List of Roseanne and The Conners characters
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|Sonny Anderson||Crystal Anderson||Ed Conner|
|Audrey Conner||Al Harris |
|Lonnie Anderson||Ed Conner Jr.||Angela Conner||Dan Conner|
b. 1952 – d. 2018
b. 1973 – d. 2002
|David Healy||D.J. Conner|
|Geena Conner||Jerry Conner|
|Beverly Rose Conner|
|Harris Healy||Mark Healy II||Mary Conner|
Roseanne Conner (née Harris) 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 in the eighth season of 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.
In Season 9, Roseanne and Jackie win a state lottery in excess of $108 million. At the end of the season, 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. However, in Season 10, which takes place twenty years later, the events of Season 9 are ret-conned out of existence. By this time, she is still married to Dan and is now a grandmother of three.
In the spin-off The Conners, it is revealed that Roseanne has died of an opioid overdose.
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, 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 of Season 9, which was later ret-conned out of existence, 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 season nine 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. Rosenthal 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. At the commencement of Season 10, which takes place twenty years after Season 9, Dan is alive, still married to Roseanne, and now a grandfather of three.
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 couple 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.
Marjorie Jacqueline "Jackie" Harris is played by Laurie Metcalf, Jackie is Roseanne's younger sister by three years, neurotic but a loving, devoted aunt to her nieces and nephews, and later mother to Andy.
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 Bev 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 domestic abuser Fisher.
Jackie eventually marries Dan's co-worker Fred, who impregnated her during a one-night stand. Their son Andy is born two months before their wedding. The marriage is short-lived because Jackie finds Fred boring, petty, and self-centered, and they fall out of love. Unhappy with self-absorbed couch-potato Fred, Jackie starts going out with another couple, which becomes one man. Dan sees her and warns her about Fred's possible reaction, but later he accidentally blurts it out to Fred, who storms home and accuses Jackie of adultery, then refuses to speak to her. Bev and Roseanne help Fred realize that his accusations against her are unjustified, and he returns to her, but by that point Jackie has realized that she's happier being single. They divorce and Jackie is crushed at first, but moves on to successful single-motherhood of Andy.
In Season 6, while Jackie is in labor, Bev tells her that her birth name is actually Marjorie; the family began calling her Jackie because Roseanne called her "my Jackie" because she couldn't pronounce Marjorie. But 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, she is actually the backbone of the Conner/Harris family in many ways, as Roseanne admits in the last episode of Season 9, which also reveals that Jackie, instead of Bev, had come out as a lesbian during the final season and that Roseanne knew, but had just always pictured her with a man. However, as most of Season 9 (and the final episode in particular) has been since ret-conned out of existence, this revelation is no longer applicable.
Darlene Conner (later Healy) is played by Sara Gilbert. She is 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. However, during high school, she becomes moody, artistic, and 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 (Kevin Healy in his first appearance) (Johnny Galecki), coincidentally the younger brother of Becky's husband Mark. Darlene is sarcastic and domineering like her mother, often causing the couple 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 collaborating 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 Darlene a chance to become the writer Roseanne wanted to be. At college, Darlene 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 final episode of Season 9, 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. However, by the start of Season 10, which takes place twenty years later, this revelation has been retconned out of existence.
In Season 10, Darlene is revealed to be a single mother of two children, daughter Harris and son Mark, and she 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 family and friends, is the eldest of Roseanne and Dan's children. Becky is introduced to the series as a 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 actually is the least problematic of the Conner children, maintaining very 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 guys 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. 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 eloped with Mark. Unfortunately, the 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 reveals 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. Her husband Mark has died. 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. Becky feels she isn't in a position to turn down the offer. Becky later finds out she has a very small chance of becoming pregnant. The couple that offered her the surrogacy decides they need to move on to someone else.
