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Stand by Your Man aired from April 5 until August 1992 on FOX.
Rochelle and Lorraine ( Melissa Gilbert Brinkman, Rosie O'Donnell)were two sisters living together for an unusual reason in this black comedy. Rochelle's husband, Roger ( Sam McMurray), had been an apparently successful builder of sunrooms and patio enclosures, but he had actually been making most of his money robbing banks with the help of Lorraine's husband , Artie ( Rick Hall). After their men were sent to prison, cynical, earthy Lorraine sold her house trailer and moved into naive Rochelle's fancy mansion in Franklyn Heights, New Jersey. Despite their money problems, Rochelle, who had been spoiled by Roger, was loath to get a job; Lorraine worked at a Bargain Circus discount store with Gloria and Sophie ( Rusty Schwimmer, Ellen Ratners). They went to see their husbands in prison primarily because Rochelle was still madly in love with Roger. Lorraine just thought he was a crook , who had gotten her gullable Artie involved in his criminal activities. Adrienne ( Miriam Flynn) was Rochelle's next-door neighbor, a horny, status-conscious matron who made constant references to the jailbirds and the deterioration of the neighborhood-this despite her indescriminate affairs with men, including Scab ( Don Gibb), Lorraine's illiterate biker friend.
Adapted from the British series Birds of a Feather.
An Article from USA TODAY
Published on April 10, 1992
Unlikely pair stand by each other on Fox comedy
By Jefferson Graham
BEVERLY HILLS-She's a former VH-1 VJ and current stand-up comedian. Her partner is the former co-star of Little House on the Praire. Together, they attempt to make outrageous comedy in Fox's new Stand by your Man.
It's Rosie O'Donnell and Melissa Gilbert-Brinkman, starring as sisters from Brooklyn.
Says O'Donnell," When they told me Melissa was going to play my sister, I said, ' Yea, of course, when you think comedy, you think Melissa Gilbert, Little House on the Praire.' But she was great."
Stand is about sisters who move in together when their hubbies go to jail for robbing a bank. Airing Sunday at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT, its debut last week got the highest viewership ever for Fox in the time period, No. 62 for the week.
Gilbert-Brinkman had to audition for 15 Fox "suits," reading with O'Donnell. " They laughed out loud," says Gilbert-Brinkman. " Then I knew it was good and ...that nobody could play the part but me."
Stand is O'Donnell's second sitcom. Her first was the final 13 episodes of Gimme a Break, after former NBC programmer Brandon Tartikoff and Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels saw her at a comedy club.
After Break she introduced videos for two years on VH-1, where she still hosts and produces their weekly stand-up comedy show. She'll be on the big screen this summer in the baseball film, A League of Their Own, as Madonna's pal.
Gilbert-Brinkman has done TV movies since Praire ended in 1983. She married and has a son, Dakota, 3.
She wanted to do a sitcom because of its close-to-home, reliable work schedule.
"An hour drama was out," she says. " You don't have a life. You are no longer protected by child labor laws."
Viewers may remember Gilbert-Brinkman as Laura Ingalls but coining the New York accent wasn't hard; her family is from Brooklyn. " The minute I put on the clothes, all the mannerisms came out and just fell into place."
Blunt-talking New Yorker O'Donnell was equally at ease; not so when she first met League co-star Madonna. " What do you say to Madonna...'Hi, I have a vibrator?' It was very interesting."
An Article from The New York Times
Rosie O'Donnell Mining Her Roots
By NANCY HARRISON
Published: May 31, 1992
ROSIE O'DONNELL galloped on to the stage at East Side Comedy Club in Farmingdale. Gazing at the audience, she shouted, "It's great to be home!"
Home, as in the East Side Comedy Club, where she started her career as a stand-up comedian 12 years ago. Home, as on Long Island, where she grew up as the middle of five children in Commack.
Now living in Los Angeles, Ms. O'Donnell, 30 years old, had not performed on Long Island in two, maybe three, years, she said. She has been too busy juggling film, television and comedy projects.
When she is not working as host for the comedy show "Stand-Up Spotlight" on the VH-1 cable network, she stars in the sitcom "Stand by Your Man" on Fox Television. Last summer, she acted with Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna in "A League of Their Own," which is to be released in July.
Late last month, Ms. O'Donnell returned to the East Side club to tape "Stand-Up Spotlight." The program usually tapes in Los Angeles but Ms. O'Donnell wanted something special for the 100th program. And as executive producer, she thought, choose a hometown crowd. Soft Spot for L.I. Comedians
"Stand-Up Spotlight" taped 12 shows featuring 30 comics in four nights at East Side. They are scheduled to be televised in August.
