List of Roseanne characters
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The following is a list of major characters in the television series Roseanne.
- 1 Family tree
- 2 Main characters
- 3 Other major characters
- 4 Minor/recurring characters
- 5 References
|Sonny Anderson||Crystal Anderson||Ed Conner||Audrey Conner||Al Harris||Bev Harris|
|Lonnie||Ed and Angela||Dan Conner
|Mark Healy||Darlene Healy
|David Healy||D.J. Conner
|Geena Conner||Jerry Conner
|Harris Conner-Healy||Mark Conner-Healy||Mary Conner||Andy Harris|
Roseanne Conner is played by Roseanne Barr. Roseanne, in a takeoff of her stand-up comedic and presumed real-life persona, is a bossy, loud, caustic, overweight, and dominant woman. She constantly tries to control the lives of her sister, husband, children, co-workers, and friends. Despite her dominating nature, Roseanne is a loving mother who works hard and makes as much time for her kids as possible. She and her younger sister Jackie are the daughters of Beverly and Al Harris. Roseanne is married to Dan Conner and, when the series begins, they have three children: Becky, Darlene and David Jacob ("D.J."); a fourth child, Jerry Garcia, is born late in the series.
She and her family deal with the many hardships of poverty, obesity, and domestic troubles with humor. She has always had troubles with weight, inspiring an episode in which she and Dan try to lose weight. She works at the Wellman Plastics factory at the beginning of the show's run and quits that job after a conflict with the new egotistical, domineering boss, Mr. Faber; she leads a walkout that includes most of her friends. She has several periods of unemployment and holds jobs as a fast-food employee, a telemarketer, a bartender, and a shampoo woman/hair sweeper/receptionist at a beauty salon. Subsequently, she works for several years as a waitress in the luncheonette at Rodbell's department store located in the Lanford Mall (much to the chagrin of daughters Becky and Darlene, who regularly hang out there).
Roseanne eventually co-owns a successful restaurant called the Lanford Lunch Box with Jackie, her mother Bev, Nancy, and later her former boss from the luncheonette, Leon, after Bev sells her share in the restaurant to him. Roseanne and Jackie, in the last years of the show, win a lottery in excess of $108,000,000. At the end of the series, it is revealed that she didn't win the lottery at all and that most of what had happened on the show was actually from a book of her own writing. She also reveals that Dan died from a heart attack at the end of the previous season.
In June 2010, Entertainment Weekly named Roseanne one of the 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years. In 2009, she was listed in the Top 5 Classic TV Moms by Film.com. In May 2012, she was one of the 12 moms chosen by users of iVillage on their list of "Mommy Dearest: The TV Moms You Love". AOL named her the 11th Most Memorable Female TV Character.
Daniel "Dan" Conner' is played by John Goodman, Daniel, or more commonly known as Dan or Danny, is the husband of Roseanne and father of Becky, Darlene, DJ, and Jerry. Dan is a loving, easygoing drywall contractor.
During the final episode, Roseanne reveals that the entire series was written as a book based on her life and family, and she changed certain elements of what she hadn't liked; most notably, during the final season, Dan and Roseanne are shown living apart after Dan cheats on Roseanne, but he had actually died from his heart attack at Darlene and David's wedding near the end of Season 8. Writing that he cheated was her way of explaining her feelings of loss and abandonment from his death. The potential absence of Dan from all or most of the next season prompted Phil Rosenthal of the Los Angeles Daily News to describe it as a rare occasion where ending the show would be preferred to doing without. Robinson described Goodman's potential absence as leaving a tremendous void, owing to his ability to make those acting with him better. The revelation that Dan actually died and the series' being a work of fiction within the show was not well received.
In an article about television dads, The Post and Courier editor Mindy Spar began discussing how '90s TV dads became goofier than dads from earlier decades, calling Dan more like one of the children than the father. IGN editor Edgar Arce called Dan Conner a prototypical everyman.
An article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune praised Dan and Roseanne's relationship, calling it realistic and commenting that while they mock each other, viewers can feel their love while they deal with the kinds of problems real families face. Daily News editor David Bianculli stated that while they were the most entertaining and realistic couples on television, they were one of the least during their separation. Their relationship was included in TV Guide's list of the best TV couples of all time.
