically short of money, with employment precarious, the Connors needed to keep laughing. Roseanne and Dan (Roseanne, John Goodman) and their family lived in their hometown of Lanford, Illinois. Dan was an intermittently employed small-time contractor, who eventually opened a motorcycle shop . Roseanne and her younger sister Jackie ( Laurie Metcalf), at first worked at a plastics plant, where several co-workers were seen, Pete (Ron Perkins), Juanita ( Evilina Fernandez), Sylvia ( Anne Falkner). Later she had odd jobs and became a waitress at a local hangout, the Lobo Lounge. Jackie became a cop. Becky ( Lecy Goranson and later Sarah Chalke) was the boy-crazy oldest child, Darlene ( Sara Gilbert), the tomboy, and D;J. ( played by Sal Barone in the pilot and Michael Fishman in the series), the six-year-old who idolized his dad.
Stories included Jackie's relations with her lecherous foreman Booker ( George Clooney), the marriage of Dan's father Ed ( Ned Beatty) to Roseanne's best friend Chrystal ( Natalie West), and lots of stories about " little people" against the system ( the IRS, the school, etc.) Keeping up with the times, the series added Leon ( Martin Mull) in early 1991 as Roseanne's gay boss at a restaurant. Roseanne Arnold's real-life husband Tom appeared periodically as Dan's buddy Arnie ( The Arnolds were later divorced).
Later seasons dwelled on the Connors 'economic travails and their daughters' rocky romances. In 1992 Dan's cycle shop went bust, putting new strains on the family. Becky 's boyfriend Mark ( Glenn Quinn), who had been working for Dan, eloped with 17-year-old Becky, making Roseanne the " mother-in-law from Hell." The newlyweds moved to Minneapolis , then returned and Mark eventually wound up working for Dan once again. Darlene and her boyfriend, mixed up David ( Mark's brother played by Johnny Galecki), had an on-again off-again relationship until she left for art school in 1993 . He then moved into the Connor household since his parents had broken up.
In 1992 Roseanne, Jackie and their friend Nancy ( a lesbian who had once dated Arnie. She was played by Sandra Bernhard) launched their own business, The Lanford Lunch Box coffee shop with help from mother , Bev ( Estelle Parsons). It managed to survive, but soon the sisters had other things on their minds. Jackie had a baby in 1994, then married its father, Fred ( Michael O'Keefe), who got the insperation to propose by watching One Life to Live. Then in the fall Roseanne too became pregnant . She gave birth in October 1995 to Jerry Garcia Connor, in a weird Halloween episode in which Roseanne was visited in the delivery room by the spirit of the late rock musician. Meanwhile Jackie seperated from her husband Fred, and they were eventually divorced, leaving her to raise baby Andy alone. Leon married a guy he had dumped years before, Scott ( Fred Willard).
The final year was a bit bizarre. In the May 1996 season finale, Dan suffered a heart attack at Darlene's wedding reception with David; he recovered, but after a fight, Dan and Roseanne seperated ( actor John Goodman wanted to reduce the number of episodes in which he appeared in 1996-1997). In September the Connors won $108 Million in the Illinois State Lottery, ending their monetary worries and reunited for a time, exploring the world of the rich and famous. Over the winter, Dan traveled to California alone, where he had a secret affair that Roseanne soon found out about, and they broke up again. On top of that it was revealed that Roseanne's mom Bev was a lesbian. In the series finale , Roseanne and Dan reconciled ; Becky and Mark discovered that Becky was pregnant and after a difficult pregnancy, Darlene gave birth to Roseanne's first grandchild, Harris Connor Healy, and she, David and the baby moved in with the Connors. Then in the voice over finale it was revealed that the last season of Roseanne was all in lead character Roseanne Connor's imagination. It seemed she turned to writing to cope with Dan's death of a heart attack last year at Darlene and David's wedding reception and the entire season was a fantasy. Then Roseanne the author and Roseanne the character revealed that the entire series had been part of the fantasy and that the characters in the series were fictional composits of the real people in Roseanne's life. Darlene was really married to Mark and Becky to David . Jackie was gay etc. The episode ended with a T.E. Lawrence quote about dreamers and Roseanne's trademark laugh.
Roseanne was an immediate hit, finishing a strong second to The Cosby Show in its rookie season, and topping Cosby the following season. Cosby's executive producers, Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner, could hardly have been disappointed , as they were also the executive producers of Roseanne.
A Review from The New York Times
Review/Television; Roseanne Smirks Through the Trials of Life
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: October 18, 1988
Turning to his passengers on a Manhattan bus the other day, the driver asked if anybody wanted the 23d Street crosstown. ''Why?'' said a smirking enormous woman sitting opposite me, ''Ya selling one?'' Having just watched the pilot for ''Roseanne'' - which can be seen at 8:30 tonight on ABC - I was freshly familiar with the type.
The comedian Roseanne Barr has long been a sitcom character waiting to be packaged. Over a period of about five years, she went from a George Schlatter television special called ''Funny'' to the ''Tonight'' show to her very own specials on Home Box Office. Her act has varied little.
With a malicious glint in her eyes, Ms. Barr pounces on the absurdities of a tough no-nonsense woman trying to survive in a world of lazy self-inflated men. Popping Cheetos, the cheerfully rotund performer is today's reigning Sneer Princess, putting a new spin on material that was once the preserve of a Phyllis Diller or a Totie Fields.
The new series, created by Matt Williams, sets about dramatizing the character and the jokes that Ms. Barr has been using in her stand-up routines. Mr. Williams is also an executive producer, along with Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner, the team behind ''The Cosby Show,'' another sitcom that grew out of its star's established personality. Not to put too fine a point on it, ''Roseanne'' is off to a terrifically hilarious start.
The blue-collar Conner family lives in a tract home in Lanford, Ill. When not giving her husband, Dan (John Goodman), and their three children the therapeutic benefits of her withering sarcasm, Roseanne holds down a full-time job at a local plastics factory. In her spare moments, she dreams about having a clean house, children who don't talk back and a husband who helps a little. When someone tells Roseanne that ''most people use only 2 percent of their mind's potential,'' she merely wonders, ''That much, huh?''
Roseanne is never at a loss for a zinger. When her foreman refuses to let her leave an hour early, but agrees to give her a half hour ''and it's coming out of your check,'' Roseanne retorts, ''There goes the Porsche.'' Even when her husband reluctantly consents to make dinner for the family, Roseanne can't resist a barb. ''Oh honey,'' she says, dripping concern, ''you fixed dinner three years ago.''
