Sara Gilbert

A notable actress, writer and director, Sara Gilbert made a name for herself as a unique female voice from the time she first appeared as Roseanne Barr and John Goodman's spunky, opinionated onscreen daughter on the boundary-pushing sitcom, "Roseanne" (ABC, 1988-1997; 2018). Her "regular girl" looks and independent spirit lent an authenticity to a string of early roles as teenage misfits and outsiders, winning loyalty among real-life counterparts who rarely found anyone they could relate to on the big and small screens. Sara Gilbert was born Sara Abeles on Jan. 29, 1975, in Santa Monica, CA. She, her older sister Melissa and her brother Jonathon, made up the third generation of a show business family. Grandfather Harry Crane was a writer and creator of "The Honeymooners" (CBS, 1955-56), and grandmother Julia Crane was a noted dancer who had been named "Miss Brooklyn," while Gilbert's own mother, Barbara Crane, had been a Hollywood producer and talent manager. The youngster would later claim that she decided to go into acting after seeing the amount of presents that her siblings received as stars of "Little House on the Prairie" (NBC, 1974-1983). At the age of six, she began making TV appearances - first in a Kool-Aid commercial, followed by a role in the made-for-TV movie, "Calamity Jane" (1984). She continued to attend a regular school and lead a relatively normal life during that time, which she credited with helping her avoid the fate of other child actors.Indeed, Gilbert was refreshingly real - as well as darkly sarcastic with a natural gift for comic timing - when she debuted in the role of Darlene Connor on "Roseanne." For nine years, audiences watched the middle sister of this working-class, Midwestern family evolve from a basketball-playing tomboy to a budding writer with artistic, political and sometimes depressive tendencies. Her relationship with her mother (Roseanne) was forever a source of conflict as this domineering, razor-witted daughter mirrored her mom more than any of the other siblings. The similarities became more obvious when Darlene met David, a sensitive, accommodating artist who almost always caved in to Darlene's will in both their relationship and the graphic novels the pair wrote and illustrated jointly.In real life, Gilbert was exploring other creative talents and wrote a "Roseanne" episode entitled "Don't Make Me Over," which aired during season four. In 1993, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Despite her level of fame at that time, Gilbert stayed true to herself by becoming a vocal animal activist and vegetarian. In the middle of the series production, she announced that she had been accepted at Yale University, the alma mater of her idol, Jodie Foster. Show producers juggled storylines and taping schedules to accommodate Gilbert's education, shooting remote segments of Darlene at a soundstage in New York. They were not as open to her suggestion that Darlene, in a reflection of Gilbert's real life experiences, come out as gay. The actress graduated from Yale with honors in 1997, earning a BA in art with an emphasis in photography. That same year marked the series finale of "Roseanne," which had fallen in the ratings after taking a bizarre twist into the surreal.On the big screen, Gilbert co-starred with Drew Barrymore in both the notorious film, "Poison Ivy" (1992) and in "Riding in Cars With Boys" (2001). She also landed roles in other feature films such as "Light it Up" (1999), "The Big Tease" (1999) and "High Fidelity." Amidst her busy schedule, she found time to direct the short film "Persona Non Grata" which screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998, and continued working in TV, with guest appearances on "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ) "Will & Grace" (NBC, 1998-2006) and "Strong Medicine" (Lifetime, 2000-06). She also enjoyed regular recurring roles on "24" (FX, 2002-2010), "The Class" (CBS, 2006-07) and "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009). On a personal note, in 2004, Gilbert's life partner, television writer/producer Allison Adler, gave birth to a son, and the two set up house in the Hollywood Hills. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Gilbert kept her personal life out of the spotlight, emerging only to voice support for causes such as the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, AIDS Project L.A., PETA and various animal rights organizations. She did, however, formally come out as a gay woman in July 2010, during the Television Critics Association press conference for her new show, "The Talk" (CBS, 2010- ). Shortly after Adler and Gilbert split in 2011, Gilbert began dating hit songwriter Linda Perry, former leader of '90s alt-rockers Four Non-Blondes. The couple married on March 30, 2014. In 2017 on an episode of "The Talk," Gilbert convinced her TV father John Goodman to reprise the character of Dan Conner for a sketch. This led to a revival of "Roseanne" with Gilbert as executive producer. The series was meant to serve as a coming together for a politically-divided America, but although it debuted to strong ratings, Roseanne Barr's offscreen politics led to the show's ending shortly after the first return season when her offensive tweets led ABC to fire her from the show. In the fall of 2018, a new series called "The Conners" (ABC 2018- ) premiered, with Roseanne Conner having died of an opioid overdose between the seasons.