Jackie is an intelligent, warm, highly sensitive underachiever with chronic low self-esteem. Roseanne seems to be in charge of Jackie's life, which is a frequent cause of conflict between the two; however, Jackie sometimes enjoys having Roseanne mother her, especially when she feels vulnerable. Jackie's character becomes more animated and colorful as the series progresses. Jackie holds numerous jobs: working in the Wellman Plastics factory for several years until the walkout, then becoming a police officer until she is injured on the job, then becoming a truck driver, then opening The Lanford Lunch Box with Roseanne and Nancy, with her mother as a silent partner. Jackie often comes up with off-the-wall ideas, but many of her unconventional ideas actually work. Her romantic relationships are frequently unstable, including one with a domestic abuser. She eventually marries Dan's co-worker Fred, who impregnated her during a one-night stand. Jackie gives birth to their son Andy two months before she marries Fred.
At one point Jackie, unhappy with the self-absorbed couch potato Fred, starts going out with another couple, which then becomes one man. Dan sees her, warns her about Fred's possible reaction, but later accidentally blurts it out to Fred, who returns home upset, accuses Jackie of adultery and refuses to speak to her. With Bev's help, Roseanne has Fred realize that his accusations against Jackie are unjustified, and he returns to her. But at this point Jackie has realized that she's happier being single. The marriage is short-lived because Jackie finds Fred boring, petty, and self-centered and they fall out of love. Jackie is crushed by the divorce at first, but moves on to become a successful single mom to Andy.
In Season 6, whilst Jackie is in labor, her mother Bev reveals to Jackie that her birth name is actually Marjorie and that the family began calling her Jackie because Roseanne couldn't pronounce Marjorie and instead called her "my Jackie." However, in Season 10, Jackie introduces herself to Andrea, the woman looking to hire Becky as her surrogate, as Jacqueline. Despite Jackie's apparent flightiness in the early episodes, Jackie is actually the backbone of the Conner/Harris family in many ways, as Roseanne admits in the last episode. It is also revealed in the final episode that the character of Jackie had come out as a lesbian during the final season, and that Roseanne knew but had simply always pictured Jackie with a man.
David Jacob "D.J." Conner is played by Michael Fishman (Sal Barone in the pilot episode). Born in 1981, David, better known by his initials D.J., was the youngest of Roseanne and Dan's children and their only son until the birth of Jerry Conner, in 1995. D.J. He is more simple-minded, naive, and boisterous than his older sisters, who frequently taunt him. He is portrayed as being something of a simpleton in school and abnormal, for instance peeking at both Darlene and Becky naked at different times. In the first episode of season three, it is stated that while Becky and Darlene were planned pregnancies, D.J. was a "surprise". As he grows up, D.J.'s storylines deal with more mature topics such as masturbation and human sexuality. Later episodes depict D.J. as having a close, brother-like friendship with Becky's husband Mark. He is also shown to develop an interest in filmmaking: he repeatedly asks Darlene if he can videotape her giving birth. He was one of the only characters that wasn't changed in the final episode of Season 9. In Season 10, D.J. is shown to have recently retired from the military and having returned home after serving in Syria for an unspecified amount of time. He is also shown to be married to a woman named Geena, who is still serving in the military abroad, and that the two have a daughter, Mary.
Darlene Conner (later Healy) is played by Sara Gilbert. Dan and Roseanne's second child and younger daughter, born in 1977. She is normally artistic, sarcastic, tomboyish, intelligent and slightly rough. In the early seasons, she's a tomboy who loves sports and has trouble in school; but, during high school, she becomes moody, artistic, an animal rights activist and vegetarian to more closely match Gilbert's real-life views and personality. During her freshman year of high school, she begins dating David Healy (Johnny Galecki), coincidentally the younger brother of Becky's husband Mark. Darlene is sarcastic and domineering like her mother, often causing the two to clash. Her bossy nature is best seen with David, who usually gives in to her. Darlene is a talented writer, and David is a budding graphic artist, so they begin working seriously on a graphic novel. Darlene is awarded early admission and a scholarship to an exclusive art school in Chicago, which Roseanne eventually allows her to attend, giving her a chance to become the writer Roseanne wanted to be. At college, she meets Jimmy, whom she dates without breaking up with David. David is aware she is dating Jimmy and eventually tells her she has to choose between them. She chooses Jimmy, who later dumps her because he can't get close to her. Darlene realizes she still loves David after a movie date, and Roseanne talks the two of them into reconciling. Darlene becomes pregnant by David at Disney World, and they marry. She finishes art school and gives birth to a daughter, Harris Conner Healy. Harris is born three months prematurely and almost doesn't survive; David and Darlene must decide whether to keep her on life support or take her off and let nature take its course; the two decide she should get a chance to "experience life without being hooked up to all those machines", and surprisingly Harris pulls through. In the series finale, it is revealed that Darlene had actually been dating Mark all along in reality but was written in Roseanne's book as having been with David instead, as Roseanne felt it made more sense.
