Tom Arnold (actor)

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Tom Arnold
Tom Arnold 2000.jpg
Arnold in 2000
Thomas Duane Arnold

(1959-03-06) March 6, 1959 (age 63)
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • television host
Years active1970–present
(m. 1990; div. 1994)
Julie Lynn Champnella
(m. 1995; div. 1999)
Shelby Roos
(m. 2002; div. 2008)
Ashley Groussman
(m. 2009; div. 2020)

Thomas Duane Arnold (born March 6, 1959) is an American actor and comedian. He is best known for playing Arnie Thomas on Roseanne (1989–1993), Jackie Thomas on The Jackie Thomas Show (1992–1993), and Tom Amross on The Tom Show (1997–1998).

He has appeared in several films, including True Lies (1994), Nine Months (1995), McHale's Navy (1997), Animal Factory (2000), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), Mr. 3000 (2004), Happy Endings (2005), The Great Buck Howard (2008), and Madea's Witness Protection (2011). He was also the host of The Best Damn Sports Show Period for four years, and appeared on Sons of Anarchy.

Early life[edit]

Arnold was born Thomas Duane Arnold in Ottumwa, Iowa, the son of Linda Kay (née Graham) and Jack Arnold.[1][2] He had 2 siblings: a sister Lori and a brother Scott. As a child, Tom Arnold was diagnosed with autism.[3] His mother abandoned the family when he was a child, and he and his siblings were raised by their father:

“The three were still very young when their mother, who Tom Arnold said was an alcoholic, moved out. That left them in the care of a father in his early 20s whose role as breadwinner left him little time for parenting, Arnold said.”[4]

In their teens, Arnold and his sister moved back in with their mother. With her mother's consent, Lori was married at age 14 to a man who was 23 years old. Soon she was a heavy drug user and dealer running one of the largest meth operations in the Midwest until her arrest in 1989.[5][6]

Meanwhile, Arnold apparently escaped his sister's fate, and worked at a meatpacking plant.[7] He attended Ottumwa High School, Indian Hills Community College, and the University of Iowa from 1981 to 1983, where he studied business administration and writing.[8][9]


In the early 1980s, Arnold had a prop-based comedy routine called "Tom Arnold and the Goldfish Review."[10] Roseanne Barr brought him in as a writer for her television sitcom, Roseanne. He married her in 1990, after she divorced her first husband. Arnold wrote himself into the show as the character "Arnie Thomas" (a play on his name).[citation needed] The couple's marriage attracted media and especially tabloid attention due to their sometimes outrageous behavior. In 1992, Arnold starred in his own sitcom, The Jackie Thomas Show. Airing after Roseanne on ABC, the show lasted 18 episodes.

In 1993, Arnold and Barr bought a house together in Arnold's hometown of Eldon, Iowa and opened a restaurant, 'Roseanne and Tom's Big Food Diner' nearby. The diner served loosemeat sandwiches similar to the specialty of the fictional Lanford Lunch Box on Roseanne, which in turn was based on the real-life Canteen Lunch in the Alley in Ottumwa. Both appeared in the 1993 movie The Woman Who Loved Elvis, filmed in Ottumwa.[11] Arnold and Barr divorced in 1994 due to irreconcilable differences. Their restaurant closed in 1995.

After Arnold's divorce from Barr, he narrated and starred in several Craftmatic Adjustable Bed commercials that aired throughout 1995. The last commercial that he filmed culminated in Arnold lying in a bed that caught on fire and melted a strand of his underarm hair during the taping; the footage was never released. Arnold commented on Twitter in 2014: "Me and Mike (Michael Jackson) (he was one of my best friends) used to laugh about how [I] had a Pepsi commercial of my own".[12]

In November 2000, Arnold played the role of Al Raymond in the second-season Baywatch Hawaii episode, "The Cage".

In a late 1990s interview on radio's The Howard Stern Show, Arnold admitted that his share of his and Barr's estate amounted to "over $20,000,000", including a percentage of the Roseanne ABC-TV series, but would not elaborate, citing a confidentiality clause. In 1994, Arnold appeared as the sidekick to Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in the James Cameron's action blockbuster film True Lies. From 2001 through 2005, he was one of the hosts of The Best Damn Sports Show Period. From 2003 to 2005, Arnold was the voice of Arby's "Oven Mitt" commercials.