But, of course, there is another side to Roseanne. She gets a kick out of herself and she really does love her children and her big lug of a husband, a construction contractor who spends a good deal of his time looking for work. When a snooty schoolteacher, eager to get to her squash game, complains that one of the Conner children barks in class, Roseanne responds with ferocious dignity, ''Our whole family barks!'' Ellen Falcon directed this premiere episode.
Ms. Barr is a formidable presence in front of the camera and behind the scenes of this new show. She is also listed in the credits as creative consultant. But she does not dominate everything. Almost equally impressive in this pilot in Mr. Goodman's portrayal of the husband, a likable fellow who clearly enjoys and cherishes his wife.
Together Roseanne and Dan are a fetching pair of chubbies who think, with ample justification, that they're pretty cute. It is possible that ''Roseanne'' and Ms. Barr won't be able to keep up with a grueling sitcom pace, which is a bit like having to put together a whole new comedy act once a week. For the time being, though, the laughs just won't stop.
An Article from Time Magazine
Sharp Tongue in the Trenches
Monday, Dec. 05, 1988
By RICHARD ZOGLIN
With her roly-poly figure and truck-driver's tongue, she is hardly your standard-issue TV mom. She works at a plastics factory, berates her good- natured but usually out-of-work husband, and snaps impatiently at her three nattering kids. "Why are you so mean?" complains one tot who doesn't get her way. " 'Cause I hate kids," she replies, "and I'm not your real mom." Her idea of a high time is going out to dinner at a restaurant "that don't have a drive-through." Hearing that two friends have got divorced, she responds with resentful sarcasm: "They shoulda stuck it out in the trenches, dodgin' that shrapnel with the rest of us that believe in true love."
The course of true love takes some strange turns in Roseanne, ABC's new hit sitcom starring comedian Roseanne Barr. This blunt-spoken family may not win any awards for Wonder-bread wholesomeness, but not since The Cosby Show has a TV clan achieved such instant rapport with the American public. Since its debut in mid-October, the show has consistently finished in the Nielsen Top Ten, one week even landing in the heady No. 2 spot, behind only the indestructible Cos.
As usual with a new network hit, Roseanne has been widely hailed as a TV breakthrough. The program's honest portrayal of blue-collar family life is, indeed, unusual for network TV, though hardly unprecedented. Its forebears range from The Honeymooners and All in the Family to, more recently, the Fox network's raunchy satire Married . . . with Children. Still, the show's grungy ambience and gleeful puncturing of TV ideals of happy domesticity have made it the most daring new sitcom of the fall.
Produced by the team responsible for The Cosby Show, Roseanne presents the flip side of the impossibly perfect Huxtables. Yet the two shows have some key similarities: both were inspired by the monologues of a stand-up comic, and both depend on loosely structured, slice-of-life episodes rather than sitcom contrivances. A typical Roseanne segment might revolve around something as prosaic as a visit to a restaurant or a discussion of how to pay the bills. (Roseanne's strategy: "You pay the ones marked final notice, and you throw the rest away.") Best of all, behind the put-downs and childish taunting lies a genuinely affectionate and affecting (if sometimes cutesy) husband-wife relationship.
As Roseanne's portly life partner, John Goodman gives a performance of great humor, heart and physical grace. Barr, by contrast, is still a novice in the acting department. But the show is an unmistakable expression of her comic persona. Born in Salt Lake City to a Jewish family, Barr, 36, quit high school and moved to Colorado, married at 21 and had three children. While working as a cocktail waitress, she started appearing at Denver comedy clubs. After moving to Los Angeles in 1985, she became a regular at the Comedy Store and landed some TV guest shots, gaining a following with her caustic, straight- from-the-heartland comments on the trials of housewifehood.
Her current series originated with Matt Williams, a former writer on The Cosby Show, who had been developing a sitcom about blue-collar working mothers. When Barr was brought in to star, the focus shifted from several women to one: Roseanne. "I identify myself by my values as a woman, not as males perceive me," says Barr. "It's a voice I feel I've never heard in the media, a voice that tells the truth and doesn't worry. It's like having coffee with your neighbor -- the way you talk before the husbands come in."
Barr's strong identification with her character has led to conflicts. She has complained publicly about efforts to tone down her humor and soften the show's feminist message. Sources close to the production say that Barr can be difficult and short-tempered when things don't go her way. Such reports are dealt with in careful euphemisms by the show's creators. "Sure, she's outspoken and opinionated," admits co-executive producer Marcy Carsey. "But if she wasn't, she'd still be in a trailer park in Denver." Says creator Williams: "We challenge each other, and the show is the better for it. It's a rough transition from the total freedom of stand-up to the discipline of weekly TV, but she's been remarkable in adapting."
"I'm not tough to work with," says Barr, "but I care a lot and am real passionate about everything that has my name on it." Though she writes few episodes herself, Barr helps generate story ideas and edits the finished scripts, often making changes right up to taping time. "I knew they'd try to homogenize the character I created," she says. "The question was 'How much?' I wasn't prepared for the answer. It was hard for me to give ideas that weren't executed the way I wanted. That drove me out of my mind."
Her strong ego is evident in the show. Some have compared her character to The Honeymooners' Ralph Kramden, but there is an important difference: for all Ralph's rantings, the point of each episode was to bring him down a notch, to teach him a lesson. Roseanne's zingers seek to elicit cheers, not comeuppance; their point is to teach us a lesson. Still, distinctive voices like hers are rare in network TV, and Roseanne's depiction of the world of tract homes and trailer parks is welcome. "It would be cool if the show opened the door for TV to really reflect the way people live in this country," says Barr. Then she adds with a sigh, "But they'll probably get Flip Wilson to play me on CBS."
An Article from The New York Times
TV VIEW; Roseanne Is No Cousin to Archie Bunker
By WALTER GOODMAN
Published: January 1, 1989
Class, that useful word for a combination of wealth, position, education and style, is one of the dirty nonsecrets of American life. We are flattered by Alexis de Tocqueville's observation on his first visit to America that ''the entire society seems to have melted into a middle class.'' Yet, who can fail to see the unmeltable divisions within the great middle class itself?