In Season 10, Darlene is revealed to be a single mother of two children, daughter Harris and son Mark, who has recently lost her job in publishing, forcing her to move from Chicago back to Lanford to live with Roseanne and Dan in her childhood home.
Sara Gilbert was almost rejected from the role for not being cute enough.
Rebecca "Becky" Conner (later Healy) is born in 1975, Rebecca, or Becky as she's known to her friends and family, is the eldest of Roseanne and Dan's children. Becky is introduced to the series as a stereotypical pre-teen, whose primary interests are centered around makeup, fashion, and boys, and while she can be self-centered and act spoiled at times, she is the least problematic of the Conner children, maintaining good grades and rarely causing issues for her parents beyond an occasional argument. However, as Becky grows older, she begins to break from her good girl mold, drinking Roseanne and Dan's alcohol with a friend while they're home alone, cutting her hair, and dating people that Roseanne and Dan strongly disapprove of, her future husband Mark Healy being one of them. Becky's ultimate act of rebellion comes when she drops out of high school and elopes to Minneapolis.
In the year before she eloped, Becky's life was stressful and unhappy. In addition to working as a cashier to help support her family and going to school, she was the sole person responsible for maintaining the household and looking after her younger siblings. Her breaking point came when she learnt her parents had used her college fund to pay household bills after the family's bike shop failed and that her long-time boyfriend Mark was leaving Lanford to work in Minneapolis. Feeling she had no prospects in Lanford, she left with Mark. Unfortunately for Becky, her marriage didn't bring her any financial security or stability. The two were ultimately forced to return to Lanford, where Mark began working for the city alongside Dan and Becky began serving at a restaurant called Bunz. The two lived in the Conner house for some time before moving into their own place, a mobile home. In the final episode of Season 9, it was revealed Becky was pregnant. (In season 10, she tells Darlene that she miscarried.)
Twenty one years later, in Season 10, Becky is shown to still be living in Lanford and working as a server at a chain Mexican Restaurant. Having been widowed and left in dire financial straits, she turns to egg donation and surrogacy in an effort to make ends meet, having been offered $50,000 from an affluent couple. Her parents are disapproving of Becky's decision, with Roseanne explaining to Becky that while she might not feel a connection to her biological child, Roseanne and the rest of the family would. While Becky allows Roseanne to speak her mind, she isn't in a position where she can turn the offer down. Whether or not Becky will be able to be an egg donor or surrogate remains to be seen, as Becky is revealed to have lied about her age, claiming to be 33 instead of 43, and her family's medical history, not disclosing their history of mental illness and obesity.
During Season 5, Goranson decided to leave the show in order to attend Vassar College and so, her absence is explained by the fact that she eloped with Mark and moved out of state. However, producers wished to return the character to the show in Season 6 and, since Goranson wasn't available, they recast the role with Canadian actress Sarah Chalke. Goranson returned for Season 8 as Becky, as did Chalke. Believing Season 8 would be the show's final season, Goranson did not sign on for Season 9 and so, the role was again turned over to Chalke. Throughout the series, in-jokes were made about two actresses playing Becky, which carried over into Season 10, when Goranson and Chalke, playing a new character named Andrea, comment on how much the two resemble one another.
Mark Healy is played by Glenn Quinn. Mark dates and later elopes with Becky, much to the Conners' consternation. Despite Mark's tough-guy image and rebel persona, he is rarely seen to engage in criminal activity. Roseanne initially had a strong dislike for Mark because of his condescending attitude toward her. Dan initially dislikes Mark as well; Mark's choice to ride a British Triumph motorcycle rather than an American Harley-Davidson causes particular tension. However, he soon respects Mark's work ethic and hires him as a mechanic, both at his bike shop and his truck-inspection office. Mark's personality changes drastically over the course of the series — he starts off as a rebellious delinquent but ultimately proves himself to be a caring and responsible (although dull-witted) husband and brother. Roseanne and the rest of the family eventually grow to love Mark, though they still get amusement out of insulting him. He has a younger brother, David, who dates (and later marries) Darlene. He also has two much younger little sisters, Lisa and Nikki, who appear briefly in the season 5 episode "No Place Like Home for The Holidays." In the season 9 finale, Roseanne reveals that Mark had actually been dating Darlene in "real life," and that Roseanne simply wrote his relationship as being with Becky because she felt it made more sense. In Season 10, this is retconned as a dream and a story by Roseanne, meaning that Mark and Becky had a long and happy marriage. However, it is mentioned that Mark has passed away, leaving Becky a widow in financial distress. No further information is given as to how long ago he died or what he died of, except that Darlene and David’s 10-year-old son is named after him.