Arnold had his first romantic leading man part in the 2005 movie Happy Endings. That same year, Arnold starred in The Kid & I. From 2008 to 2011, he hosted the CMT show My Big Redneck Wedding.[13] He hosted CMT's The Biggest Redneck Wedding Ever in 2008, in which he served as the wedding planner, created a wedding that exceeded the dreams of a couple who wanted to be married in a mud bog, and performed the actual ceremony.[14] CMT also made three series of "My Big Redneck Vacation" presented by Arnold and featuring the Clampet Family from Shreveport, Louisiana.

Arnold's role as a child molester in Gardens of the Night sparked revelations that he had been a victim of sexual abuse in his childhood. He decided to take on the role to shed more light on the issue.[15]

In January 2017, Tom Arnold was revealed as a celebrity contestant on the Australian edition of I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. He was the first evictee from the jungle, after 17 days, and stated he was paid between $US600,000 and $US700,000 for his participation in the program.[citation needed] In June 2017, Arnold filed a lawsuit against companies Network Ten and 'A List Entertainment' for defrauding him for being on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!. Arnold claims that he was promised a payment of $425,000 and a comedy tour in Australia. However, he was missing $140,000 in payment and Network Ten backed out of the comedy tour.[16]

In 2018, Arnold's Viceland show The Hunt for the Trump Tapes premiered to low ratings and mainly negative reviews. The show was canceled after one season.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Arnold in 2004 producing
The 1 Second Film

Arnold met comedian Roseanne Barr when she saw his act in 1983. Their relationship was complicated by his alcoholism and drug addiction,[18] but eventually he became sober. The two married in 1990 and divorced in 1994. In an April 2009 interview on Anytime with Bob Kushell, Arnold discussed why when he divorced Barr, he did not take any alimony.[19] During the next ten years, Arnold married two subsequent times. Both marriages ended in divorce. In August 2008, Arnold broke his scapula in a motorcycle accident on the Pacific Coast Highway.[20]

Over Thanksgiving weekend 2009, Arnold married his fourth wife, Ashley Groussman, in Maui before 75 guests. Dax Shepard served as Arnold's best man.[21] He appeared December 10, 2009 on the late night talk show Asia Uncut.[22] The couple has two children and four dogs.[23][24] In January 2019, the couple announced their intention to divorce.[25] The divorce was finalized in July 2020.[26]

Arnold was raised a Methodist.[27] Some sources say he converted to Judaism upon marrying Roseanne Barr in 1990,[28] but in a podcast interview with Andrew Santino he speaks of growing up Jewish in Iowa.[citation needed] He still practices Judaism.[29]

Involvement in Falwell scandal[edit]

In 2019, Arnold tape-recorded a phone call with Michael Cohen where Cohen divulged his involvement in the cover-up of a scandal involving Jerry Falwell Jr., his wife, and a pool boy.[30][31]

Family reunion[edit]

On October 8, 2020, Tom Arnold, his brother Scott, and sister Lori reunited for the first time in 28 years, back together again in their hometown of Ottumwa, Iowa. During this time, Lori was filming a 3-part docu-series called Queen of Meth, which her brother Tom helped to produce. It recounts her time as the “queen-pin” of a huge drug business that she ran from Iowa to California. Queen of Meth was originally released on Discovery+ in May 2021.[5][6]