In 20th-century America, class is a slippery matter, with people moving not only from working class to middle class in the sort of upward mobility in which we take pride, but straddling classes as well. Today, television is the main raiser or leveler, as it instructs the many in modes of behavior once thought to be above their station. The ''life-style'' messages come through explictly and subliminally: in European-accented commercials for wine and the folksy commercials for wine cooler; in the station wagons that serve middle America's parents in sitcoms and the chauffeured limos on the evening potboilers; in the interior decoration and fashions, nicely attuned to status, that are on display day after day on the soaps. Little kids pretty much know before they start school where they fit in.
Since commercial television is in the business of reflecting class identities even as it changes them, let's check out this season's most popular new comedy show, ABC's ''Roseanne.'' The unsvelt look of Roseanne and Dan Conner, as played by Roseanne Barr and John Goodman with sloppy good spirits, bespeaks working-stiff types who have not yet got into health food. She works in a plastics plant; he is in construction. The family budget is tight but not fatal. They bowl. When Dan comes home, he reaches not for Roseanne but for a can of beer. They spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
The show, however, is lubricated by banter that bespeaks a comfortable acquaintance with and a sly superiority toward upper-class ways. Roseanne recalls that after high school, ''I was gonna go to New York and become a writer-slash-spokesmodel.'' When Dan and Roseanne go out to a fancy restaurant (they have a discount coupon), Dan asks for a wine list as though to the manor born, then orders a beer while he's waiting. When the hostess announces: ''This is Charles and he'll be your waiter,'' Roseanne instantly cracks back: ''Hello, Charles, this is Dan and I'm Roseanne, and we'll be your customers.''
No, these folks are not forelock tuggers. For one thing, they must know that despite their money problems, blue-collar Americans often make more than the white collars. Moreover, mocking the nobs is an old pleasure of the unwashed, but to do it well requires an up-to-the-minute acquaintance with upper-class pretentions. When she is called in by one of her daughter's teachers, Roseanne has no trouble dealing with the educationist jargon. The teacher thinks that 11-year-old Darlene's habit of barking in class indicates deep-seated problems and wonders how much time the family spends together. ''You mean, quality time?'' inquires Roseanne. It's very different from the days when immigrant parents would approach their children's teachers in fear and trembling and smack the kids around if they got a bad report. Roseanne can smell baloney in the classroom as well as in the restaurant.
How did Roseanne, who doesn't travel much and is rarely caught reading anything between hard covers, get so smart, so much smarter than earlier working-class representatives like ''The Honeymooners''? Why, by watching television - how else? Granted, in their television tastes, too, Americans are divided by class, with PBS catering to the Masterpiece Theater set. As one of the well-to-do nitwits in Neil Simon's new farce, ''Rumors,'' remarks, ''Cops don't watch PBS.'' Naturally, the cop who comes calling proves an exception, but it is generally understood that while all classes may tune in to Sunday afternoon football and ''60 Minutes,'' by 9 P.M., there is a split. Big Dan goes for big-time wrestling. Nonetheless, as ''Roseanne'' itself demonstrates, popular shows are often imbued with the attitudes and know-how of the well-read types who write them. The shows are usually a couple of steps ahead of the mass audience on such things as ''values.'' That's how come Roseanne, who never went to college, proves such a shrewd psychologist of her friends' neuroses and the antics of her kids.
So, here we are, a television generation after ''All in the Family,'' and the Conner household is wondrously free of bigotry. One of Roseanne's coffee-break chums is a black woman, and nobody makes a big deal about it. For all the naughty words and smart cracks, ''Roseanne'' is not aimed at stirring up the sort of commotion that ''All in the Family'' did when it began back in 1971. Set against the nice families that had occupied the small screen in the 1950's and 60's, the Bunkers were positively freakish. Archie had a bad word for everybody - and, unlike Roseanne, he meant it. There wasn't a socially redeeming thought in the man's head. Despite appearances, the Conners are throwbacks to a kinder, gentler sitcom. They represent inoffensiveness with a dirty face.
What's to offend? Children's-rights advocates can rest easy: Mom and Dad never lay a hand on the kids, except in affection. N.O.W. will not picket: Roseanne is sufficiently assertive to meet fem-lib requirements. Nobody's political or religious sensibilities are endangered: We don't know how either Dan or Roseanne voted in November; the election was never mentioned in their kitchen. And although Ms. Barr was wont to make quite a megillah in her stand-up routines about being Jewish, that, too, is an unmentionable on the tube. Half-way through the season, it's still unclear whether these folks go to church, much less which church.
Although the one-liners smack of urban smarts, they are unprovocatively domestic:
''Mom, I've got a knot in my shoe.'' ''Wear loafers.'' ''Mom, where's my English book?'' ''I sold it.'' ''Why are you so mean?'' ''Because I hate kids - and I'm not your real mom.'' ''Then at least there's hope.''
It sounds tough, but it is soft-core humor, redeemed by a hug. My hunch is that we never will learn how Roseanne and Dan vote, but that a future episode will find them trying an all-bran diet and maybe some jogging and probably giving up on both with a wisecrack and going back to beer and Cheetos. These creatures of television have to know what is in so that they can continue to be out in a reassuring way, offering viewers the satisfaction of seeing class differences mocked but never challenged. Television is a lot more democratic than life.
An Article from The New York Times
A New Producer Is Hired for 'Roseanne'
By BILL CARTER, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: January 11, 1990
Executives at ABC and the network's most successful program, ''Roseanne,'' said this week that concerns about the star of the show prompted a decision to hire an additional executive producer on the program.
One executive, who declined to be identified, also said that ABC commissioned a poll to determine if the popularity of the actress, Roseanne Barr, had suffered as a result of negative publicity during the last year. ''Roseanne'' continues to be the highest-rated program on ABC, but it is no longer consistently the top-rated program on television, as it was at the beginning of the television season.
The program, now in its second season, finished third last week, behind two NBC programs, ''The Bill Cosby Show'' and ''Cheers.'' On the strength of the growth it experienced last year, ''Roseanne'' was expected to surpass both of those long-running shows this season. A tracking study of the popularity of television stars, conducted by a rival network, has turned up signs of slippage in Ms. Barr's appeal, an executive at that network said.
''We never detected any negatives at all about 'Cosby' after it became this kind of hit,'' said the executive, who declined to be identified.
But the popularity study commissioned by ABC found no such slippage, an ABC executive said. ABC executives pointed to the consistency of the program's ratings as evidence that viewers were not drifting away from the series. The episode on Tuesday night was the third-highest-rated episode of the season. Robert A. Iger, the president of the ABC entertainment division, said in an interview on Monday that he was not concerned about the future of the show or about reports of difficulties dealing with Ms. Barr's demands, which included a request to fire a producer and to alter the personality of her character.
