“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 Freeman).