“I just wonder what it would be like to be able to go places without people recognizing me.” Sara Gilbert
Actress Sara Gilbert, the younger sister of Melissa Gilbert, rose to prominence playing daughter Darlene Conner-Healy on the hit sitcom “Roseanne” (ABC, 1988-1997), where she received three Young Artist Awards and two Emmy nominations for her performance. Years after the show's demise, she was nominated for a TV Land Award in the category of Character Most Desperately in Need of a Timeout in 2006 and jointly netted an Innovator Award in 2008. She earned an additional Young Artist Award for starring in the TV film “Sudie and Simpson” (1990, opposite Louis Gossett Jr.). After “Roseanne,” the former child actress, who was once named one of VH1's “100 Greatest Kid Stars,” starred in the failed sitcoms “Welcome to New York” (2000-2001, as Amy Manning) and “Twins” (2005-2006, as Mitchee Arnold) and had recurring roles in 24” (5 episodes, 2002), “ER” (15 episodes, 2004-2007), “The Class” (6 episodes, 2006-2007) and “The Big Bang Theory” (8 episodes, 2007-2010). She has also guest starred in a number of TV series, including “Will & Grace,” “Strong Medicine,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Grey's Anatomy.” On the big screen, Gilbert made her movie debut as Sylvie Cooper in “Poison Ivy” (1992), for which she earned an Independent Spirit nomination. Her feature credits include “Dead Beat” (1994), “Desert Blue” (1998), “Light It Up” (1999), “High Fidelity” (2000), “Riding in Cars with Boys” (2001) and “Laws of Attraction” (2004). Gilbert has also tried directing and writing.
Gilbert has lived with her partner, writer/producer Allison Adler, since 2002. They have two children (a daughter and a son).
Gilbert is a supporter of Meals on Wheels, PETA, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and Freedom of Speech. She is close fiends with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.
Childhood and Family:
Sara Gilbert was born Sara Rebecca Abeles on January 29, 1975, in Santa Monica, California, to Barbara Crane, a producer and talent manager in Hollywood, and Harry Abeles. Her grandfather, Harry Crane (died at age 85 in 1999 of cancer), was a comedy writer who co-created the Jackie Gleason classic television comedy series “The Honeymooners” (1952). Her grandmother, Julia Crane, was a celebrated dancer. Sara is the younger half-sister of Melissa Gilbert (born on May 8, 1964) and Jonathan Gilbert (born on April 28, 1967), who were adopted by Barbara and her first husband, actor Paul Gilbert (born in 1918, died 1975). Both of her siblings were stars on “Little House on the Prairie,” where Melissa played Laura Ingalls and Jonathan portrayed Willie Oleson. When she was 6, Sara wanted to become an actress after seeing her sister became an inductee on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Three years later, in 1984, she changed her last name to Gilbert to professionally pursue her ambition. Despite growing up in show business, Sara attended regular schools. She graduated from Yale University in New Heaven, Connecticut, in 1997 with a degree in art and photography.
Sara and her life partner, Allison Adler, welcomed their first child, son Levi Hank Gilbert-Adler, in October 2004 after Adler gave birth in Los Angeles through a sperm donor. Sara gave birth to their second child, daughter Sawyer Gilbert-Adler, on August 2, 2007 (also via a sperm donor).
Young Sara Gilbert appeared in a commercial for Kool Aid (1981) and in the television film “Calamity Jane” (1984), which starred Jane Alexander, before gaining her breakthrough playing Darlene Conner on the popular ABC situation comedy “Roseanne,” which starred Roseanne Barr and John Goodman. She appeared in the show from 1988 to 1997. For her good acting job, Gilbert won Young Artist Awards in the category of Outstanding Young Comedienne in a Television Series in 1991, 1992 and 1993 and was nominated for Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1993 and 1994. She also contributed to the story on a 1992 episode called “Don't Make Me Over,” which was directed by Andrew D. Weyman.
