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Ames McNamara Plays Roseanne's Gender Non-conforming Grandson — Meet 'The Conners' Star

Oyin Balogun
May 29, 2020
10:00 A.M.

Child actor Ames McNamara plays the gender-fluid role of Mark in the ABC reboot series "Roseanne," and it's spinoff "The Conners," but in real life, he is just a normal kid.


Ames McNamara is a 12-year-old budding star in Hollywood and has starred in a few television productions, which include "Intensive Care," "At Home with Amy Sedaris," and "The Conners."

The child actor began his acting career at the tender age of five in local musical theatres but had been acting professionally for over two years. McNamara earned critical acclaim for his role as Mark Conner-Healy in the ABC reboot of the hit series "Roseanne." He reprised the character in the series spinoff, "The Conners," which premiered on October 16, 2018.



In the series, McNamara's character Mark is the grandson of Roseanne, who has a keen interest in fashion but also loves wearing feminine clothes. Since its release, the show has brought to the front burner essential conversations about how to address gender identity in children.

In 2018, Executive producer of the comedy series "The Conners," Sarah Gilbert, who also stars as Mark's mom, fielded some questions about Mark's gender identity and why she created it. Describing the character, she said:

"He's too young to be gay, and he doesn't identify as transgender, but he just likes wearing that kind of clothing, and that's where he is at this point in his life."


Despite Ames McNamara's gender-fluid role in the series, in real life, he is just a normal kid who is a 7th grader and he loves to read, play soccer and tennis.

The 12-year-old actor also has high ambitions of being the President of the United States or becoming a great entrepreneur like Elon Musk. During a 2018 interview, McNamara talked about his breakthrough role as Mark in the popular series.

He revealed that he had little understanding of the term gender identity before the part, even though he had come across people who preferred to wear clothes from the opposite gender.


The talented actor added that he has no qualms playing the gender non-conforming role and has respect for those in that spectrum. In his words:

"I'm still Ames to [my friends], it hasn't really changed. I personally don't wear girls' clothes, but I respect anyone who does. I believe that everyone should express themselves; however that may be."



The spinoff development began shortly after the cancellation of "Roseanne" in May 2018 due to a racist tweet that Roseanne Barr sent about Valerie Jarrett.

Roseanne Barr was the eponymous character in the long-running popular comedy series "Roseanne." Following the media backlash, which was generated by her insensitive tweet, ABC quickly reacted by killing off the character, which set the stage for a spinoff.

"Roseanne" cast on March 23, 2018 in Burbank, California | Photo: Getty Images

"Roseanne" cast on March 23, 2018 in Burbank, California | Photo: Getty Images


Ames McNamara's character, Mark from "Roseanne," is just one of the many characters that are reprised in the spinoff of one of ABC's longest-running series.

Other cast members of the show include John Goodman (Dan Conner), Laurie Metcalf (Jackie Harris), Sara Gilbert (Darlene Conner-Healy), Lecy Goranson (Becky Conner), Michael Fishman (D.J. Conner), Emma Kenney (Harris Conner-Healy), and many more.


In April, four of the show's main cast — John Goodman, Sarah Gilbert (also an executive producer on the series), Laurie Metcalf and Lecy Goranson, signed new deals to return for a third season of the popular TV series.

The third season of the series, which has quickly become a fan favorite, will also feature nineteen episodes, just like the second season.


The talks over contract renewals with the actors began in January. During that period, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke shared her excitement over a couple of rare and unusual episodes that would be featured on "The Conners," which includes a live show on the night the New Hampshire primaries would be held.

Earlier this month, ABC renewed "The Conners" for a third season. The announcement came as no surprise as the series ranks amongst the top four broadcast comedies.

No official release date has been communicated for the release of the third season of the comedy series "The Conners," with production shut down due to the novel Coronavirus outbreak.

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