Joey Kola of Bellmore and John Ferrentino of Huntington were among the eight local comics. As she does in every episode, Ms. O'Donnell handpicks the acts after screening videotapes of comics sent in from around the country. She said she had a soft spot for Long Island comedians.
But she also has to turn some away. "That's always hard," she conceded. "A lot of people from Long Island have done the show. But there are a few who have not just because they are not the right demographic or they are just not right for the show."
Those who are selected for the show, she said, have the right mix of stage presence, material and audience appeal. On three occasions comedians were edited from the program because, Ms. O'Donnell said, their routines were offensive. "One time it was racist," she said. "One time it was homophobic, and one time it was antiwomen."
"A spot on her show can put a spin on the career of a young comedian," said the owner of East Side, Richie Minervini, himself a comedian.
At the taping, Ms. O'Donnell introduced the comics and told jokes between acts. She made observations about life, drawing heavily on her Irish working-class background. She often delivered the punch lines in the voices of various characters.
At one point late on Friday night, she pointed to her short pleated skirt and said: "Size 15. I am too big for the Gap, but too small for Lane Bryant."
Before the cameras rolled, Ms. O'Donnell confided to the audience that VH-1 was reluctant to take the show to the East.
"They were afraid the crowd would be unruly and, perhaps, heckle the comedians," she said. "They had all these stereotypes. But I argued that I started here. I grew up here and I know what the audience is going to be like."
The audience was full of Ms. O'Donnell's family and friends, including her eighth-grade mathematics teacher, Pat Maravel. Ms. Maravel took a special interest in Ms. O'Donnell, whose mother died when she was 10 years old. The two remain close, and Ms. O'Donnell is the godmother to Ms. Maravel's children. Dared to Perform at Amateur Night
"She was always funny," Ms. Maravel recalled. "She would hand in test papers with her name written about a centimeter high."
As a teen-ager, Ms. O'Donnell dreamed of acting on Broadway. When she was 17, she accepted a dare to perform stand-up at an amateur night in the old Round Table Restaurant in Mineola. After attending Dickinson College and Boston University briefly, she decided to pursue a career in comedy.
She approached Mr. Minervini, the brother of a high school friend. Mr. Minervini gave her a chance at East Side, which was in a small building in Huntington. Last year, the club relocated to a larger site in Farmingdale.
"She came in and went on stage, and I'll tell you what," Mr. Minervini said. "She had talent right off the bat. She wasn't really funny but she had a charisma. She had a presence. She had a desire."
At the age of 22, Ms. O'Donnell was a finalist on "Star Search," the syndicated television show. Two years later, she appeared as Nell Carter's upstairs neighbor on "Gimme a Break."
In 1988 she was hired as a "veejay" who introduced music videos on VH-1. Her job was phased out a year later, but the network started "Stand-Up Spotlight." Working With Madonna
Ms. O'Donnell has been receiving more work as an actress. Since April 15 on "Stand by Your Man," she has starred as Lorraine, a trailer-park bride who moves in with her sister after their husbands are sent to jail for robbery.
In the film "A League of Their Own," she plays Doris Murphy, who plays third base for a women's professional baseball team in the 1940's. Directed by Penny Marshall, the movie is based on a women's league organized by the Wrigley Corporation in World War II.
Madonna plays Ms. O'Donnell's teammate and best friend, and the two have become close off screen. "I remember when Madonna first walked on the set," Ms. O'Donnell recalled. "It was like the President of the United States had just arrived. It was like, 'There she is, oh my God.' My heart was like bum-da-da-bum-da-da-bum.
"Today it is hard for me to realize the person I know and go to the movies with is the Madonna I see on TV. I mean no human being could ever be as big as that image."
To prepare for the part, Ms. O'Donnell endured rigorous daily workouts for three months. "I had dreams of losing 30 pounds and becoming Ms. Svelt Racehorse, running around the field," she said "And people would see the movie and say, 'Oh my God, she's so thin.' "
Pausing, she looked down at her 150-pound-5-foot-6-inch frame. "But it did not happen," she lamented. "It is still the same me you have seen on VH-1, chubby and tough."
To watch a clip from stand By Your Man go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXIUww1mZXE&t=2s
For more on Stand by Your Man go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand_By_Your_Man_(TV_Series)
For the Oficial site of Rosie O'Donnell go to http://www.rosie.com/
To listen to Tammy Wynette sing Stand By Your Man go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqlxaX2S5lo
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Keywords: Stand by Your Man Cast (Links Updated 8/3/18)