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MY SISTER ROSEANNE by Geraldine Barr


The True Story of Roseanne Barr Arnold

by Geraldine Barr with Ted Schwarz

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 1-55972-230-4
Publisher: Birch Lane Press

Standard entertainment news, with a sad story and some interesting Barr background, from a sibling with an ax to grind. Roseanne's wounded younger sister Geraldine tells her side of the story, from their childhood in Salt Lake City through their 1990 break-up, with Schwarz (co-author of The Peter Lawford Story, not reviewed, etc.) as literary enabler. ``We'' is a very important pronoun in this book. Roseanne and Geraldine dreamed of becoming the Jewish sisters who took Hollywood. In the early 1980s, empowered by sisterhood and ``Sisterhood,'' Geraldine mapped out a ten-year plan to launch Roseanne to stardom as America's Domestic Goddess. Roseanne was the performer in their sister act; Geraldine ``delighted in being backstage...making the spotlight possible for my big sister while never challenging her right to be the sole occupier of its glow.'' They wanted their own sitcom, starring Roseanne as a blue-collar working woman, and including a sister Jackie, a lesbian modeled after Geraldine. The plan was to use humor to advance their feminist agenda and to start a production company that would bankroll other women. But only one of the two overweight sisters was destined to see the Promised Land. In 1990, wildly successful and just beginning her relationship with Tom Arnold, Roseanne fired Geraldine. Soon after, she accused her parents of incest and child molestation. Geraldine, who sued unsuccessfully for some share in Roseanne's take, defends her parents. There were problems at home, she says; their father was sometimes inappropriately angry. But he was, if anything, the source of Roseanne's talent, an ``influence on her delivery and stage presence.'' With the whole story out of her system, Geraldine forgives ``Rosey'': ``May you one day also come to know such peace despite currently being in the midst of a hell of your own creation.'' A Geraldo show waiting to happen, with the laughs courtesy of Roseanne.