During her stint on the show, Gilbert costarred with Fred Savage in “ABC Weekend Specials” episode “Runaway Ralph” (1988), had the title role of Sudie Harrigan, a southern child with a dark secret who befriends a gentle black man, in the Lifetime Television movie “Sudie & Simpson” (1990), where she picked up a Young Artist for Best Young Actress in a Cable Special for the performance, and made her feature film acting debut alongside Drew Barrymore, Tom Skerritt and Cheryl Ladd in “Poison Ivy” (1992), a thriller directed by Katt Shea and scripted by Andy Ruben that was based on a story by Melissa Goddard. The film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize-Dramatic at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival, but was not successful at the box office. It went on to enjoy success on cable and video in the mid 1990s. For her performance as Sylvie Cooper, Gilbert was handed a 1993 Independent Spirit nomination for Best Supporting Female. After providing the voice of Laura Powers in the 1992 episode “New Kid on the Block” of the hit animated show “The Simpsons,” she revisited the big screen to play Martha in Adam Dubov's thriller “Dead Beat” (1994), opposite Bruce Ramsay and Balthazar Getty, and was directed by her sister Melissa in the “ABC Afterschool Special” “Me and My Hormones” (1996), where she portrayed Jessie, In 1997, she appeared in the TV movie “Broken Record” (starred Natalie Ramsey) and the movie “Walkin' on Sunshine: The Movie.” Gilbert also ventured into directing in 1996 with the short “Persona Non Grata,” which was written by Jill Mazursky. Two years later, she directed and co-wrote “Even the Losers,” an unaired ABC sitcom.
Gilbert next portrayed Sandy in the independent dramatic comedy “Desert Blue” (1998), which was written and directed by Morgan J. Freeman and starred Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson and Christina Ricci, starred in the short film “$30” (1999, directed by Gregory Cooke), worked with Usher Raymond, Forest Whitaker, Rosario Dawson and Judd Nelson in the film “Light It Up” (1999) for writer/director Craig Bolotin, and had a featured role on the Kevin Allen comedy “The Big Tease” (1999), starring Craig Ferguson. Also in 1999, she executive produced and starred in the CBS pilot “The Next Best Thing,” but the series failed to find a home.
Entering the new millennium, Gilbert joined the cast of the CBS sitcom “Welcome to New York” that included Christine Baranski, Jim Gaffigan, Rocky Carroll, Mary Birdsong and Anthony DeSando, her first regular gig since “Roseanne.” The show, however, only lasted from October 2000 to January 2001 and was canceled because of poor ratings. She also played Annaugh Moss in the Stephen Frears film adaptation of “High Fidelity” (2000), starring John Cusack as Rob Gordon, and was reunited with Drew Barrymore for the Penny Marshall directed “Riding in Cars with Boys” (2001), which was based on the autobiography of the same name by Beverly Donofrio. She played Tina Barr in the film.
In 2002, Gilbert played a computer analyst named Paula Schaeffer in five episodes of Fox's “24.” It was followed by guest stints on “Will & Grace” (2003) and “Strong Medicine” (2004) before she began her recurring role of medical student Jane Figler on the NBC popular medical series “ER.” She appeared in 15 episodes of the series from 2004 to 2007. Also in 2004, she appeared as Gary Gadget's assistant in the Peter Hewitt movie “Law of Attraction,” starring Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore.
Gilbert revisited prime time television when she costarred with Molly Stanton in The WB's sitcom “Twins,” in which they portrayed Mitchee and Farrah Arnold, respectively. The show ran from September 16 to March 3, 2005. 2005 also found her guest starring in “The Clinic” (as Mrs. Jennings) and supporting Jennifer Love Hewitt in the TV film “In The Game.” She also portrayed Fern on several episodes of the CBS sitcom “The Class,” a role she had from 2006 to 2007, Kelly in an episode of “Private Practice” called “In Which Sam Gets Taken for a Ride” (2007) and Caitlyn Ryan in an “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” episode titled “Trial” (2008). She began her recurring role of Leslie Winkle in the CBS series “The Big Bang Theory” in 2007 (2007-2010). Gilbert also portrayed Kim Allen in the “Grey's Anatomy” episode “Suicide Is Painless,” which aired on March 25, 2010. On June 22, 2010, she reprised her role of Malia Price for the TNT drama series “Hawthorne.” It was her third appearance on the show.
The Santa Monica native has been credited as a writer/publicist for the documentary show “Dogs with Jobs,” a duty she performed during 2001 to 2004.
TV Land: Innovator Award, “Roseanne,” 2008
Young Artist: Outstanding Young Comedienne in a Television Series, “Roseanne,” 1993
Young Artist: Outstanding Young Comedienne in a Television Series, “Roseanne,” 1992
Young Artist: Best Young Actress in a Cable Special, “Sudie and Simpson,” 1991
Young Artist: Outstanding Young Comedienne in a Television Series, “Roseanne,” 1991