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Ottumwa, Iowa
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Ottumwa, Iowa

Tom Arnold is a well-known and talented actor-comedian who has had a rocky Hollywood career. Arnold found his vocation in stand-up comedy after working as a meat packer, box stacker, bartender, and bouncer throughout his teens. His self-assurance and desire led him to Minneapolis and then to Hollywood. After meeting the already-famous comedienne Roseanne Barr, his life took an unexpected turn, which was followed by a successful professional and personal partnership. Arnold married Roseanne and went on to write and produce the hit television sitcom “Roseanne.” But his happiness was short-lived, as both his marriage and the enterprise came to an end. Arnold persevered after reaching a low moment in his life and proved all his critics wrong by landing a role in James Cameron’s film ‘True Lies.’ The picture relaunched his stuttering career, earning him additional minor roles in subsequent films. He used his comedic timing to host ‘The Best Damn Sports Broadcast Period,’ a spoof of the sports show ‘SportsCenter.’ Arnold broadened his acting career in the following years by playing serious characters, and his drama ‘Happy Endings’ received critical acclaim. Arnold is one of the rare performers who can claim to have risen from the dead and persevered as his adventurous career progresses.

Childhood and Adolescence

Tom Arnold was born in the working-class village of Ottumwa, Iowa, parents Linda Kay and Jack Arnold. His parents split when he was four years old, and his father remarried. Tom is one of six siblings. He attended Ottumwa High School and worked for a few years at a local Hormel meatpacking facility before being fired. He studied business administration and writing at Indian Hills Community College and the University of Iowa. Arnold tried stand-up comedy at the university’s student union.

Career of Tom Arnold

Arnold relocated to Minneapolis in the early 1980s and began performing his act, “Tom Arnold and the Fabulous Goldfish Revue,” at local comedy clubs. He met emerging comedienne Roseanne Barr around this period, and the two became mutual fans and friends.

Arnold and Barr traveled together for the following few years. Arnold won the ‘Minneapolis Comedy Competition’ in 1988, and went on to star in the HBO special ‘The Roseanne Barr Show.’ Barr persuaded Arnold to go to Los Angeles in 1988 to write for the sitcom “Roseanne,” in which Barr starred.

Barr divorced her husband Bill Pentland, who was also the show’s producer, in 1990. This event was significant for Arnold both professionally and emotionally, as he married Barr the following year and became the executive producer of the program. He also had a recurring part on ‘Roseanne,’ which he wrote himself.

Between 1990 and 1994, the couple’s unusual actions drew a lot of media attention. These included acquiring strange tattoos, participating in a photo shoot that had them mud wrestling on a beach in Malibu, appearing on the cover of ‘Spy’ magazine in gorilla costumes, and even declaring a three-way marriage with their secretary ‘Kim Silva.’ While ‘Roseanne’ was still on the air, Arnold appeared in two more sitcoms, ‘The Jackie Thomas Show’ and ‘Tom.’ Both of them received negative feedback and had to be canceled soon after.

Arnold was sacked from the program ‘Roseanne’ after the couple’s marriage ended in a brutal divorce in 1994. In the same year, he received a much-needed career boost when he portrayed a covert spy in James Cameron’s film ‘True Lies,’ which also starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. His performance was well welcomed by reviewers and spectators alike.

He had a mixed bag of luck with his films from 1994 to 1997, largely in supporting roles. His films ‘Nine Months’ and ‘Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery’ were box office successes, whereas ‘The Stupids,’ ‘Big Bully,’ and his own production ‘McHale’s Navy’ were critical and commercial failures.

Arnold returned to television in 1997 with his own series, ‘The Tom Show.’ The program, however, was a failure and was discontinued after only one season.  Arnold was picked by ‘Fox Sports’ to co-host the comedy-sports show ‘The Best Damn Sports Show Period’ in 2001. Arnold hosted the show for four years and it was a commercial success.
In 2003, he appeared as a supporting character in Jet Li’s action film “Cradle 2 the Grave.” The film was a box office hit, grossing more than 56 million dollars worldwide on a $25 million budget.

He was among the ensemble cast of the comedy ‘Soul Plane’ in 2004. Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg were among the cast members. Elvis Hunkee, the leader of a dysfunctional family, was played by Arnold.
In 2005, he landed his first starring part in a romance film with ‘Happy Endings.’ In the same year, he created and starred in the comedy “The Kid & I.”  He appeared in films such as ‘The Great Buck Howard,’ ‘Restitution,’ ‘One Day,’ and ‘Hit and Run’ from 2007 to 2012.

Arnold was chosen to anchor the CMT TV show ‘My Big Redneck Wedding,’ which captures weddings with unusual customs, in 2008. The program is still on the air and is in its third season.  He’s also done voice-overs for films including ‘Dennis the Menace in Cruise Control,’ ‘Legend of Kung Fu Rabbit,’ and ‘Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure.’

Major Projects of Tom Arnold

Tom Arnold was a writer for the very successful and long-running comedy series ‘Roseanne,’ which was the most viewed television show in the United States from 1989 to 1990. Arnold also appeared as an actor in the show’s later seasons.

Arnold was cast opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in James Cameron’s magnum opus ‘True Lies,’ which was also the most costly film ever made at the time, in 1994, when his career seemed to have stopped. Arnold’s performance in the film was praised and adored. He was one of the hosts of the sports-based comedy ‘The Best Damn Sports Show Period’ from 2001 to 2004 and was a regular for four years. He continues to feature in the show’s succeeding seasons as well.

Achievements and Awards

Arnold earned a ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy’ in 1993 as the creator and producer of the TV program ‘Roseanne.’ He also earned a Peabody Award for the same broadcast, which honors public service by any media or people.

Personal History and Legacy

He married the well-known comedienne ‘Roseanne Barr’ in 1990, and their four-year marriage was well publicized.
He married hairdresser Julie Champnella in 1995 and shared a beautiful Mediterranean-style mansion with her in ‘Beverly Hills.’ Due to personal issues, the couple split after four years.

He married Shelby Roos, a political consultant, in 2002. Before being divorced, they were married for six years. Tom had to pay $15,000 a month in spousal support for 25 months, but he still owned their property in Tarzana, California.

Arnold plays a paedophile in the 2008 film ‘Gardens of the Night,’ a role that prompted him to expose his own childhood sexual abuse by an older man. He married Ashley Groussman, a home organizer, in a wedding in Maui, Hawaii, in 2009. Dax Shepard, an actor and comedian, was the best man. Jax Copeland Arnold was born to the couple four years later.

He has worked with several charities like ‘The Race to Erase MS,’ ‘Best Buddies,’ ‘The Kayne Eras Center,’ ‘Promises Foundation,’ ‘Carousel of Hope,’ ‘The Hollenbeck Christmas Giveaway,’ the ‘Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society,’ ‘Special Olympics,’ the USO, GLAAD,’ and others.

Estimated Net Worth

Tom Arnold is a $20 million actor and comedian from the United States. He rose to recognition as a stand-up comedian before landing the role of Arnie Thomas on the hit ABC comedy “Roseanne.” He also appeared in the sitcoms “The Jackie Thomas Show” and “The Tom Show,” both of which were short-lived. Arnold has acted in a number of films, including “True Lies,” “Happy Endings,” “The Final Season,” and “Madea’s Witness Protection.”


Just before his marriage to his half-Jewish celebrity wife, this famous American actor converted to Judaism and had a tattoo of her face on his breast.

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