David Maurice Healy is played by Johnny Galecki. David Maurice Healy is Mark's younger brother. He first appeared in "The Bowling Show" (episode 4.14) when his first name was indicated to be Kevin. In a season 6 episode Roseanne comments that David isn't his real name, it's just something that Darlene made up. So it's possible that Kevin really is his name, although everyone including his own family call him David, and Roseanne might not have been serious. Whereas Mark acted like a rebellious delinquent at first, David is friendlier to the Conners. He's shy, polite, thoughtful, sensitive, soft-spoken, artistic, and intelligent. He has a relationship with Darlene and collaborates with her by illustrating graphic novels that she writes, being the submissive one in the relationship. His manner is endearing to the Conners, who think of him as part of the family and jokingly refer to him as being more welcome than Darlene. He moves in with the Conners after Roseanne, herself a victim of child abuse, sees how abusive David's mother is to him. David and Darlene break up three times throughout the course of the show, each for a longer period of time than the last; they always end up back together. Eventually, David impregnates Darlene and they decide to marry. In the series finale, Roseanne reveals that David had actually been dating Becky in "real life," and that Roseanne simply wrote his relationship as being with Darlene because she felt it made more sense. That series finale is retconned for season 10, where it is revealed that David and Darlene have separated and David has been away traveling and doing volunteer work, leaving Darlene to care alone for their two children, Harris and Mark. He later visits Darlene, telling her he is moving back into town to settle down with another woman and asks her for a divorce. After they end up sleeping together, they both consider getting back together until Roseanne informs Darlene that it wouldn't be good for their kids, who resent David for not being there for them. They both agree to move forward with the divorce and on Dan's urging, David agrees to get his act together and proceed with the move before he can see the kids again.
When David was first introduced to the series, it was said his name was Kevin, not David, but while applying for college, he uses the name David Maurice Healy. Writers might have tried to explain this discrepancy with a comment Roseanne makes in Season 6, saying "David's not even his real name. Darlene made it up!" However, in real life, Barr reportedly wanted to name the character David from the beginning but the idea was shot down as Galecki was starring on another show, Billy as a character named David.
Harris Conner-Healy is portrayed by Emma Kenney. The elder of Darlene's two children, Harris is a teenager who possesses her mother and grandmother's sarcasm and bears a strong physical resemblance to Darlene. Having grown up in Chicago, Harris is less than thrilled about moving to Lanford and is resentful towards her mother and hostile towards her family members. As Harris continuously shows herself to be indifferent to the needs of others in the home, Roseanne does what Darlene has long been too afraid to do and confronts her granddaughter about her rude and discourteous behavior. Though Darlene is initially upset by the confrontation between her daughter and mother, she accepts Roseanne's actions as justified when she discovers that Harris, left to make her own decisions, has been selling stolen goods on Etsy in an effort to raise money to move back to Chicago. While Darlene is sympathetic to Harris's unhappiness, she exerts more control over her daughter's life, grounding her and demanding passwords to all of her social media accounts.
Mark Conner-Healy is portrayed by Ames McNamara. The younger of Darlene's two children, Mark is a 10 year old boy with a strong interest in fashion. His interest in things traditionally feminine, such as wearing makeup and skirts, is somewhat worrisome to his grandparents, with Roseanne worried that Mark will be bullied by his small-town peers and Dan feeling that he needs to persuade the youngster to take on more masculine traits. Noticing a classmate make a snide comment to Mark on his first day at school in Lanford, Roseanne threatens his classmates by telling them she's a witch in true Roseanne style while Dan gives Mark a pocket knife, which ultimately results in him being called to the principal's office and sent home from school for the day, much to Darlene's chagrin. Despite Roseanne and Dan's concerns, they express support and love for him. Mark is named for his deceased uncle, Mark Healy.
Other major characters
Nancy Bartlett is played by Sandra Bernhard, Nancy is a part owner of the Lanford Lunch Box. She is married to Arnie but later comes out as a lesbian after he leaves her, then admits to being bisexual. She frequently is seen dating women; her first girlfriend Marla is played by Morgan Fairchild. Nancy is never ashamed of her promiscuity, nor does she ever show any self-consciousness of her unusual behavior. In fact, she is one of the most self-confident characters in the series, often even more than Roseanne. Her tendency toward self-absorption seems to only be quelled while dating a woman or being around Jackie. Nancy turns out to be a loyal and good friend to both Roseanne and Jackie throughout the series, although she doesn't hesitate to reprimand them for their selfishness and cruelty when they treat their mother, Bev, so harshly that Bev ends up crying about it for days afterward, while Nancy supports her.