Lecy Goranson played the role of Becky from the show's inception through Season 5. Goranson decided to leave the show in order to earn her college degree (she attended Vassar College). Becky's absence is written as having her elope with Mark and moving out of state. However, producers wished to return the character to the show and since Goranson wasn't available, they recast the role with Canadian actress Sarah Chalke. Chalke appeared as Becky starting in the middle of Season 6 and all of Season 7. Goranson returned for Season 8 as Becky, while still attending college, and Chalke was let go. However, Goranson's school schedule sometimes conflicted with her filming schedule and thus she was unavailable at times. The writers did not write in the Becky character when Goranson was not available for filming, but the show needed the Becky character in some episodes. Chalke was asked again to play the role when Goranson was not available during Season 8. Not wanting to put the show through more scheduling conflicts, Goranson did not sign on for Season 9 and concentrated on her studies. The role was turned over to Chalke for Season 9. With the series revival, Goranson played the role of Becky. In Season 10, Goranson as Becky, and Chalke as a character named Andrea, comment on how much they resemble one another - as the two actors once had played the same role. The Andrea character hires Becky to be her surrogate; this does not work out due to Becky's age (she is 43.)
In Season 1 of The Conners, which deals with life after Roseanne's death from an opiate overdose, Becky announces she is naturally pregnant despite a doctor telling her during the surrogacy storyline that she had less than a 5% chance of conceiving. Since her husband died, Becky is in financial difficulty and the child's father, Becky's coworker Emilio who is an illegal immigrant from Mexico, cannot help out financially as he earns only a small wage. With the support of her family, Becky proceeds with the pregnancy.
Becky later begins to warm to Emilio and accept him as a part of her life as he is the father of her child; Dan gives him a job as a drywall contractor at Dan's firm and Jackie also teaches him English. Emilio is subsequently deported in the cliffhanger ending to season one. In the season two premiere of The Conners, Becky gives birth to a premature girl who she names Beverly Rose.
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. is more simple-minded, naïve, and boisterous than his older sisters, who frequently taunt him. 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, which has since been ret-conned out of existence.
In Season 10, D.J. is shown to have recently retired from the military and returned home after serving in Syria for an unspecified amount of time. He is also shown to be married to a woman named Geena Williams, who is still serving in the military abroad, and that the two have a daughter, Mary.
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, Dan 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 (though comedically 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. Mark has a younger brother, David, who dates (and later marries) Darlene. He also has two much younger sisters, Lisa and Nikki, who appear briefly in the Season 5 episode "No Place Like Home for The Holidays".
In season 10, it is mentioned that Mark has died, leaving Becky a widow in severe financial ruin. Actor Glenn Quinn had died between the original series and the revival, and the decision was made to not recast his role. No further information is given as to how long ago Mark died or what he died of, except that Becky and David still miss him and the fact Darlene and David’s son is named in his memory.
Kevin "David" Maurice Healy is played by Johnny Galecki. David is Mark's younger brother. He first appeared in "The Bowling Show" (episode 4.14). 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. Roseanne makes a comment in Season 6, saying "David's not even his real name. Darlene made it up!" However, Barr had reportedly wanted to name the character David from the beginning but the idea was rejected as Galecki was starring on another show, Billy as a character named David.
Harris Conner Healy
Harris Conner Healy is portrayed by Emma Kenney. She was born premature and was not expected to survive. Darlene names her Harris Conner Healy as a tribute to all of the strong women in her family ("Harris" is Roseanne's maiden name) in the hopes that she'd have the same strength to survive.
The elder of Darlene's two children, Harris is now a teenager who possesses her mother and grandmother's sarcasm. Having grown up in Chicago, Harris is less than thrilled about moving to Lanford and is resentful 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 hasn't done: she confronts Harris about her disrespectful behavior. Though Darlene is initially upset by this, she accepts Roseanne's actions as justified when she discovers that Harris has been selling stolen goods on Etsy 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.
There is some discrepancy in the series continuity with regard to the character's age. Darlene announced she was pregnant in a 1996 episode during season 8 of Roseanne, and Harris was born in a 1997 episode during season 9. This would make Harris 21, not a teenager, at the start of season 10 in 2018. Note that much of what happened in season 9 of Roseanne—other than Harris' birth—has been retconned out of existence in the show's world.
