Roseanne Cherrie Barr (born November 3, 1952) is an American actress, comedienne, writer, television producer, director and 2012 presidential nominee of the California-based Peace and Freedom Party. Barr began her career in stand-up comedy at clubs before gaining fame for her role in the sitcom Roseanne. The show was a hit and lasted nine seasons, from 1988 to 1997. She won both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her work on the show. Barr had crafted a "fierce working-class domestic goddess" persona in the eight years preceding her sitcom and wanted to do a realistic show about a strong mother who was not a victim of patriarchal consumerism.
The granddaughter of immigrants from Europe and Russia, Barr was the oldest of four children in a working-class Jewish Salt Lake City family; she was also active in the LDS Church. In 1974 she married Bill Pentland, with whom she had three children, before divorcing in 1990 and marrying comedian Tom Arnold for four years. Controversy arose when she sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" off-key at a 1990 nationally aired baseball game, followed by grabbing her crotch and spitting.
After her sitcom ended, she launched her own talk show, The Roseanne Show, which aired from 1998 to 2000. In 2005, she returned to stand-up comedy with a world tour. In 2011, she starred in an unscripted TV show, Roseanne's Nuts, that lasted from July to September of that year, about her life on a Hawaiian farm.
In early 2012, Barr announced her candidacy for the Presidential nomination of the Green Party. Barr lost the nomination to Jill Stein. She then sought the presidential nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party, which she won on August 4, 2012. Barr received 61,971 votes in the general election, placing sixth overall.
Barr was born in Salt Lake City, to a working-class Jewish family. She is the oldest of four children born to Helen (née Davis), a bookkeeper and cashier, and Jerome Hershel "Jerry" Barr, who worked as a salesman. Barr's grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants from Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania and Austria-Hungary, and her paternal grandfather changed his surname from "Borisofsky" to "Barr" upon entering the United States.
Her Jewish upbringing was influenced by her devoutly Orthodox Jewish maternal grandmother. Barr's parents kept their Jewish heritage secret from their neighbors and were partially involved in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Barr has stated, "Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning I was a Jew; Sunday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday afternoon we were Mormons". When Barr was three years old, she got Bell's palsy on the left side of her face. Barr said, "[so] my mother called in a rabbi to pray for me, but nothing happened. Then my mother got a Mormon preacher, he prayed, and I was miraculously cured". Years later Barr learned that Bell's palsy was usually temporary and that the Mormon preacher came "exactly at the right time". At six years old, Barr discovered her first public stage by lecturing LDS churches around Utah and even was elected president of a Mormon youth group.
At 16, Barr was hit by a car that left her with a traumatic brain injury. Her behavior changed so radically that she was institutionalized for eight months at Utah State Hospital. In 1970, when Barr was 18 years old, she moved out by informing her parents she was going to visit a friend in Colorado for two weeks, but never returned.