Leon Carp is played by Martin Mull. Leon, originally as Roseanne's boss at Rodbell's Luncheonette and later as her business partner in The Lanford Lunchbox, is portrayed as a foil to Roseanne; although they have a contentious relationship at times, it is apparent that Leon is still a good friend of Roseanne's, eventually becoming an extended family member of sorts. As a gay man, he is occasionally seen dating many men and having romantic troubles; however, he later marries his life partner Scott (Fred Willard) in a very public ceremony. In the series finale, they visit the Conner residence bearing gifts for Darlene and David's new baby, Harris, proclaiming themselves as the infant's Aunt Scott and Aunt Leon. Near the end of the episode, they announce their plans to adopt a little girl. Leon's role in the series expands significantly in the eighth and ninth seasons, as he is featured in more episodes. He is especially upset when Roseanne wins the lottery, but Roseanne and Jackie end up relinquishing control of the restaurant to Leon and Nancy. Leon is a Republican, and holds George Bush in high regard. He also is shown throughout the series' run to be a fan of Liza Minnelli, as well as Broadway musicals.
Crystal Anderson is played by Natalie West. Crystal is a close friend of Roseanne, having gone to high school with her and Jackie and later working together with them at Wellman Plastics. A mild mannered and good hearted woman, Crystal's kindness is often taken advantage of, even by Roseanne at times. Though Crystal isn't oblivious to the fact that others use her, with few exceptions, she never asserts herself, fearing she might lose favor with others or be perceived as unladylike if she did.
Though Crystal is able to provide for her and her son Lonnie as a single mother, first as a factory worker and then as a cosmetics salesperson, and she has the love of many friends, she holds strong to the belief that her life would be better if she weren't single, which, when combined with her low self-esteem, results in her being with men who have less than desirable traits. In Season 1, Crystal is still mourning the death of her adulterous husband, Sonny, and, in Season 3, pregnant with her second child, she weds for the third time to Ed, Dan's father. Initially, Crystal is hopeful Ed will love her as Dan does Roseanne and that she will finally have a devoted companion and her children a devoted father but she soon realizes that she is essentially still a single mother, but now with three children instead of one. Crystal is never seen asking Ed to change or give up his own aspirations for the sake of her happiness nor is it ever mentioned by others that her situation improved.
Not much is known about Crystal's background, other than her mother forced her out of the family home at 16 and that she married at 18, shortly after graduating from high school. Curiously, Crystal speaks with a Southern accent despite being a native of Lanford, her reason for it being that her father was from Arkansas.
Ed Conner is played by Ned Beatty. Ed is Dan's father, a charming, traveling salesman who always brings presents for the grandchildren. Dan has a troubled past with his father, but he is well liked by everyone else. Despite a struggling relationship with his son, Ed is well-meaning and likable. Ed never makes any blatant attempt on the show to anger Dan on purpose, but he often baits his son covertly (e.g., when Ed begins to date Crystal and when Dan questions him on it, Ed makes a rude crack about Dan being "interested" in Crystal). It usually doesn't take long for Dan to become annoyed at his father's presence. He is portrayed as irresponsible and neglectful of his first family, though it is later revealed he justified his actions in reference to raising Dan by reconciling his frequent commitment of Dan's mother to a mental institution with his desire to provide Dan with at least one stable parent as he would often be gone on sales trips during Dan's adolescence. He wants to learn from his actions and be better. He does love his son despite their troubled relationship, and also loves the rest of his family. He marries and has two children with Crystal (Ed Jr. and Angela), who are considerably younger than Dan.
Jerry Garcia Conner is played by Cole Roberts and Morgan Roberts. Jerry is the youngest of Roseanne and Dan's children, born in 1995 when the two are in their forties. Jerry's conception presented a real struggle for Roseanne and Dan, who previously had never experienced issues with their fertility. He was named for musician Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, who passed away of a heart attack while Roseanne was pregnant and of whom she and Dan were fans. Because he was so young, Jerry didn't play a large role in the series' initial run. Jerry did not appear in the premiere episode of Season 10, his absence explained by Roseanne as him being on a fishing boat in Alaska.
The decision to add a pregnancy storyline to the series coincided with Roseanne Barr's real-life pregnancy with her son, Buck Thomas. Barr, like her character, struggled with fertility, though Barr ultimately resorted to fertility drugs to conceive while her character was able to become pregnant naturally. Initially, it was planned that the new addition to the cast would be a daughter, but when Barr gave birth to a boy, she decided the Conners should have a son instead, wanting her on-screen child's sex to match her newborn child's. Once it was decided the child would be a boy, Barr named the character after Jerry Garcia and intended to have Roseanne give birth at a concert held by the Grateful Dead. However, plans for a concert birth were scrapped when Garcia passed away unexpectedly.