Mark Healy II
Mark Healy II 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 narrow-minded 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, 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.
Mary Conner is portrayed by Jayden Rey. Mary is D.J. and Geena's daughter. Mary is named for her deceased great-great-grandmother, Nana Mary.
Geena Williams-Conner is portrayed by Maya Lynne Robinson (Rae'Ven Larrymore Kelly in season 7 and Xosha Roquemore in season 10). The wife of D.J. and mother of Mary; she is, like D.J., a military veteran.
The character was introduced in a 1994 Roseanne episode wherein D.J. must kiss her for a school play, but is reluctant to do so because she is black. D.J. overcomes his prejudices and kisses her for the play; she is not seen on the original show again.
In the revival she is revealed to have married D.J. and while D.J. is home raising their daughter, she is still an active-duty veteran.
In the spin-off she was a principal character in season one, having been discharged from the military. In season two she does not appear because Maya Lynne Robinson committed to another program.
Other major characters
Nancy Lynn 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 him, then admits to being gay. 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, he is portrayed as a foe to Roseanne; although they have a contentious relationship at times, Leon gradually becomes a close friend of the Conners, ultimately 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 ninth season, 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.
Leon did not appear in season 10, nor was he mentioned.
Crystal Anderson-Conner 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, good-hearted woman, Crystal's kindness is often taken advantage of, even by Roseanne at times. Though Crystal is not oblivious to others using her, she seldom asserts herself, fearing she might lose others' favor or be perceived as unladylike.
Crystal's most poignant hallmark is her troubles in dating. At the beginning of the series, she has been married three times. Her marriages to two of her husbands, Rusty and Travis, were fairly short and ended in divorce. (However, in season 1, episode 5, she says she was widowed at 18.) Her third husband Sonny, father of her son Lonnie, was killed in a construction accident; afterwards, Crystal endures years of bad relationships before gradually kindling a romance with Dan's father Ed, to Dan and Roseanne's surprise. When Crystal and Ed get engaged in Season 3, she tells Roseanne she's pregnant. Dan isn't happy with either development at first, further straining his already-difficult relationship with his father. Crystal gives birth to Ed Junior, better known as Little Ed; the following year, she gives birth to daughter Angela.
Little is known about Crystal's background, other than her mother forcing her to leave home at 16 and that she married at 17, shortly after graduating from high school, only to be widowed at 18. Crystal speaks with a Southern accent despite being a Lanford native; her explanation is 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 history with his father, and Roseanne tries to keep the peace between the two. The family likes Ed, but Dan grew up feeling neglected with Ed seldom being home and his mother's mental illness, in addition to verbal slights that Ed targets towards Dan (e.g., when Dan questions Ed dating Crystal, Ed makes a rude crack about Dan being "interested" in Crystal). It usually takes little to no time for Dan to become annoyed by his father's presence. All this was unknown to Dan until Crystal revealed it to Roseanne. Ed hoped 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 past actions and be a better father and husband. He loves his son despite their troubled relationship, and also loves the rest of his family. He marries Crystal and has two children with her (Ed Jr. and Angela), who are significantly younger than their half-brother, 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 died 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 Season 10, nor has he appeared on The Conners. His absence is explained by Roseanne as him being on a fishing boat in Alaska. After her demise, there is still no mention of his whereabouts.
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 died unexpectedly.
Fred 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 is just putting him off lightly because he fails to understand that she had a previous abusive relationship in addition to her dysfunctional childhood. Being very conventional, Fred is shocked by the Conners' and Harris' unconventional ways and cannot 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 realize they have little in common.
Andy Harris 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 occasionally dressed him in outfits Fred deemed to be feminine. DJ made it a point to spend time with Andy because they were the only younger males of the family. Cousins Andy and Jerry took naps together in the same crib when they were babies. His birth has been retconned in The Conners.
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 run 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 is 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; as a result of Mary's promiscuity, Bev never knew who her father was. As a young woman Bev found herself pregnant out of wedlock, like her mother had been; unlike her mother, Bev married her baby's father, Al Harris. Their marriage lasted several decades, but Al physically abused their two daughters and frequently cheated on Bev. Disappointed in her life, Bev grew bitter in her old age and became even more critical of others.