Year Title Role Notes
1991 Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare Childless Man
1991 Backfield in Motion Howard Peterman
1992 Hero Chick
1993 The Woman Who Loved Elvis Jack Jackson Television film
1993 Coneheads Golfer Uncredited
1993 Body Bags Morgue Worker No. 1 Television film
1993 Undercover Blues Vern Newman
1994 True Lies Albert "Gib" Gibson
1995 Nine Months Marty Dwyer
1996 Big Bully Roscoe "Fang" Bigger
1996 Carpool Franklin Laszlo
1996 The Stupids Stanley Stupid
1997 Touch August Murray
1997 McHale's Navy Lt. Commander Quinton McHale, Jr.
1997 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Texan Uncredited
1997 Hacks Danny
1998 National Lampoon's Golf Punks Al Oliver
1998 Buster & Chauncey's Silent Night Fritz (voice) Direct-to-video
1999 Jackie's Back Martin Pritz Television film
2000 Bar Hopping Eddie
2000 Animal Factory Buck Rowan
2000 We Married Margo Himself Cameo
2000 Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth Doughy Primesuspect / Hardy (The Killer) Direct-to-video
2000 Just Sue Me Barbuto
2000 Welcome to Hollywood Himself Cameo
2001 Exit Wounds Henry Wayne
2001 Lloyd Tom
2002 Hansel & Gretel Boogeyman
2002 Romantic Comedy 101 James Ford Television film
2002 Children on Their Birthdays Lionel Quince
2003 Manhood Dr. Levanthal
2003 Cradle 2 the Grave Archie
2003 National Lampoon's Barely Legal Mr. Lewis
2003 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Himself Cameo
2003 Just for Kicks Coach Martin Direct-to-video
2004 Soul Plane Elvis Hunkee
2004 Mr. 3000 Himself Cameo
2005 Happy Endings Frank McKee
2005 Kicking & Screaming Himself Cameo
2005 Rebound Himself Cameo
2005 The Kid & I Bill Williams Also producer and writer
2005 Chasing Christmas Jack Cameron Television film
2005 Three Wise Guys Murray Crown Television film
2007 Homo Erectus Gay Caveman
2007 Pride Richard Binkowski
2007 Game of Life Richard Originally known as Oranges
2007 Palo Alto Morgan
2007 The Final Season Burt Akers
2008 Gardens of the Night Alex
2008 Good Dick Dad
2008 This Is Not a Test Himself
2008 Remarkable Power Van Hagen
2008 Moonlight and Mistletoe Nick Crosby Television film
2008 Unstable Fables: The Goldilocks and 3 Bears Show Mac Bear (voice) Direct-to-DVD film
2009 The Skeptic Sully
2009 American Summer Himself
2009 April Showers Martin Blackwell
2009 The 1 Second Film Producer
2010 Group Sex Herman
2011 Walk a Mile in My Pradas Joe
2012 Fred 3: Camp Fred Floyd Spunkmeyer Television film
2012 Madea's Witness Protection Walter
2012 Hit and Run U.S. Marshal Randy Anderson
2012 Chilly Christmas Quarterman Direct-to-video
2013 Jewtopia Bruce Daniels
2013 Pulling Strings Art
2014 Dumbbells Daddy
2014 Shelby Doug the Dog Catcher
2015 Jungle Shuffle Coati King (voice)
2015 Underdog Kids Gene "Geno" Burman
2015 Sex School Principle Hyman
2015 A Mouse Tale Dalliwog the Wizard (voice)
2015 I Am Chris Farley Himself
2015 The Curse of Downers Grove Chuck's father
2017 Dead Ant Danny
2017 Maximum Impact Barnes
2018 The Hunt for the Trump Tapes with Tom Arnold Himself
2018 Bigger Roy Hawkins
2018 Saving Flora Runyon
2019 Christmas Scavenger Hunt Carl Hallmark Movie
2021 Hollywood.Con El Jade
2021 Christmas Thieves Frank
2021 Queen of Meth Himself
2022 Good Mourning Famous Director


Year Title Role Notes
1989–1993 Roseanne Arnold Shep "Arnie" Thomas 20 episodes
1993 The Larry Sander Show Himself 1 episodes
1992–1993 The Jackie Thomas Show Jackie Thomas 18 episodes
1994 Tom Tom Graham 12 episodes
1994 General Hospital Billy Boggs 9 episodes
1997–1998 The Tom Show Tom Amross 19 episodes
1998 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Himself (voice) Episode: "Joshua"
1999 The Simpsons Himself (voice) Episode: "Treehouse of Horror X"
1999 The Norm Show Andrew Episode: "Gambling Man"
2000 Baywatch: Hawaii Al Raymond Episode: "The Cage"
2001 Weakest Link Himself
2001 Fairly OddParents Corporate Santa (voice)
2007 The Celebrity Apprentice Himself
2007 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Rev. Calvin Riggins Episode: "Brother's Keeper"
2008–2009 My Big Redneck Wedding Himself as host and narrator 16 episodes
2009–2011 Sons of Anarchy Georgie Caruso 4 episodes
2011 Franklin & Bash Ronny Streppi Episode: "You Can't Take It With You"
2012 Hawaii Five-0 Ron Alberts Episode: "Huakaʻi Kula"
2013 The First Family Vice President Arthur Crandall 3 episodes
2014 Psych Garth Mathers Episode: "A Touch of Sweevil"
2015 Workaholics George
2016 Trailer Park Boys Himself 3 episodes
2016–2019 NCIS: New Orleans Elvis Bertrand 4 episodes
2017 I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Himself
2020 World's Funniest Animals Guest 1 episode