Fred Oakland is played by Michael O'Keefe. Fred is a mechanic who works at the garage with Dan and is introduced to Jackie, leading to a one-night stand, accidental impregnation, and subsequent marriage. After much encouragement Jackie eventually warms up and faces the fact that Fred is the father of her child and therefore a part of their lives. At first Fred assumes that Jackie's just putting him off lightly because he doesn't understand that she's been through a traumatic experience in addition to her dysfunctional childhood. Being very conventional, Fred is shocked by the Conners' and Harris' unconventional ways and can't understand the inner workings of Jackie's family. This leads to the dissolution of Jackie and Fred's marriage. Despite their attempts to make the marriage work, Jackie and Fred break up when they discover how incompatible they are.
Andy Oakland is Jackie and Fred's son, born in 1994 on the episode "Labor Day". Jackie breastfeeds Andy at the altar while marrying Fred ("Altar Egos"). Andy was the ringbearer in Darlene and David's wedding ("The Wedding"). Jackie likes to dress him up in outfits Fred deems to be feminine. DJ makes it a point to spend time with Andy because he doesn't have any male siblings. Andy and Jerry are like brothers and take naps together in the same crib like Jackie and Roseanne did as babies.
Beverly Lorraine "Bev" Harris is played by Estelle Parsons. Beverly is the mother of Roseanne and Jackie, the wife of Al, and the daughter of Nana Mary. She has a half-sister named Sonya. Overbearing and shrill, she's avoided by all of her family members. She nags them with her shockingly whiny voice, often with good intentions but presenting them in the wrong way. The family (especially Jackie) tries to avoid spending any time with Bev, as she is quick to inadvertently criticize how people live their lives. After going back and forth playing tricks on each other in one Halloween episode, Roseanne ultimately gets the upper hand by having a fake phone conversation with Bev in front of Dan where she agrees to let her mother stay for three weeks. She is very traditional and conservative, as opposed to her daughters' more liberal and feminist philosophies. She proves herself generous with the wealth she receives from her husband's alimony, constantly giving financial gifts to the family to bail them out. She even provides the seed money for the Lanford Lunch Box and insists on staying on as a partner, but is later forced out because Roseanne and Jackie do not want to work with her. As revenge, she sells her share of the restaurant to Roseanne's ex-boss and rival, Leon Carp, effectively making him their new partner. During the show's final season, she comes out as a lesbian (according to one of Roseanne's fictional twists on her family, along with winning the lottery), this is revealed in the finale in which Roseanne states that her mother is not a lesbian but that her sister is; she just thought it'd be interesting to put a radical twist on the character of her mother, who lived her life according to her husband's rules, and because she wished her mother had a better sense of herself as a woman. Bev's relationship with her own mother is very similar to the one her daughters have with her.
From what is known of Bev's childhood and marriage, life was hard on her emotionally, plagued with instability and neglect. Her mother, Mary, put her freedom ahead of her children and, as a result of her mother's promiscuity, Bev never knew who her father was. As a young woman, Bev, like her mother, found herself pregnant out of wedlock but, unlike her mother, married the man she was pregnant by, Al Harris. While Bev's marriage to Al lasted several decades, their union wasn't a success as Al was physically abusive towards their children and cheated on her for much of their marriage. Largely disappointed the outcome of her life, Bev grew to be a bitter person in her old age, which she dealt with by hiding her emotions and being highly critical of others.
Nana Mary is played by Shelley Winters. Nana Mary is Beverly's mother and Roseanne and Jackie's grandmother, and first appears at a family barbecue in season three. She has another daughter named Sonya. She makes several appearances from season three onward, mostly during family occasions. She is a brash but caring, free-spirited, outspoken, lovable retiree who gambles with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Unlike Bev, she is popular with the family. She also disagrees with Bev on certain situations, such as siding with Jackie when Bev tries to get her to marry Fred, and revealing that she had two abortions, upsetting Bev who is against the idea. She outsmarts Bev and drives her crazy, much to the amusement of Roseanne and Jackie, who usually endure the same torment from Bev. Her character is often a comic relief for the family, as well as offering a balance between Roseanne and Jackie's relationship with their mother, and Bev's relationship with Nana Mary. She was promiscuous in her younger days and claims to have dated Pablo Picasso and Louis Armstrong. Mary had Bev with another man before marrying her deceased husband Marvin. She tells Bev she was very young when she was born, and doesn't know who the father is, avoiding the subject whenever Bev brings it up. She is a big fan of a local radio call-in show that revolves around sex: "If I don't call, they worry," she claims. Nana Mary's last appearance is midway through season nine, in which she finally has a heart-to-heart with Bev, thus closing the story on their relationship. Despite her absence, Mary appears at other family occasions, including the birth of her great-great-granddaughter.