'Cares Deeply About the Show'
''I think my concern is not as strong as the press thinks it should be,'' Mr. Iger said. ''I've met with Roseanne, and she expressed to me in a very effective way that she cares deeply about the show.'' Ted Harbert, the executive vice president of programming at ABC, said of Ms. Barr: ''She shows up for work every week, on time. If she weren't doing that, we might be worried.''
But one executive said Ms. Barr tried to force Jeff Harris, the executive producer in charge of the program, off the series in the last several weeks. Last year, Ms. Barr insisted that the show's original executive producer, Matt Williams, leave the series because of differences about how the Roseanne character was portrayed in the show's early episodes.
''The network said 'no way' this time,'' said the executive, who declined to be identified. But ABC did urge the Carsey-Werner Company, the owners of ''Roseanne,'' to hire Jay Daniel, a producer thought to be better able to work with Ms. Barr, the executive said. Mr. Daniel had worked on ''Moonlighting,'' a program owned by ABC. ''He was the best person that show ever had at holding Cybill's hand,'' an executive said regarding Cybill Shepherd, a star of the show. One executive connected to the ''Roseanne'' series says Mr. Daniel's official title is co-executive producer, but ''basically he will be v.p.-Roseanne.'' Mr. Daniel joins three executive producers.
''If he can keep her in sync, it would justify any salary we have to pay him,'' the executive said.
About a Portrayal
The executive said Ms. Barr ''has her own concept of her character; she's passionate about it.'' This concept involves showing far more anger, the executive said, than the show's writers and producers are comfortable with.
But Ms. Barr has ''excellent instincts'' and her opinions are respected, the executive added.
ABC's concerns about Ms. Barr are tied to many well-publicized incidents, including most recently the breakup of both her marriage and her engagement to a writer of the show. There were several instances in which she supposedly dropped her pants in public. One ABC executve said the network had received mail about the so-called mooning incidents, incidents Ms. Barr has neither confirmed nor denied. But Mr. Iger said, ''A little too much has been said and written about Roseanne.'' He added, ''I haven't been mooned.''
Several telephone calls to try to reach Ms. Barr were not returned.
An Article from The New York Times
TV VIEW; By Any Name, Roseanne Is Roseanne Is Roseanne
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: August 18, 1991
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the first, er, lady of Prime-Time Television, Roseanne Barr. Wait a minute. Make that Roseanne Arnold.
Whether as Barr or Arnold, Roseanne clearly loves to keep friends, fans and enemies off balance. She is not easy. She has cast aside many of the people who were crucial to her initial success, including her manager and agent. A prototypical outsider -- she grew up in Utah as a Jew who attended Mormon services -- she thumbs her nose at the Hollywood establishment and, indeed, all establishments. But even in that, she is not predictable; Roseanne promised her second husband, Tom Arnold, that she would take his name if he converted to Judaism, and has now asked to be referred to as Mrs. Arnold.
The comedienne has gone down a bumpy and often dangerous road in the five years since her career began taking off nationally. It has been a journey that, in all likelihood, would have destroyed any other entertainer. She has certainly paid a public-relations price.
This year, once again, the good citizens who confer the Emmy Awards have failed even to nominate Roseanne Arnold or her hit television show "Roseanne." But their uppity insult serves only to make the Emmys (which will be given out next Sunday, in a ceremony to be broadcast live on the Fox network at 8 P.M.) all the more irrelevant.
In an era of skinny worship, she unapologetically vacillates between being fat and very fat, bragging with Rabelaisian gusto of her active sex life. After screeching her way through the National Anthem at a baseball game last summer, she even had George Bush denouncing her as "disgraceful."
Professing to be a militant feminist, she makes many prominent feminists uneasy, in some instances, apparently, because she's not terribly, well, feminine. An outspoken supporter of rights for gay men and lesbians, she can make wisecracks that leave both of those groups wincing. She refuses to take men seriously ("They are so funny to me, I just find them hysterical"). And her raucous antics, public and private, are calculated affronts to middle-class propriety.
One fact, no doubt unsettling to the Emmy-conferring Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, just won't go away. Despite the fervent ill wishes of many bruised egos on the sidelines, "Roseanne," on Tuesday nights at 9 on ABC, continues to be one of commercial television's biggest hits, this past season remaining in the top 10, more often in the top 5 (detractors are often reduced to sputtering that it could have been a bigger hit).
For three years now, some experts, taking note of backstage chaos, have been predicting the demise of the show. In a recent magazine poll, posing the question: "Which of the following people, if any, would you least like to take a very long ride with?" Mrs. Arnold was first, ahead of Andrew Dice Clay.
But, obviously, a good many people out there like her. The ratings, as advertisers attest, can't be ignored. Who connects with this fiercely independent, caustic and difficult woman? The demographics indicate that her most loyal fans are women between the ages of 18 and 34. But that doesn't tell you much. The comic Alan King, on his Comedy Central interview series called "Inside the Comedy Mind," came closer when, opening a recent session with Mrs. Arnold, he rattled off a list of viewers she supposedly represents:
"The hopeless underclass of the female sex. Polyester-clad, overweight occupants of the slow track. Fast-food waitresses, factory workers, housewives -- members of the invisible pink-collar army. The despised, the jilted, the underpaid."
Mrs. Arnold, her face lighting up with delight, said, "In other words, the coolest people." At the end of the half hour, Mr. King reminded Roseanne that she had once described herself as "one happy fat" woman. Would she stick with that? Laughing, Roseanne said she would only add two words: "One happy, smart, fat, rich" woman. Don't underestimate the "smart" element. Tackle Roseanne Arnold at your own risk.
