“The nature of show business is people within the business feel that if someone else fails, they move up a notch.” Tom Arnold
Actor/comedian Tom Arnold first gained notice for his notorious marriage to fellow comedy talent Roseanne Barr. During his relationship and marriage with Roseanne, he was involved in a great deal of her work, most notably as a writer for her hit sitcom on ABC, "Roseanne" (1988-1997), where he also had a recurring role as Arnie Thomas, Dan's (played by John Goodman) friend and Nancy's (played by Sandra Bernhard) husband. He also created, executive-produced and starred in his own sitcom, "The Jackie Thomas Show" (1992-1993), which lasted for only 18 episodes on ABC.
After divorcing Roseanne, Arnold made a name in his own right thanks to the portrayal of Arnold Schwarzenegger's sidekick Albert “Gib” Gibson in the James Cameron's box office hit action/comedy "True Lies" (1994). He has since added to his resume roles in such films as "Nine Months" (1995), "McHale's Navy" (1997), "Exit Wounds" (2001), "Cradle 2 the Grave" (2003), "Soul Plane" (2004), "Happy Endings" (2005), "The Kid & I" (2005), "Pride" (2007), and "The Final Season" (2007). He will next be seen in the upcoming films "The Jerk Theory" and "The Skeptic."
On the small screen, Arnold played a recurring role as Billy 'Baggs' Boggs (1994) in the longest-running ABC Daytime soap opera "General Hospital." He returned to series TV as the star of The WB sitcom "The Tom Show" (1997-1998).
Besides his marriage to Roseanne (1990-1994), the 6' 1" performer who previously abused cocaine and alcohol, went through a rigorous cardiovascular training program in 2005 and lost nearly 70 pounds. He was also once married to actress Julie Champnella (1995-1999) and political consultant Shelby Roos (2002-2006). He reportedly dated actress Dana Marmur in spring 2000.
Childhood and Family:
In Ottumwa, Iowa, Thomas Duane Arnold was born on March 6, 1959, to Jack and Ruth Arnold (owns Kay Arnold Group). One of seven children, Tom has six siblings, Lori, Johnny, Scott, Chris, Marla and Mark. His parents split up when he was four years old and he was subsequently raised by his father. His grandmother, Dottie Arnold, died on October 27, 1995, of a heart attack.
Young Tom attended Ottumwa High School, in Ottumwa, Iowa, and Indian Hills Community College, in Ottumwa, Iowa, where he earned an Associate's degree in 1981. He then found a job at a meat factory but was later dismissed. After losing the job, he enrolled at the University of Iowa where he became interested in comedy. Tom obtained a Bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa.
Tom recalled, “If I hadn’t gotten fired from the meatpacking plant, I would still be working there.”
In 1983, Tom met actress/comedian Roseanne Barr (born November 3, 1952) when she saw his act. He became a writer for her popular sitcom that debuted in 1988 before eventually marrying her on January 20, 1990, after Roseanne divorced her first husband. Their union attracted media and tabloid attention because of their sometimes outrageous behavior. Some claimed that Tom may have married Roseanne just to further his career while others were stunned by their devotional tattoos (Tom had Roseanne's face put on his chest and Roseanne had Tom's name written on her bottom).
Tom, who had Jewish ancestors named Cohen on his maternal grandfather’s side, converted to Judaism upon marrying Roseanne. The couple bought a house together in Tom's hometown of Ottumwa and opened a restaurant called “Roseanne and Tom's Big Food Diner,” in nearby Eldon, Iowa. They appeared together in the 1993 movie “The Woman Who Loved Elvis” and appeared across the country on a 25-city Honeymoon Tour that same year. Tom and Roseanne divorced on December 9, 1994, and their restaurant closed in 1995. He is portrayed by David Graf in “Roseanne: An Unauthorized Biography” (1994; TV).
On July 22, 1995, Tom married his second wife, actress Julie Champnella. This marriage ended in divorce in 1999 and Tom reportedly began dating actress Dana Marmur (born on July 28, 1979) in 2000. The next year, he became romantically involved with Shelby Roos, a political consultant, and they tied the knot on June 29, 2002. Tom and Shelby divorced on August 28, 2006.
Tom, whose mother was an alcoholic, is a recovered cocaine and alcohol abuser and has been sober for years. He holds AA and NA meetings in his trailers on movie sets to stay centered. He was also Chris Farley's sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous and delivered the eulogy at his funeral service. Tom went through a rigorous cardiovascular training program in 2005 and lost nearly 70 pounds. The new thinner Arnold had his first romantic leading man role in the 2005 movie “Happy Endings.”
“People still question my sobriety, my commitment to the program, and that hurts. I take things day by day and sometimes I take them minute by minute, but I honor my commitment to stay sober. I hear the jokes and the allegations and just shrug them off. What else can I do? Give them a urine sample in their drink glass?” Tom Arnold
An avid Iowa Hawkeye fan and supporter of the University of Iowa, Tom participated in the Seattle Hockey Challenge in 2005 and coached one of the teams. He also served as the MC at the inauguration of Iowa Governor Chet Culver.