Arnold "Arnie" Thomas is played by Tom Arnold. Arnie is the overweight, hot-tempered but jovial friend of Dan. Originally, he was written as a relative stranger to both Roseanne and Jackie, although this was later retconned, and he was subsequently written as having gone to high school with them. He frequently cheats on the women he dates and is very ill-mannered. However, Arnie always tries to be a good friend to Dan. He marries Nancy but leaves her, claiming to be abducted by aliens (later played upon in the fourth-season finale's end-credit sketch, where he is seen conversing with aliens on a spaceship). Before he and Nancy are engaged, he has a one-night stand with a drunk Jackie. Arnie is often seen wearing a yellow University of Iowa sweatshirt (Tom Arnold attended the University of Iowa in real life). He is last seen in season 5, where he unsuccessfully tries to win Nancy back, even after finding out that she is a lesbian. Tom Arnold appears in the ending credits of a later episode, but is now playing Jackie Thomas (in his role on The Jackie Thomas Show), and none of the characters seem to recognize him.
Other family members
- Audrey Conner (Ann Wedgeworth and Debbie Reynolds) – She is the mother of Dan Conner, and the ex-wife of Ed Conner. In Season Two she is introduced in, "We Gather Together", as a friendly, eccentric brunette woman who loves her son and her new boyfriend, as well as her successful career owning a travel agency. It's later revealed that she has a history of mental illness which Dan's father hid from him. She returns in person in season 9, angry at her son for putting her away, seemingly trying to kill him. Her nurse at the mental institution is who Dan had a relationship with while being married to Roseanne (although this is revealed to be false and part of a story Roseanne is writing as a way to deal with Dan's actual death due to a heart attack in the previous season).
- Al Harris (John Randolph) – Al is initially portrayed as Roseanne and Jackie's henpecked yet humorous father with a knack of making knock-knock jokes much to his wife's chagrin. Al initially has a good relationship with his daughters, especially Jackie, and despite having more in common with her mother Roseanne prefers the presence of her father, finding him more bearable. Randolph made two appearances as Al Harris during the shows first two seasons. In season four, however, the portrayal of the character changes dramatically. After not being able to secure Randolph for future shows, his character was written out of the series. It is revealed at Thanksgiving dinner in 1991 that Al has had a mistress for over 20 years which eventually leads to Bev divorcing him. Additionally around this time Roseanne Barr was publicly in a battle with her real-life parents, claiming that she was abused physically and sexually by both of them. Barr insisted that the abuse be incorporated into the series storyline and thus it is revealed that her father was physically abusive to both her and Jackie, who lived in fear of him for most of their childhood. Upon his death, Roseanne meets with his mistress, Joan, who doesn't know of Al's abuse of his family, as Al had led her to believe that Roseanne and Jackie were ungrateful to him despite his doing so much for them. Despite this, in his passing, Roseanne thanks him for his humorous nature after reading a list of many things she hates him for doing to her and Jackie.
All characters below appear in the first season and part of the second season before being written out altogether. Clooney would make one more appearance in a season four episode.
- Booker Brooks (George Clooney) – The original foreman at Wellman. Booker wasn't always taken seriously by the workers, but compared to their future boss, Roseanne and the others appreciate him more. He dated Jackie for a while, and they tried to keep it a secret. He set the quotas at Wellman at 5,500, much lower than the 8,000 their next boss made.
- Vonda Green (Charlayne Woodard, credited as Charlaine Woodard)- Spirited and perky friend of Jackie and Roseanne, also has a great singing voice.
- Sylvia Foster (Anne Faulkner)- Older Wellman employee working there since the late 1950s, she occasionally hangs out with Jackie, Roseanne, and the rest of the gang at the Lobo. Has a husband named Joe who is hard of hearing.
- Juanita Herrara (Evelina Fernandez)- Hispanic co-worker who after leaving Wellman with the rest of the gang opens a successful small business in Lanford with her husband Emilio and their teenage son.
- Meg Wellman (Debra Mooney) – Owner of the Wellman factory, who believes she and Roseanne are good friends. She comically refers to Roseanne as "Roxanne Conway" and Jackie as Janet. Accidentally hits Roseanne's car with her car in one episode.
Art's Beauty Shop
All characters below appear in the show's second season only, when Roseanne takes a job as a receptionist and shampoo girl at Art's Beauty Salon.