Arsenio Hall got a taste of her wrath in January in a Home Box Office special called "Roseanne: Live From Trump Castle." Near the end of the embarrassingly messy show -- she said it was meant to be a takeoff of aging stars doing glitzy Las Vegas turns, but nobody got the joke -- the comedienne announced that she was fed up with Mr. Hall constantly using her as the butt of insulting fat jokes. She proceeded to issue a warning in the form of a capsule autobiography:
"I'm 37 years old. I've got four kids. I'm Jewish and I was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was raised a Mormon and my dad sold crucifixes door-to-door to Mexicans. When I was 7, I fell down and bit off my whole lip and had to have that sewn back on. When I was 16, I got hit by a car and got my head impaled on the hood ornament. I got pregnant the first time I ever had sex. My parents made me give her up for adoption. I found her 18 years later after her face was splashed across the front page of The National Enquirer. Spent eight months in a state mental institution. Hitchhiked across country three times all by myself -- with hepatitis. Lived in a car, a cabin and a cave. Married a guy just because he had a [ bleep ] bathtub. Had three more kids. He treated me like [ bleep ] for 16 years and when I finally had the guts to dump that s.o.b., I have to pay him half the money I make for the rest of my goddamn life."
The message to Mr. Hall: You want to mess with me? Don't even think about it. I've been through it all, and I'm as tough as they come.
All of which seems belligerently clear enough, but then there are the inevitable Roseanne contradictions. During the same act, she sarcastically offered to say one nice thing about Mr. Hall: "It's not that often that we get to see a black nerd on television." Hoots from the audience. Then the Roseanne kicker: "I mean most nerds are white people, like you." More laughter, this time with a nervous edge. Then, inevitably, a month or so ago, Mrs. Arnold appeared on "The Arsenio Hall Show," and host and guest positively cooed over each other, promising to get together more often. The not to be overlooked upshot: Mr. Hall is no longer telling Roseanne fat jokes.
Autobiography is an integral part of the Roseanne routine. The dividing line between the performer and woman is just about invisible. Her early "domestic goddess" act was all the more hilarious for its quite evident authenticity. And even stuffed into the formula of a sitcom, the comedienne transcends the working-class housewife character of Roseanne Conner with her own unmistakable personality.
The series had its gestation in a 1987 HBO special that, tongue in cheek, constructed a sitcom framework around her stand-up performance. The current ABC series carries the credit "created by Matt Williams" but "developed by" would be more apt.
Mrs. Arnold herself is clearly the creator in this territory. Much of the off-camera tumult has stemmed from her dissatisfaction with producers and writers she considered too bound to the traditional rules, or cliches, of weekly sitcom. Saying that she was being reduced to little more than zingy one-liners, she has insisted that more of her own concerns be allowed to emerge in the scripts.
She has not been, to put it mildly, diplomatic. One executive producer, Jeff Harris, announced his 1990 departure with a large ad inVariety: "I have chosen not to return to the show next season. Instead, my wife and I have decided to share a vacation in the relative peace and quiet of Beirut." The star's subsequent comment: "Yeah, they're not going to think you're very funny in Beirut, either."
This past season, Mrs. Arnold said that the series was trying to recruit writers among comics who have never written for television, people who "are off the beaten track and are real angry." In fact, much to the consternation of her detractors, the show is generally better (although some of the scripts attributed to Tom Arnold have been noticeably ragged). Beneath the sitcom surface, beyond the family crises that can be tidily solved in 22 minutes, "Roseanne" can be slyly subversive.
This sitcom simply refuses to act like most of the others. Here is a show on which, not infrequently, people don't have enough money to buy things -- right in the heart of Consumerland. This particular family is strong enough to admit that they don't always like one another very much. Dan (John Goodman) is a construction worker who can't always find work. Roseanne has led a factory strike, been unemployed and now struggles along as a minimum-wage waitress in a coffee shop. She and the show don't bat an eye when her boss (Martin Mull) casually reveals that he is gay.
This is not "Leave It to Beaver," obviously. It's also not "All in the Family." Far from being a dingbat like Edith Bunker, Roseanne Conner is in charge, and her big teddy-bear of a husband, still clearly lusting for her, couldn't be happier. Mrs. Arnold has acknowledged some debt to Jackie Gleason, another top banana who never got even an honorary award from the Emmy people, but his Ralph Kramden was a considerably safer character than the militant Roseanne Conner.
Writing in The New Republic magazine, Barbara Ehrenreich describes Mrs. Arnold's stance as "proletarian feminism," something that is not "a professional, careerist woman's thing." In The National Review, on the other hand, Jim Atkinson, referring to the comedienne as "the Hulk Hogan of feminism," perceives her as "a cunning marketeer who has figured out how to parlay a form of vulgar reverse sexism into stardom." Tom Arnold, grinning affably during a television interview, put still another spin on the Roseanne phenomenon: "We're America's worst nightmare -- white trash with money."
There are those among her former and present colleagues who insist that Mrs. Arnold thrives on discord, working best in conditions of turmoil. There is always the possibility that, at any given moment, she may stumble across the threshold of career disintegration. One thing is certain: she will not sit still long enough to be pigeonholed. RARELY A DULL MOMENT
Some of the more memorable events in Roseanne Barr's life as a star:
October 1988: "Roseanne" has its debut on ABC and becomes one of the top three series on TV.
January 1989: Matt Williams, an executive producer for "Roseanne" credited with its creation, is forced off the show by the star, who says either he goes or she will.
September 1989: "Roseanne: My Life as a Woman" is published and becomes a best seller.
December 1989: Her film debut, in "She-Devil" co-starring Meryl Streep, bombs at the box office.
Jan. 20, 1990: Ms. Barr marries Tom Arnold, a comedian six years younger than she.
March 1990: Jeff Harris, the series' executive producer, resigns and places an ad in Variety saying that he has decided to "vacation in the relative peace and quiet of Beirut."
July 25, 1990: The comedienne sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" (in photograph) off key, grabs her crotch and spits at a Padres-Reds double header in San Diego.
September 1990: "Little Rosie," an animated children's show featuring the comedienne's voice, has its debut on ABC but lasts only one season, because the network insists that more boys be added and the star refuses.
December 1990: Ms. Barr provides the voice of a wisecracking little girl in the film "Look Who's Talking Too."
June 1991: Roseanne and Tom Arnold settle a $35 million lawsuit against The National Enquirer and The Star and regain their love letters, published by the tabloids. Terms of the settlement are not disclosed. The couple renews their marriage vows in a religious ceremony and Ms. Barr changes her professional name to Roseanne Arnold. -- Michael Kuby
An Article from The New York Times
TELEVISION VIEW; On 'Roseanne,' The Recession Is a Laugh Riot
By WALTER GOODMAN
Published: October 25, 1992
With gloomy news about the economy filling the nightly news, the talk shows and the campaign documentaries, it is a pleasure to announce that the Conners are having a good recession. Yes, Dan's motorcycle shop conked out to begin the season, which sent Mark, his young helper, and daughter Becky eloping to Minneapolis, where a job awaits. Roseanne can't get work of her own; there are squabbles over money, problems with mortgage payments and worries about the electricity bill. (The telephone still operates, or how would a sitcom get along?) But the main thing is that the wisecracks keep coming and ratings stay high.