Darlene was granted power of attorney over Bev's inheritance, until late in the second season of The Conners, when the 94-year-old Bev, angry at Darlene for letting Jackie and Becky re-open the Lunch Box restaurant (an asset Bev secretly held on to), took back her power of attorney.
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. In the reboot and spinoff, D.J. and Geena's daughter is named for Nana Mary, who has since died.
Arnold Shep "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.
Minor / recurring characters
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 2 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. Note, however, that as almost all of season 9 was retconned out of existence, this no longer can be assumed to be 'true' within the show's continuity. (Initially, Dan's affair was revealed to be false, and part of a story Roseanne was writing as a way to deal with Dan's heart-attack death in the previous season. By season 10, even Dan's death was retconned away.)
- Al Harris (John Randolph) – Al is initially portrayed as Roseanne and Jackie's henpecked yet humorous father with a knack for telling knock-knock jokes. Al initially has a good relationship with his daughters, especially Jackie, and despite having more in common with her mother Roseanne finds her father more bearable to have around. 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, and Bev eventually divorces him. Around this time Roseanne Barr was in a public battle with her real-life parents, claiming that both of them had physically and sexually abused her. Barr insisted that the abuse be incorporated into the series storyline, so it's 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 set by their next boss Keith Faber (Fred Thompson).
- 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 quip 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 Conners' neighbors between season 3 and 4 who relocated from Chicago to Lanford. At the end of season 4 they move back to Chicago.
- Jerry Bowman (Danton Stone) – Kathy's laid-back husband who loves the small-town atmosphere of Lanford, having moved there from Chicago to take a managers job at Wellman Plastics.
- 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, Adam Hendershott ) – Kathy and Jerry's son; friend of DJ.
- The Tilden family move into the Bowman's old house in season 5.
- 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.
- In the season-10 revival, a Yemeni Muslim family lives next door to the Conners, rousing Roseanne's suspicions that the family might be terrorists. They are introduced in episode 7, "Go Cubs," but are not given a surname. They also appeared in The Conners.
- Samir (Alain Washnevsky) - A Yemeni man who is very aware of Roseanne's suspicions and protective of his family. He also has a very dry sense of humor, choosing to come to Roseanne's house in the middle of the night to repay money she loaned his wife, in retaliation for Roseanne asking to borrow his Wi-Fi password at 2AM.
- Fatima (Anne Bedian) - Samir's wife, she is soft-spoken and kind, but firm. She allows Roseanne's granddaughter to use their Wi-Fi password to FaceTime her mother in Afghanistan, believing that children should not be punished for adults' prejudices. In return, Roseanne defends her from a racist cashier and loans her money for groceries.
- Kazem (Callan Farris) - Samir and Fatima's young son, who has been a victim of racism and bullying since his family's move to Lanford and is now so terrified that he sleeps in a bulletproof vest.
- Lonnie Anderson (Josh C. Williams, Luke Edwards, Kristopher Kent Hill) – Crystal's eldest child, born to her deceased 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 appears in the early seasons of Roseanne, who had a crush on Jackie. In The Conners, there is another character named Dwight who Dan appears to be friends with, but the character is not portrayed by William Sadler and might be a different character altogether.
- Fisher (Matt Roth) – Jackie's former long-time boyfriend, whom Dan ultimately went to jail for assaulting after learning he 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, who is married to one of Dan's poker buddies, Chuckie. She and Chuck have a 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 reprised the role in two episodes of the 10th season revival and currently (2019) appears on a recurring basis on The Conners.
- 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, for whom she breaks up with David. In episode 16 in season 7, Darlene confesses to Jackie that he broke up with her because he could not get close to her.
- Ronnie (Joan Collins) – Roseanne's rich cousin who persuades Darlene to get her GED and apply to art school.
- Geena is portrayed by Rae'Ven Larrymore Kelly in season 7 and Xosha Roquemore in season 10
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