- Marsha (Elizabeth Franz) – Good friend of Crystal's who is the owner of Art's Beauty Salon named after her late husband who she was only married to for eleven months between 1959 and 1960. Marsha hysterically quotes Arthur throughout her run on the show despite the fact that he has been gone nearly thirty years leading Roseanne to quarb that maybe Marsha would not miss him so much if they had been married longer.
- Iris (Lori Tan Chinn) – Vietnamese beautician at the salon. Comically makes jokes throughout her run on the show about being a Vietnamese refugee held captive before emigrating to the United States. Often makes acerbic remarks about people being blown away by gun mortar attacks, which she reveals to Roseanne is her comic way of letting off steam. Chinn and Barr had appeared together in the 1989 movie She-Devil.
- Debbie (Melora Walters) – Manicurist at the salon who is a young naive newlywed.
Rodbell's Department Store
- Bonnie Watkins (Bonnie Bramlett, credited as Bonnie Sheridan) – Roseanne's coworker at Rodbell's, during season three and four. She has a daughter who lives in Oregon and enjoys traveling by motorcycle with her husband Duke (David Crosby). Suffered from a drinking problem with her husband Duke early on in her life that she has since brought under control.
- The Bowman Family are the Conner's neighbors between season three and four who relocated from Chicago to Lanford. At the end of season four they move back to Chicago.
- Jerry Bowman (Danton Stone) – Kathy's laid-back husband who loves the small town atmosphere of Lanford. Moved to Lanford from Chicago to take a managers job at Wellman.
- Kathy Bowman (Meagen Fay) – Roseanne's wealthy and tense neighbor who hates Lanford and its blue-collar atmosphere. Has an acrimonious relationship with Roseanne.
- Todd Bowman (Troy Davidson) – Kathy and Jerry's son; friend of DJ.
- The Tilden Family move into the Bowman's old house in season five.
- Ty Tilden (Wings Hauser) – A neighbor of Roseanne's, who moved into Kathy's old house. He is a kind, laid-back, struggling single father of two daughters and owns a Winnebago.
- Charlotte Tilden (Mara Hobel) – Ty Tilden's older daughter who acts responsibly, filling in the mother role for her sister Molly. Because of this, she finds that she has more in common with Roseanne than with Darlene or Molly.
- Molly Tilden (Danielle Harris) – Ty Tilden's promiscuous daughter, who flirted with Darlene's boyfriend David.
- Lonnie Anderson (Josh C. Williams, Luke Edwards, Kristopher Kent Hill) – Crystal's eldest child, born to and her first husband, Sonny.
- Art (Dan Butler) – A divorced accountant whom Roseanne and Jackie sell a motorcycle to, and who provides tax services to Lanford Custom Cycle.
- Alexander (John McConnell) – A close friend of Dan's.
- Dwight (William Sadler) – A buddy of Dan's, who had a crush on Jackie.
- Fisher (Matt Roth) – Jackie's former long-time boyfriend, whom Dan ultimately went to jail for assaulting after learning he'd abused Jackie.
- Stacey Flagler (Traci Lords) – A waitress at the Lunchbox.
- George (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – DJ's classmate.
- Gary Hall (Brian Kerwin) – Jackie's former fiancé.
- Heather (Heather Matarazzo) – D.J.'s girlfriend.
- Jimmy Meltrigger (Stephen Dorff) – Becky's former boyfriend from high school.
- Chip Lang (Jared Rushton) – Becky's former boyfriend from high school.
- Marla (Morgan Fairchild) – Nancy's girlfriend.
- Anne-Marie Mitchell (Adilah Barnes) – Roseanne's childhood friend, whose married to one Dan's poker buddies, Chuckie. She and Chuck have son, Chuck Jr., who is the same age as Lonnie and Darlene.
- Chuckie Mitchell (James Pickens, Jr.) – Anne-Marie's husband, who occasionally worked with Dan. Pickens is set to reprise the role in two episodes of the 10th season revival.
- Mr. Parkin (Stan Freberg) – A highly qualified man who is frequently unemployed due to various incidents with the Conners.
- Scott (Fred Willard) – A probate attorney who marries Leon.
- Stinky (Matthew Fishman) – Roseanne's youngest child in an alternate reality, in the place of Jerry.
- Ziggy (Jay O. Sanders) – Old friend of the Conners' who helps Dan open Lanford Custom Cycle, then disappears.
- Jimmy Phillips (Danny Masterson) – Darlene's boyfriend, whom she breaks up with David for. In episode 16 in season 7, Darlene confesses to Jackie that he broke up with her.
- Ronnie (Joan Collins) – Roseanne's rich cousin who persuades Darlene to get her GED and apply to art school.
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