Making jokes out of dire circumstances is a treasured American characteristic, a way to cope and no doubt a sign of mental health. Probably that is how Roseanne's nearest and dearest, punchy from punchlines, manage to stay on this side of neurosis. "I knew we shouldn't have gone into business for ourselves," Roseanne says to Dan by way of commiseration. "There's no one to steal from."
But whereas in life, gags may be a cushion against hard knocks, in a sitcom the knocks are merely occasions for the gags. You can be sure that nothing too drastic will happen to the Conners; that's the difference between a sitcom and a soap opera. When, a few weeks ago, Becky, that good girl, became upset enough to attack dear old Dad for ruining her life by his incompetence, it struck a shrill and false note, and in a moment the show went back to snappier tunes.
Be assured that Dan and Roseanne Conner will survive the tough times without losing too much sleep or a single pound. (I imagine Roseanne Arnold and John Goodman are contractually obligated by ABC to maintain a certain heft.) Even if they have to go through their savings, they will be yakking it up all the way from the bank. "I like the kids poor," cracks Roseanne. "That way they don't fight to be the favorite."
The reality quotient in "Roseanne" seems high: the house at Third and Delaware, Lanford, Ill., Middle America, is busy and crowded; the inmates can hardly stay out of one another's way. Somebody is always doing the laundry or fixing a meal or gobbling junk food while staring at the tube. But this is camouflage. The world is not allowed to strike too deep. Spirits never flag, even when the cable service is in jeopardy. Roseanne is able to joke about not getting hired after waiting around for hours for an interview for a job that requires no skill or experience. The show is brilliant at coaxing audience empathy without risk of making anyone too depressed to watch.
Anyhow, just in case anybody out there was brooding over the Conners' prospects as the recession slogs along, who should show up but Roseanne's take-charge mom. Not only is she a great target for mother and mother-in-law jokes, but she also brings with her two checks for $10,000 each, for Roseanne and her sister, Jackie. Talk about points of light! And President Bush would be overjoyed to learn that the family is investing in a loose-meat restaurant, whatever that is. Small business may yet save the country.
For a moment, when the gift was handed over, Roseanne seemed downright earnest: "Mom, you have no idea how much this means to us now." But a breath later, she was back in form. Grabbing the check from her daughter Darlene, everybody's favorite awful teen-ager, she said: "Give me that check. You're drooling the zeros off it."
So the crisis, if it was a crisis, seems to be ebbing. As Roseanne has put it, "Poverty is grand, but we've tried that." Although she could not obtain a bank loan for the restaurant last Tuesday, the deus ex mamma came through with more money. But now she wants to be a full partner, which means -- and this is the important point -- that Roseanne will have Mom to kick around for a while longer.
Has the experience affected the Conners' political inclinations, as it seems to have affected those of millions of their fellow citizens? Well, you can't tell. Roseanne is no blue-collar Murphy Brown. Politics is not much discussed at the Conners' dinner table, even though it lends itself to the put-downs that are the family's favorite dish. The Conners didn't even seem to notice that some of their usual television shows were pre-empted by the campaign debates. The Simpsons are more politically aware.
Can it be that indifference to public issues is one of the elements, along with the dependable one-liners and the cluttered ambiance, that keeps fans coming back to "Roseanne"? In the throes of a tube-saturating Presidential campaign, even people who vote may take comfort in the weekly visit to one household where George Bush and Bill Clinton will never be household words.
An Article from The New York Times
'Roseanne' and ABC Clash Over a Kiss
Published: February 9, 1994
ABC is engaged in another feud with Roseanne and Tom Arnold, this time over a kiss.
The March 1 episode of "Roseanne" was to feature a kiss, exchanged in a gay bar, between Mrs. Arnold's character and a character played by Mariel Hemingway. According to Mr. Arnold, however, ABC will not allow the episode to be broadcast as is because it violates network standards.
ABC has refused to comment on the dispute.
In the episode as it was originally taped, Roseanne Conner goes to the gay bar with her bisexual friend Nancy (played by Sandra Bernhard), dances with a woman (played by Ms. Hemingway) and exchanges the kiss. Later, she has to try to explain this to her husband, Dan (played by John Goodman.)
The show is produced by the Carsey-Werner Company. "We're 100 percent behind the episode," said James Anderson, the company's vice president for public relations.
A kiss between two women or two men is still considered essentially taboo on network television. Last year, when the CBS series "Picket Fences" showed a kiss between two teen-age girls, the network insisted the scene be shot in semi-darkness.
The kiss is the latest installment in a long-running and highly public battle the Arnolds have been waging against ABC since last year, when the network canceled "The Jackie Thomas Show," starring Mr. Arnold. ABC was accused by Mrs. Arnold of mishandling the show, which was given the coveted time slot after "Roseanne," and of lying to her.
This year is the last in Mrs. Arnold's contract with ABC. She is negotiating with the network over the future of her show, the third-highest-rated series on television.
An Article from The New York Times
Roseanne Splitting, Again
Published: May 15, 1994
For a second time, the actress Roseanne Arnold has filed for divorce from Tom Arnold, her publicist says. Last month, Mrs. Arnold, star of the ABC series "Roseanne," filed a divorce petition accusing her husband of abuse, but she withdrew it after a few days. The new petition, filed on Friday, cites irreconcilable differences, said Mrs. Arnold's publicist, Kevin Campbell.
Mr. Arnold, star of the CBS series "Tom," "has nothing to say at this time," said his publicist, David Brokaw.
An Article from The New York Times
After Nips And Tucks, What Is 'Roseanne'?
By CARYN JAMES
Published: October 8, 1996
For the last few years the sitcom ''Roseanne'' and the star Roseanne have been dancing around a tricky question, How can a rich, powerful, surgically revamped Hollywood star remain a working-class heroine? This season the show is confronting that question with a plot twist that might be the smartest, or the worst, thing the show ever did. The fictional Conner family won the lottery, $108 million worth. Roseanne Conner had a fast, tongue-in-cheek plan for spending the cash. ''I'm getting me a ton of plastic surgery,'' she said.
