“Doing Roseanne made me famous. To this day, people will call me Dan Arnold.
They’ll shout out, ‘Where’s Roseanne?’” John Goodman
American stage and screen actor John Goodman is probably best known by TV
viewers as Dan Conner in the popular TV series “Roseanne” (1988-1997). His
exceptional turn netted a Golden Globe Award and an American Comedy Award, as
well as earned him seven Emmy nominations. The talented actor also received
positive reviews after delivering fine performances in such TV films as
Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long (1995, had the titular role) and A Streetcar
Named Desire (1995, played Harold ‘Mitch’ Mitchell). On the big screen, Goodman
portrayed the character Fred Flintstone in The Flintstones (1994). Additionally,
he was the voice of Pacha in the animated Emperor’s New Groove (2000) and James
P. “Sulley” Sullivan in Monster, Inc. (2001).
As a stage actor, Goodman had a victory when he created the character of Pap
Finn in “Big River” (1985), in which he earned a Drama Desk nomination.
Previously, he had roles in “The Robber Bridegroom” (1983), “Loose Ends” (1979)
and “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” (1978).
A humble celebrity, Goodman never forgets his hometown. The former member of
Sigma Phi Epsilon national fraternity was awarded by St. Louis local residents
with a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. He built O’Leary’s restaurant in
Sunset Hills and invested in KTRS-550AM Talk Radio for the sake of St. Louis’
neighborhood. Medically speaking, the actor was ordered by his doctor to lose
100 pounds in 2005 to avoid serious health problems. As for his private life,
Goodman is the husband of Anna Elizabeth Hartzog, with whom he has a daughter.
A Thousand-Dollar Trip to NY
Childhood and Family:
The son of Leslie (letter carrier; died of a heart attack at the age of 36) and
Virginia, John Stephen Goodman was born on June 20, 1952, in St. Louis,
Missouri. After his father died when John was two, John, along with his sister
Betty and his older brother Leslie Jr., lived with their mother who had to take
on many jobs to provide for her family. Although they had a hard time, John
remained close to his family.
John attended Affton High School in St. Louis, where he exhibited his talent in
acting by making a theater debut in Judy Rethwisch’s “’Lil Abner” (1968). In
1970, he continued his studies at Meramec Community College in Kirkwood, but
then transferred to Southwest Missouri State University where he took Speech and
Theater. Graduating with a BFA degree in theater in 1975, John decided to pursue
acting and left with a thousand dollars his brother saved for him. On August 15,
1975, John headed to New York.
John met his wife, Anna Elizabeth Hartzog, in New Orleans while he was filming
1988’s Everybody’s All-American. They married in October 1989 and have a
daughter named Molly Evangeline (born on August 31, 1990).
During high school, John Goodman showed his talent for the first time in a 1968
play called “’Lil Abner.” After graduating from college in 1975, he performed in
local productions and played Thomas Jefferson in an Ohio theater production of
the musical play “1776.” He then moved to New York and got the first job as a
bouncer. Having his off-Broadway debut in “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” (1978),
Goodman stepped onto the big screen in 1978 with an appearance in the
little-seen Jailbait Babysitter. The following year, he entered Broadway by
taking a part in Michael Weller’s “Loose Ends,” in which he played Kevin Kline’s
starring role during the three-week Christmas season. Goodman had his first
experience in TV film with the small turn as Fred in The Face of Rage (1983),
which was followed by a road tour of the musical play “The Robber Bridegroom”
(1983) for nine months.
In between small roles in the wide screen movies C.H.U.D. (1984) and Sweet
Dreams (1985), Goodman’s career on stage bloomed when he played the role of Pap
Finn, the father of Huckleberry Finn, in the premiere of the musical play “Big
River” (1985) at the American Repertory Theatre of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The
popular role of Pap Finn, which earned him a Drama Desk nomination, was later
reprised for the Broadway stage. Soon, the gifted actor was in the radar of
director-musician David Byrne, who cast him in the leading role of Louis Fyne in
the big screen comedy True Stories (1986). It was followed by his first
collaboration with director Joel Coen in the comedy Raising Arizona (1987),
where he played the wild criminal Gale Snoats.
Goodman’s small screen breakthrough arrived when he was offered a deal to costar
with Roseanne Barr in the widely known series “Roseanne” (1988-1997). His turn
as Dan Conner, the husband of Roseanne Conner, earned him fame as well as a
Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Series and an American Comedy for Funniest
Male in a TV Series. For the same role, which was on the13th spot in 2004’s TV
Guide’s “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time,” Goodman also received Emmy
nominations for seven years in a row (1989-1995).
Goodman was next seen in Everybody’s All-American (1988, as Lawrence), Steven
Spielberg’s Always (1989, played Al Yackey), Arachnophobia (1990, took the role
of Delbert McClintock), Joel Coen’s Barton Fink (1991, costarred as Charlie
Meadows), the biopic The Babe (1992, had the title role of George Herman ‘Babe’
Ruth) and the remake of Born Yesterday (1993, as Harry Brock). The actor
perfectly portrayed the cartoon icon Fred Flintstone in the live-action
adaptation of The Flintstones (1994), a well-known character that became his
next landmark role.
The actor received positive reviews when he starred as Huey P. Long, Jr. in his
producing debut, the TV film biopic Kingfish: A Story of Huey P. Long (1995),
where he earned an Emmy nomination for Best Actor. Still in 1995, he was
nominated for an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor due to his fine acting as Harold
‘Mitch’ Mitchell in the made-for-TV drama A Streetcar Named Desire. Goodman
reappeared on stage after a long hiatus by performing as Falstaff in the 1995
production of “Henry IV (Parts 1 and 2)” at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater. The
multi-talented actor also appeared on the silver screen with roles like Alan
Davenport in Pie in the Sky (1996), Ocious P. Potter in the family comedy The
Borrowers (1997), Walter Sobchak in Joel Coen’s The Big Lebowski (1998), Larry
Verber in Martin Scorsese’s thriller Bringing Out the Dead (1999) and Bill
Sanford in Coyote Ugly (2000).
Goodman lent his voice for characters in the animated movies The Emperor’s New
Groove (2000, voice of peasant Pacha) and Monster, Inc. (2001, voice of James P.
“Sulley” Sullivan). He also appeared in Dirty Deeds (2002), Masked and Anonymous
(2003) and Beyond the Sea (2004). Subsequent to his leading part as security
company owner John Barnett in the TV series “Center of the Universe” (2004), as
well as his supporting role of Steve Mills in the big screen musical Marilyn
Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School (2005), Goodman returned to theater by
performing Harvey ‘Big Daddy’ Pollitt in the 2005 production of Tennessee
Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
Goodman was recently seen in Ron Mann’s Tales of the Rat Fink (2006), where he
played Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, a famous hot rod and custom car designer. He will
also play roles in Bob Meyer’s drama Drunkboat (2006, as Mr. Fletcher) and be
seen in the sequel of Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty (2007, alongside Morgan
Golden Globe: Best Actor in a TV Series (Musical or Comedy), Roseanne,
American Comedy: Funniest Male in a TV Series, Roseanne, 1990