  1. ^ Arnold, Booty (November 2003). How I Lost 5 Pounds in 6 Years: An Autobiography. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 14. ISBN 0-312-32244-5.
  2. ^ "Tom Arnold profile". Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  3. ^ "Tom Arnold says he's on the Spectrum for the first time..." Facebook. September 17, 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Porter, Sierra A. (October 28, 2020) "After 28 years, Hollywood star and Iowan Tom Arnold reconnects with brother, sister — in Ottumwa". Des Moines Register.
  5. ^ a b Porter, Sierra A. (May 10, 2021) "Former 'Queen of Meth' Lori Arnold, Iowa native and sister of actor Tom Arnold, tells all in documentary". Des Moines Register.
  6. ^ a b Beg, Mirza Aaqib (May 13, 2021). "Where to Stream Queen of Meth?".
  7. ^ "Tom Arnold profile". Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "Tom Arnold – Iowa fan Actor keeping state in front of TV, movie cameras". The Gazette. June 6, 1992. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  9. ^ "Tom Arnold: Tackling a monster". Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  10. ^ I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America's Top Comics By Ritch Shydner, Mark Schiff. Retrieved March 5, 2016.
  11. ^ The Woman Who Loved Elvis details, IMDb, retrieved November 27, 2015
  12. ^ "Tom Arnold". Twitter. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  13. ^ My Big Redneck Wedding: About the Show, Country Music Television. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  14. ^ CMT's Biggest Redneck Wedding Ever: About the Special, Country Music Television. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  15. ^ "Tom Arnold Says He Was Sexually Abused", TV Guide. November 6, 2008. Retrieved November 7, 2008.
  16. ^ Cullins, Ashley (June 15, 2017). "Tom Arnold Sues Australian Reality TV Network for Fraud". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  17. ^ Espinoza, Russ. "Tom Arnold To Keep Hunting As 'Trump Tapes' Ends at Viceland". Forbes. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  18. ^ "Tom Arnold profile". Archived from the original on October 5, 2009. Retrieved September 21, 2009.
  19. ^ "Anytime with Bob Kushell feat. Tom Arnold". Anytime with Bob Kushell. Season 2. Episode 7. April 28, 2009.
  20. ^ Dr. Drew Live, September 4, 2008.
  21. ^ Cristina Everett (November 29, 2009). "Tom Arnold and Ashley Groussman wed in intimate Hawaiian ceremony". Daily News. New York.
  22. ^ Joyce Eng. "Tom Arnold Marries for Fourth Time". TV Guide.
  23. ^ "Tom Arnold Welcomes Son Jax Copeland". People. April 6, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  24. ^ Murphy, Desiree (December 18, 2015). "Tom Arnold and Wife Welcome a Baby Girl – Find Out Her Adorable Name!". Yahoo!.
  25. ^ McDermott, Maeve (January 22, 2019). "Tom Arnold confirms split from wife Ashley Groussman: 'It's a long time coming'". USA Today. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  26. ^ "Tom Arnold's Divorce from Ashley Groussman Finalized After More Than a Decade of Marriage". People. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  27. ^ Schwartz, Missy (January 23, 2002). "Trash of the Titans". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  28. ^ Arnold, Tom (November 2003). How I Lost 5 Pounds in 6 Years: An Autobiography. St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 145–46. ISBN 0-312-32244-5.
  29. ^ "Salt Lake City News, Sports, Archive". The Salt Lake Tribune. July 30, 2009. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  30. ^ Ryan Bort (June 20, 2019). "The Saga of Jerry Falwell Jr.'s Bizarre Relationship With a Miami Beach Pool Boy, Explained". Rolling Stone.
  31. ^ Brian Hiatt (August 13, 2018). "Who's Afraid of Tom Arnold?". Rolling Stone.

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