The real Roseanne has already been there, of course. In the eight years since her show began, she has transformed herself from a stand-up comic making jokes about being a domestic goddess in a trailer park into a glitzy celebrity trailing gossip wherever she goes. She has turned into a one-name wonder, like Cher or Madonna. And she has transformed her face, as every week's opening credits proudly display. In a series of photographs from the show's beginning to now, Roseanne, after about a ton of plastic surgery, comes to resemble a distant relative of her former self.
So winning the lottery offers more than a way to rejuvenate an aging sitcom. It brings Roseanne Conner, who began as her creator's comfortable alter ego, closer to the real Roseanne.
But nearly a month into the new season, the lottery plot seems a lost opportunity. It is evidence that the show, which has tumbled out of the top 10, lost its working-class soul long ago.
Like it or not, ''Roseanne'' (at 8 tonight on ABC) was a benchmark series. It was a hit because it tapped into the audience's desire to see something other than the typical idealized, upper-middle-class television family. On ''Roseanne,'' the parents screamed and had weight problems. The children didn't seem destined to be brain surgeons. Crude and loud on the surface, and loving way beneath, the Conners seemed refreshingly close to home to many viewers.
As Roseanne become more powerful, her show tackled serious social issues like unemployment, abortion and alcoholism and depicted a gay wedding before it became a hot-button political issue. But like any aging show, ''Roseanne'' has strained for effect lately, and the transformed star has seemed increasingly distant from her working-class creation. In this season's opener, before winning the lottery, Roseanne and John Goodman, who plays her husband, Dan, walked through weakly written parodies of old television shows like ''Mary Tyler Moore'' and ''I Dream of Jeannie,'' a trick that flopped last year. Instead of tapping into pop-culture nostalgia or making some social comment, the fantasies were about Roseanne dressing up as earlier television icons.
Since then the lottery plot has made the fakeness of Roseanne Conner more pronounced, and resulted in self-indulgent fantasy sequences. First, the Conners' house was invaded by journalists and hangers-on, a situation more meaningful to the celebrity Roseanne than to her alter ego. Last week, the Conners sat at the kitchen table discussing the local fame that has come with their money.
''How come that Ted Koppel ain't called us yet?'' Roseanne whined.
''Oh, he's lost his edge,'' said Dan.
''Well, he's no Jerry Springer,'' Roseanne said, as the episode went into a fantasy of the family on ''The Jerry Springer Show.'' The Conners were tongue-tied; the audience was stupid; Roseanne ended up being bleeped when she screamed at a woman in the audience. What was meant to be a parody of talk shows turned to be a dull, condescending jab at them, largely because Roseanne the celebrity hovers uncomfortably over Roseanne Conner, a character she no longer inhabits in any convincing way.
Her post-lottery fantasies have had little to do with what average families might want. Instead, Roseanne fantasized that she and her sister posed, in colorful spandex, for Playboy. She fantasized that she won the Miss Universe contest wearing a black bathing suit.
Dan Conner remains the show's tether to reality. His heart attack last season may have had practical reasons behind it, because Mr. Goodman had said he was probably not returning to the series. Still, the story was effective. Mr. Goodman is back after all, though not every week. Tonight's episode (not available for preview) centers on Dan, who worries that he has neglected his clinically depressed mother. Mr. Goodman, the actor ''Roseanne'' can least afford to lose, will then vanish for a few episodes.
Roseanne has said this season will be the sitcom's last. But she has strayed so far from what made the show succeed in the first place, she might as well pack up her cash and her celebrity and move on.
An Article from The New York Times
'Roseanne' and the Risks of Upward Mobility
By CARYN JAMES
Published: May 18, 1997
SOMETIMES THE MOST revealing social statements come in unpretentious guise. ''I wouldn't pay $12.95 for spaghetti if they had Mr. Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee himself in the kitchen,'' Roseanne Conner shrieks to her family during a rare outing at a fancy restaurant. This episode of ''Roseanne'' appeared last year, during that up-and-down phase of the ABC show when the heroine owned a luncheonette; that is, after she stopped working in a factory but before she became a millionaire by winning the lottery.
Looking back over the show's nine-year run, which ends on Tuesday (with an hourlong special that starts at 8), the Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee episode, ''The White Sheep of the Family,'' is an obvious high point. It is a marker that helps chart the evolution of the hit series from the jolting working-class truth of its early days to the pseudo-working-class chic of the last year. And it suggests how ''Roseanne'' flourished by addressing close-to-the-bone issues, dragging them into mainstream consciousness. By doing that, the show had an impact even on people who never watched it.
In ''The White Sheep of the Family,'' Darlene (Sara Gilbert), the smart middle child, turns down a job in advertising that pays $500 a week, choosing to finish college instead. It is an astonishing decision for someone whose mother thinks, You can dress it up and call it pasta, but it's still not worth $12.95. By the end of the episode, it is clear that Roseanne and her husband, Dan (John Goodman), feel threatened by the idea that one of their children will outpace them. When Darlene makes her typically sarcastic remarks about the Conner household -- with its afghan flung over the back of a shabby sofa and its constantly bickering family members -- it seems that their own daughter has become a snob. ''It's like you're one of them and you're putting us down,'' Roseanne says.
''Maybe I'm a little jealous of you because of all the stuff I had to do in order for you to get there, like working in beauty salons and restaurants and factories,'' she tells her educated daughter. ''But the good part is that I was able to give my kids better than I had.''
This was ''Roseanne'' at its socially conscious best, dealing with class, family and upward mobility with a trenchant honesty few sitcoms have ever managed.
The show wasn't that smart and honest every week. And even before the recent post-mortems started pouring in, Roseanne herself was wildly inflating her own importance as a groundbreaking feminist. (She didn't invent the idea of a strong woman on television, though she certainly raised its profile and its decibel level.) Despite its lulls and its heroine's abrasive presence, though, the series played a crucial role in defining social class and establishing the dysfunctional family as the norm in the 1990's. Only ''All in the Family,'' which ran from 1971 to 1979, had an equal influence in undermining the illusory, picture-perfect harmony in America's television families.
The Conners have been a family defined by struggle, and the deflating humor inside the house (Dan: ''Are you sorry you married me?'' Roseanne: ''Every minute of my life.'') was a perfect reflection of their perilous situation in the economically hostile world outside. The Conners fought the world, and they fought one another too, though their affection was never in doubt.