Performing stand-up at age 23 at open microphone nights at the University of Iowa, Tom Arnold, who met actress/comedian Roseanne Barr at age 24, made his TV debut in the HBO special "On Location: The Roseanne Barr Show" (1987), playing husband Tom. The following year, he was recruited as a writer for Barr's hit sitcom on ABC, "Roseanne" (1988-1997).
After winning first place in the Minneapolis Comedy Competition, Arnold pursued a stand-up comedy career in Los Angeles. In the early 1990s, after marrying Roseanne, he played a recurring character in her sitcom "Roseanne.” He also served as an executive producer for the Saturday morning animated TV series "Little Rosie," Roseanne Barr's first attempt at a cartoon.
Arnold made his first HBO special with "Tom Arnold: The Naked Truth" (1991) and made his feature film debut in a cameo (with Roseanne) in the Rachel Talalay-directed slasher film "Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare" (1991; starring Robert Englund). That same year, he also appeared with Roseanne in his first TV-movie, the comedy "Backfield in Motion."
In 1992, Arnold co-founded Wapello County Productions with Roseanne and co-created and executive-produced the animated pilot "Rosey and Buddy Show." He also created, executive-produced and starred in his own sitcom, "The Jackie Thomas Show." Airing after “Roseanne” on ABC, the show lasted 18 episodes.
During this time, Arnold appeared in director Stephen Frears' comedic drama "Hero" (1992; starring Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis and Andy Garcia). He then signed a long-term TV production contract with Warner Bros., with projects to be produced under the Wappello County Productions banner. Arnold received a Vanguard Award at the GLAAD Media Awards in 1993, which he shared with Roseanne.
In 1994, the year he divorced Roseanne, Arnold received rave reviews for playing the supporting role of Arnold Schwarzenegger's sidekick in the box office hit "True Lies," James Cameron's remake of the 1991 French film "La Totale!" Arnold's performance in the film would earn him an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.
Arnold next created, executive-produced and wrote the premiere episode of "Tom," a short-lived CBS family sitcom. He also started a new TV production company called Clean Break Productions. In 1994, he played the recurring role of Billy 'Baggs' Boggs in the longest-running ABC Daytime soap opera, "General Hospital," and co-starred as Marty Dwyer in Chris Columbus' romantic comedy film starring Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore, "Nine Months," in 1995.
1997 saw Arnold take home three Worst Actor Awards from the Razzies for his turn as the title character in Steve Miner's comedy “Big Bully,” the desperate carnival owner in Arthur Hiller's comedy "Carpool," and as the patriarch in John Landis' comedy/adventure film based on characters from a series of books written by Harry Allard, "The Stupids."
Meanwhile, he co-produced and starred as retired Lieutenant Commander, who spends his days puttering around the Caribbean in an old PT-73 selling home brew, ice cream, and swimsuit calendars, in the film version of the popular sitcom, "McHale's Navy" (1997). He also executive-produced and starred in the WB show "The Tom Show" (1997-1998) and co-produced the book-based TV movie "Floating Away" (1998). He then appeared in a TV commercial for Web TV and Sprint (with Rob Schneider).
In 2001, Arnold became one of the hosts of Fox Sports' show "Best Damn Sports Show Period" and had a featured role as Henry Wayne in Andrzej Bartkowiak's action movie based on the book by John Westermann, "Exit Wounds." After providing his voice for an Arby's TV commercial in 2003, he went on to play the lead role in "Soul Plane" (2004).
Arnold lost nearly 70 pounds in 2005 and showed off his new figure in the 2005 movie “Happy Endings,” in which he played his first romantic role as Frank McKee, the playboy and widower father of a gay son (played by Jason Ritter) who becomes infatuated with Maggie Gyllenhaal's character. Arnold's performance in the film presented him with a Satellite Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical.
That same year, he produced, wrote and starred as a down-and-out actor in Penelope Spheeris' comedy "The Kid & I," in which former “True Lies” (1994) co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger made his first movie appearance since becoming governor of California.
Recently, Arnold executive-produced and starred in Brandon Beckner's comedy movie "Remarkable Power" (2007), was cast opposite Terrence Howard in the inner-city sports drama "Pride" (2007), and starred as Morgan, a bus driver, in the independent film "Palo Alto" (2007). He also supported Sean Astin in David Mickey Evans' baseball film "The Final Season" (2007), co-starred with Jason Ritter in Marianna Palka's "Good Dick" (2008) and played Jimmy Fallon's estranged father who suffers a stroke (Sharon Stone played his wife), in Patrick Sisam's dramatic comedy film "The Year of Getting to Know Us" (2008).
Arnold is currently working on his upcoming film projects, "The Jerk Theory," a comedy by Scott S. Anderson starring Josh Henderson and Jenna Dewan, and "The Skeptic," a thriller by writer/director Tennyson Bardwell starring Tim Daly.
Razzie: Worst Actor, “Big Bully,” 1997
Razzie: Worst Actor, “Carpool,” 1997
Razzie: Worst Actor, “The Stupids,” 1997
GLAAD Media: Vanguard Award, 1993