Roseanne was among the most popular sitcoms of all time, and it’s still regarded as one of the finest TV shows of recent decades. What’s more, its portrayal of working-class and gay characters was often ground-breaking. And in 2017 it was announced that a revival would air in 2018. However, few viewers are aware of how much the cast members have changed since the original show ended in 1997…
10. Roseanne Barr (Roseanne Conner)
After a tumultuous early life, Roseanne Barr turned to the comedy circuit in the mid 1980s. She proved to be good at it, too, eventually netting herself her own series, Roseanne. And with the help of Barr’s own input, the show was a huge success right from the beginning.
Indeed, by the time Roseanne’s run finished, Barr was one of the highest-paid women in showbiz, second only to Oprah Winfrey. She subsequently continued to have a successful career as a comedienne, as well as, in 2012, a less successful career as a politician. What’s more, Barr also lost a great deal of weight, which drastically altered her appearance.
9. John Goodman (Dan Conner)
In high school John Goodman wanted to be a footballer, but an injury put paid to that ambition. So he headed to New York and became an actor instead. In fact, he was the only person to be considered for the part of Dan. The producers loved his chemistry with Barr so much that they cast him straight away.
Goodman is now a beloved character actor who’s appeared in countless hit movies, including Monsters Inc and The Big Lebowski. Furthermore, although his character was killed off in the last episode of Roseanne, he’s returning for the revival series anyway. It seems producers have wisely decided to pretend that his death never happened.
8. Laurie Metcalf (Jackie Harris)
Theatre actress Laurie Metcalf had been in a few TV shows before Roseanne, but it was definitely the series that changed her life. Not only did she win three Emmys in a row for her role as Jackie, but she also met her husband on the set.
After having three children with him, Metcalf split from her husband in 2014. Although she continues to act on TV, it’s her theatre work that really earns her rave reviews. However, that may be about to change, as she too is going to be back for the Roseanne revival.
7. Sara Gilbert (Darlene Conner)
Sara Gilbert was just 13 years old when she was cast as Darlene, Roseanne’s middle child. She subsequently became so vital to the continued success of the show that the producers altered their schedules to allow Gilbert to study at Yale and play Darlene at the same time.
Although Gilbert has spent most of her life in the limelight, she’s dealt with it very well. Indeed, since coming out in 2010 she’s become something of a role model for other gay women in showbiz. Plus, she’ll not only appear in the Roseanne reboot but also produce it as well.
6. Michael Fishman (D.J. Conner)
Believe it or not, Macaulay Culkin came very close to getting the role of D.J. Conner. However, in the end the role went to young Michael Fishman. “He was so not like all the other little Hollywood bastards,” Barr told Entertainment Weekly in 2008.
Once Roseanne was over, Fishman headed back to school to study the performing arts. Spurred on by the death of his co-star Glenn Quinn, he’s subsequently worked both behind the camera and in front of it. What’s more, he’ll return on-screen for the new series.
5. Lecy Goranson (Becky Conner)
When Lecy Goranson won the role of Becky, the eldest Conner child, it was just the second audition she had ever attended. Unfortunately, her college studies made it impossible for Goranson to stay in the role, so actress Sarah Chalke took her place.
Goranson appeared in movies and TV shows after her time on Roseanne finished, although usually credited under her full name, Alicia Goranson. In May 2017, following much speculation, it was finally announced that she would be returning in the role of Becky.
4. Sarah Chalke (Becky Conner)
Sarah Chalke, an actor since the age of eight and already a Roseanne fan, took over the role of Becky once Lecy Goranson left. At first, producers were nervous about the prospect of recasting a prominent role, but Chalke proved to be a welcome addition to the cast.
Sarah Chalke went on to star in another hugely popular sitcom, Scrubs, and then guest-starred in a few more, including How I Met Your Mother. However, even with her continued success she hasn’t forgotten Roseanne. Consequently, she’ll be appearing in the revival – just not as Becky.
3. Estelle Parsons (Beverly Harris)
Estelle Parsons was an established star long before she took on the recurring role of Roseanne’s mother, Beverly. Indeed, she’d won an Oscar for her work in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde and was nominated again for Rachel, Rachel the following year.
Parsons is 89 years old now – and still working. As well as doing theatre work, she’s made recent appearances on the popular shows The Good Wife and Grace and Frankie. However, it remains to be seen if she’ll be involved in the new Roseanne…
2. Natalie West (Crystal Anderson)
Natalie West received her big break playing Crystal, the kooky best friend of Roseanne. However, the writers weren’t sure how to develop her character, and consequently she appeared in the show less and less. Indeed, from series four onwards Crystal became a recurring character rather than a regular one.
What’s more, by the beginning of series eight, West was gone from Roseanne completely. In fact, she more or less dropped off the radar as a TV actor altogether. West now mostly does theatre work and small independent films, and she’s another former cast member who hasn’t yet been confirmed as appearing in the rebooted show.
1. Johnny Galecki (David Healy)
Roseanne Barr met the young Johnny Galecki on the set of the TV film Backfield in Motion, and subsequently cast him on her show as David. “That experience… I really consider my college in many ways,” Galecki told Variety in 2015. “I had the best professors in the business.”
What’s more, those “professors” served Galecki very well indeed. In fact, he’s now almost as big a sitcom star as Roseanne Barr herself was at the height of her fame. As one of the leads in The Big Bang Theory, he’s among the highest-paid TV actors in the world.