|Thomas Dwaine "Tom"
Arnold (born March 6, 1959) is an American actor and comedian.
Arnold was born in Ottumwa, IA, the son of Linda Kay Graham (née
Collier) and Jack Arnold. He has six siblings, Lori, Johnny,
Scott, Chris, Marla and Mark. Arnold attended Ottumwa High School and
began doing stand-up comedy when he was 23. He met comedienne Roseanne
Barr when she saw his act in 1983. Arnold, who had Jewish ancestors
named Cohen on
his maternal grandfather’s side, converted to Judaism
upon marrying Barr.
Arnold was a stand-up comic who, after a failed attempt at becoming a
taxidermist, became a writer for the popular television sitcom
Roseanne (which debuted in 1988). He married the show’s star, Roseanne
Barr, in 1990, after she divorced her first husband. He appeared
occasionally on the show as the character “Arnie Thomas” (a spoof of
his name). The couple’s marriage attracted media and especially
tabloid attention due to their sometimes outrageous behavior. In 1992,
Arnold starred in his own sitcom, The Jackie Thomas Show. Airing after
Roseanne on ABC, the show lasted 18 episodes.
In 1993, Arnold and Barr bought a house together in Arnold’s hometown
of Ottumwa and opened a restaurant, Roseanne and Tom's Big Food Diner,
in nearby Eldon, Iowa. Both appeared in the 1993 movie The Woman Who
Loved Elvis, which was filmed in Ottumwa. Arnold and Barr divorced in
1994, and their restaurant closed in 1995. In a late-1990s interview
on radio's Howard Stern Show, Arnold admitted that his share of his
and Barr’s estate amounted to “over $20,000,000,” including a
percentage of the Roseanne ABC-TV series, but would not elaborate
further, citing a confidentiality clause.