As the family moved from blue collar to middle class to wealthy, ''Roseanne'' tapped into the tensions that accompany such changes. Unlike most sitcoms, the show had a father who was never the sole breadwinner. Dan Conner's career was a constant battle between the American dream of enterprise and the need for a steady income. Over the years he started and lost a motorcycle shop, worked as a building contractor, then had to give that up and go to work for the city.
Roseanne herself was loud and crass, mirroring the star's persona more than any class distinction. Think about Roseanne in sweat pants and a bra riding piggyback on Dan, squealing about their winning lottery ticket; you don't have to be an overeducated snob for the word vulgar to pop into mind.
In fact, as a working-class heroine, the abrasive Roseanne owes far less to ''The Honeymooners,'' with its lovable Kramdens, than to ''All in the Family,'' with the bigoted Archie Bunker as an unlovable, true-to-life lead. It is that acerbic attitude that made Roseanne Conner such a lightning rod. She was Mom mixed with Don Rickles, and her series seemed based on the premise that the family that yells together stays together.
In syndication, the early episodes of the series still roll by, preserving the early Roseanne and the days when there was scarcely a difference between Roseanne Conner and the gum-chomping stand-up comic who declared herself a ''domestic goddess.'' In the premiere episode, Roseanne is called to a conference at school because Darlene has been barking like a dog in history class. Roseanne has to ask her factory supervisor at Wellman Plastics for time off. (The biggest visual shock may not be the less glamorous Roseanne of 1988 but the supervisor, played by a George Clooney with longish hair and a pocket protector.)
Even then, the sitcom was more about realistic situations than comic lines. Its humor came from Roseanne and Dan's irreverent, sarcastic response to family life. ''That's why some animals eat their young,'' Roseanne whines at her squabbling daughters.
When the older daughter, Becky, says, ''Our school's having a food drive for poor people,'' Roseanne answers, ''Tell them to drive some of that food over here.'' The series grabbed an audience because it seemed so much more authentic than the shows that surrounded it. In its first season ''Roseanne'' was sandwiched between the contrived Tony Danza sitcom ''Who's the Boss?'' and the arch, upscale ''Moonlighting.''
A lot happened between that premiere and Tuesday's curiously flat finale. In the last show, Darlene and her husband, David (Johnny Galecki), bring their new daughter home from the hospital. The Conners' extended family turns up to welcome the baby. The episode doesn't milk the sentiment of the moment, but it's not very interesting either. It's as if everyone is going through the motions, taking a last curtain call but eager to wrap things up. (The last 10 minutes of the hourlong show were not available for preview, but it's hard to imagine they could make much difference.)
Of course, that restraint is the opposite of this season's earlier excess. After the family won the lottery, and after John Goodman decided to appear only part time, Roseanne and her sister, Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), became the focus of fantasies and self-indulgent escapades. During the show's lowest point, Jim Varney played a rich prince in love with Jackie. The show's declining ratings indicated what a bad idea it was to thrust the working-class Conners into the leisure class.
In part, Roseanne's own success ate away at the show's realistic roots. Like Cher and Madonna, Roseanne became famous for her celebrity. She wrote two autobiographies and appeared on talk shows discussing her multiple personalities, childhood abuse by her parents, the child she gave up for adoption when she was a teen-ager, her cosmetic surgery. That was a pattern the series couldn't possibly keep up with. A rich Roseanne Conner was as bizarre as the conspicuous physical makeover that no one in the Conner family ever mentioned.
YET OVER THE YEARS ''ROSEANNE'' had taken on the day's hottest social issues, usually without pretension. There was the gay wedding of Leon and Scott (Martin Mull and Fred Willard), a lesbian character played by Sandra Bernhard, and a kiss between Roseanne and Mariel Hemingway. The series dealt with Dan's heart attack, the alcoholism of Roseanne's mother (Estelle Parsons) and the mental illness of Dan's mother.
In last week's episode, Dan's mother turned up, played by Debbie Reynolds. It is typical of this misguided final season that instead of returning to the realistic roots of the series, the penultimate show took a ludicrous turn. With her medication out of whack, Mom plotted to kill Dan for having her committed to a hospital. The sheer overload of Conner problems eventually made the series seem too much like a soap opera. But along the way it gleefully went after subjects most sitcoms run away from.
Other working-class shows have come after ''Roseanne,'' but none have shared its daring. ''Grace Under Fire'' is earnest but drab. ''The Drew Carey Show'' is brighter, but it is more about goofy laughs than class.
As unreal as it became, ''Roseanne'' retained moments of lucidity to the end. In one episode this season, when a television producer wanted to turn the Conners' rags-to-riches story into a mini-series, he said: ''You're blue collar. Middle America is blue collar. Americans want to see themselves on television.'' Of course, he didn't think it was a bad idea to cast Melanie Griffith as Roseanne. ''Nobody in their right mind is going to want to look at you,'' he tells her.
Proving guys like that wrong for nine years may have been Roseanne's sweetest revenge. It was a revenge that Middle America could share.
Here is Glenn Quinn's Obituary
Published on December 7, 2002
LOS ANGELES -- Glenn Quinn, best known for his recurring role on the sitcom "Roseanne" and a former co-star on "Angel," has died. He was 32.
Quinn was found dead of a possible drug overdose Dec. 3, authorities said Friday. An official cause of death was pending an autopsy and toxicology reports.
Born in Dublin, Quinn joined the cast of "Roseanne" in its third season, playing Becky Connor's boyfriend and later husband, Mark Healy.
He later co-starred as the half-demon Doyle on "Angel," a spinoff of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" that debuted in 1999.
Although most of his roles required him to hide his Irish accent, "Angel" was his first performance in which he could speak naturally.
"When you get to speak Irish, you become more at one with yourself, you kind of have a spark when you use it, and I think it's a great dialect," he said at the time.
Born in 1970, Quinn moved to the United States in 1988 with his mother and two sisters.
He made his feature film debut with a supporting role as a drummer in the 1991 John Travolta movie "Shout," in which he shared an on-screen kiss with Gwyneth Paltrow. He went on to appear in the films "Dr. Giggles," "Live Nude Girls" and "Campfire Tales."
He also appeared in the TV movies "Call Me Anna" and "Silhouette" and co-starred in "Covington Cross," a short-lived, historical-fantasy series, which aired in the United Kingdom and on ABC in 1992. Most recently, he co-starred in "At Any Cost," a 2000 VH1 movie.
He is survived by his mother, Bernadette, and two sisters, Sonya and Louisa.
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