Roseanne Barr

Ra'eesah Manack
Jan 17, 2019
08:54 A.M.
Getty Images

Getty Images




Who is Roseanne Barr?

Roseanne Cherrie Barr is an actress, comedian, writer, and television producer. She began as a stand-up comedian in clubs before becoming the star of the television sitcom, "Roseanne." The show has earned her an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.

Early life:

Roseanne Barr was born into a Jewish family on November 3, 1952, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is the oldest of four children. Her parents are Helen Davis and Jerome Hershel "Jerry" Barr. On her father's side, her family was Jewish emigrants from Russia, and on her mother's side, they were Jewish emigrants from Austria-Hungary and Lithuania. Her paternal grandfather's surname was "Borisofsky," but when he entered the United States, he changed it to "Barr."


She had a Jewish upbringing and her maternal grandmother had a significant influence on her as she was a devout Orthodox Jew. However, Barr's parents chose to keep their Jewish heritage a secret from their neighbors and would occasionally attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


At the age of three years old, Barr she developed Bell's palsy on the left side of her face. However, it eventually passed.

At six years old, Barr did her first public stage appearance when she began lecturing at LDS churches around Utah. She was also elected president of a Mormon youth group.

When Barr was 16, she was hit by a car. The accident resulted in her having a traumatic brain injury which caused significant behavioral changes. The behavioral changes caused her to be institutionalized for eight months at Utah State Hospital. While she was there, she had a baby whom she put up for adoption.

In 1970, Barr, at the age 18, left home, saying she was visiting a friend in Colorado for two weeks. She never returned.



Barr initially worked as a stand-up comedian. On August 23, 1985, she made an appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." She was thrust into the spotlight, and two years later, HBO offered her a show of her own, called "On Location: The Roseanne Barr Show" (1987). The show was canceled shortly after it started.

In 1989, Barr starred in "She-Devil" (1989), and even though the movie was not successful, she landed a sitcom, "Roseanne" (1988). The sitcom debuted in 1988 and ran for nine seasons on ABC. During its first season, the show's ratings shot up.


In 1996, Barr won a Golden Globe Award for the show. However, after the sixth season of "Roseanne," the show's ratings began to drop which eventually led to it being canceled.

Barr then appeared on Broadway as The Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz." She also guest-starred in "The Nanny" (1993).

In the 2000's, Barr began commenting on politics. In 2012, she unsuccessfully ran for the Green Party's presidential nomination. She was chosen as the Peace and Freedom Party's candidate for President of the United States in 2012 and placed sixth. Her campaign was the focal point of the documentary "Roseanne for President!" (2015).


In 2018, her show "Roseanne" returned for the tenth season, and though the ratings initially were blockbusting, after Barr sent out a racially-offensive tweet, the show was canceled.


Personal life:

In 1970, Barr had a child whom she placed for adoption.

Four years later, on February 4, 1974, she married Bill Pentland whom she met while in Colorado. They had three children, Jessica, Jennifer, and Jake, together. However, they divorced on January 16, 1990.

Four days after their divorce, Barr married fellow comedian Tom Arnold. She had met Arnold in 1983 in Minneapolis when he opened for her comedy act. Arnold joined the writing team of her sitcom "Roseanne" in 1988.

In 1991, Barr accused her parents of physical and sexual abuse. Both her siblings and her parents denied the allegations. They did not speak for twelve years after the allegations, but eventually reconciled.


On April 18, 1994, Barr filed for divorce from Tom Arnold citing irreconcilable differences. They had no children together.

A year later on Valentines Day in 1995, Barr and Ben Thomas tied the knot. He had once been her security guard. They held the wedding at Caesars Tahoe with a reception at Planet Hollywood. They had a son named Buck and stayed together until 2002.

In 2002, Barr met Johnny Argent online, and they began dating in 2003. They now live on a 46-acres macadamia nut farm on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Barr studied Kabbalah at the Kabbalah Centre and frequently comments on the discipline.


In 2015, she had been diagnosed with macular degeneration and glaucoma. However, she later revealed that she was misdiagnosed. After removing a mole resting behind her eye, her vision began improving.





  • People's Choice Award for Favorite Female TV Performer


  • People's Choice Award for Favorite Female TV Performer


  • Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical for "Roseanne" (1988)
  • Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for "Roseanne" (1988) for the role of Roseanne Conner.
  • American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or Syndication for "Roseanne" (1988)
  • American Television Award for Best Actress in a Situation Comedy for "Roseanne" (1988)
  • Vanguard Award


  • Star on the Walk of Fame


  • TV Prize for Best Foreign TV Personality - Female (Bästa utländska kvinna)


  • People's Choice Award for Favorite All-Around Female Entertainer


  • American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Performer in a TV Series (Leading Role) Network, Cable or Syndication for "Roseanne" (1988)
  • Funniest Female Stand-Up Comic
  • People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Program


  • American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Performer in a TV Special (Leading or Supporting) Network, Cable or Syndication "On Location: The Roseanne Barr Show" (1987)

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” ~ Roseanne Barr


  • Her daughters Brandi Brown, Jennifer and Jessica Pentland all worked with her on her talk show
  • Has three children with Bill Pentland: Jennifer, Jessica, and Jacob
  • Has one son with Ben Thomas: Buck
  • Has a daughter from a previous relationship named Brandi, whom she put up for adoption. She searched for and eventually was reunited with Brandi
  • Was born at 1:21 p.m. MST
  • She had a tubal ligation reversed to get pregnant with her son, Buck
  • States she had multiple personality disorder
  • Attended Salt Lake High School East, but dropped out before graduating
  • On September 17, 1968, she was severely injured in a car crash, resulting in memory loss and nightmares. She was admitted to a state mental hospital at age 17 but left after less than a year
  • At age 17 she left Utah and moved to Denver, CO, where she gave birth to daughter Brandi and then gave her up for adoption
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