About Roseanne Barr
After nine years, 224 episodes, four Emmy awards and countless other accolades, you couldn't blame Roseanne if she wanted to quietly slip away, able to take solace in the fact she single-handedly re-landscaped the medium of situation comedy forever. Her creation and stark portrayal of "Roseanne Conner" and the Conner family on ABC's "Roseanne" has been hailed as "the most groundbreaking kitchen-sink sitcom since 'All in the Family'" by Entertainment Weekly, which added, "She's the funniest disturber of peace that we have."
Roseanne helped disband the ennui which permeated television for so many years before the show's creation and struck a chord with viewers worldwide for her less-than-glamorous take on American middle-class family life. Roseanne Conner was not the stereotypical television mother or wife; her hair wasn't perfect all the time, the kids weren't always obedient and dinner wasn't on the table in time for her hungry husband. The Conners had real, everyday problems like paying bills and trying to raise children, all the while keeping a distant eye on their own dreams, aspirations and insecurities. As Roseanne told The New York Times (April 16, 1997), "The show was about women, gender, politics, the working class. Did I think that it would be successful? I actually did. Because I knew it was filling a void."
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Roseanne knew by age three that she was going to be a comic and have her own show. She would entertain her family on Friday evenings when they would gather in her grandmother's apartment for Sabbath dinner. The reaction she received convinced her she was indeed the Center of the Universe, which she still believes to this day. Roseanne produced, wrote, directed and starred in annual neighborhood plays and shows at the junior jigh school. She felt fulfilled until she suddenly realized at age 16 that she was still living in Utah. By the time she was 18, she had moved to the mountains of Colorado and lived in an artists' colony. In 1976, Roseanne became a part-time member of the work force. She was employed as a window dresser and then as a cocktail waitress. Her customers told her that she should go downtown to perform at the comedy club because she was incredibly funny.
Roseanne did, and carried it further. She made the rounds of local comedy clubs. By 1983, she had become known as the Queen of Denver Comedy. Soon, her Los Angeles friends Louie Anderson and Sam Kinison encouraged her to audition for Mitzi Shore at the Comedy Store. She did and was instantly hired, and that same night was asked to appear on George Schlatter's ABC-TV special "Funny." While she was rehearsing, talent scout Jim McCawley from "The Tonight Show" approached her and exclaimed, "Roseanne: I love you!" She thought he was an adoring fan, but then he told her who he was and put her, almost immediately, on "The Tonight Show."
"Roseanne" debuted on ABC on October 18, 1988, and within a year overtook "The Cosby Show" as the number one show on television, cementing Roseanne's place as the reigning queen of prime time. The show has gone on to become an internationally syndicated hit seen in over 150 countries worldwide.
Roseanne's autobiographies, "Roseanne: My Life as a Woman" and "My Lives" (published in 1994) also established her as a best-selling author. She also served as the executive producer of "Saturday Night Special," a late-night, cutting-edge variety show for FOX-TV.
In 1993, Roseanne was awarded an Emmy as Best Actress in a Comedy Series, the first of many major awards bestowed on the comedienne. She was also named Best Actress in a Comedy Series at the American Television Awards and received two Golden Globe Awards for "Roseanne," as well as six People's Choice Awards, two American Comedy Awards and the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award in 1990 in recognition of her contribution to the world of television. The series was honored with a Peabody Award, one of the most prestigious awards in broadcasting. Roseanne was awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Award given by the American Democratic Association to outstanding American women. She has also received two Humanitas Awards, presented to programming that most truly communicates human values to its audience. She was honored with The Jack Benny Award and was the second woman ever to be roasted by the Friars Club. Additionally, Roseanne received the Lucy Award, which is presented annually by Women in Film and named after Lucille Ball, and she was among the recipients of the 1997 American Comedy Honors.
Immediately after "Roseanne: finished in May 1997, Roseanne quite literally flew to embark on a new challenge, portraying The Wicked Witch of the West in the Madison Square Garden production of "The Wizard of Oz." Starting in the fall of 1998, Roseanne hosted her own talk show, which ran for two seasons. "The Roseanne Show" established itself as one of the most successful launches of a syndicated show, not only domestically, but in 30 foreign countries. The Village Voice praised the show and said that "art students will be watching for decades."
In 2004, Roseanne costarred in the Disney film "Home on the Range" with Judi Dench and Jennifer Tilly. 2004 also marked the long-awaited release of her hit sitcom "Roseanne" on DVD.
Roseanne became a grandma a few years ago, and her life hasn't been the same since. Inspired by her grandchildren, she's been learning the ins and outs of becoming a for-real recording artist. Working diligently, Roseanne completed 12 children's songs (nine are brand-new and original), produced the accompanying videos in her cozy, family-run and kid-friendly Full Moon & High Tide (FMHT) Studio, and released her first DVD for children, entitled "Rockin' with Roseanne: Calling All Kids!" which hit stores nationwide on February 7, 2006.
Roseanne is actively involved in her production company and enjoys the opportunity to work with her family. FMHT signed a deal to produce original programming for VH1 and produced Roseanne's comedy special, "Roseanne Barr: Blonde and Bitchin'," which aired November 4, 2006, on HBO.
With the success of her HBO special, Roseanne returned to her roots and began touring select cities in the U.S. and U.K. with her hilarious one-woman show. Roseanne brought her show to the Cabaret Theater at NY NY Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for her first extended run on The Strip in several years, with an in-your-face, all-you-can-stand laugh fest, and then returned to Vegas in February 2008 for another run, this time headlining at the Sahara Casino in the legendary Congo Room.
Roseanne can be found blogging daily on her website, roseanneworld.com, and appearing weekly on kcaaradio.com. In January 2011, Roseanne published her third book, "Roseannearchy: Dispatches from the Nut Farm." In it, she unleashes her razor-sharp observations on hypocrisy, hubris and self-perpetuating institutions of questionable value as well as menopause, pharmaceuticals and her grandkids. And she's as controversial, original and funny as ever.
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