10 Things You Didn’t Know About John Goodman


Everything John Goodman does, he does well. The endearing actor has gained a very loyal and passionate fanbase over his notable career for many reasons, but most of all because he is one of those actors that it is just very hard not to like. From Dan Conner on Roseanne to his recent role in Kong: Skull Island, there is nothing that John Goodman can’t do, and no matter what role he takes on, fans love it, and despite his many years as one of Hollywood’s finest actors, he has remained rather elusive to fans. So, here are 10 things you didn’t know about John Goodman.

10. Off To War?

In the early ’70s, after turning 18, like so many young Americans, Goodman was drafted into the army for the Vietnam War, but somehow Goodman got out of it. “I want to take my physical. But they measured me two inches shorter than I am. They measured me at six foot instead of six foot two. I was eleven pounds overweight for that height. They told me to lose weight and come back, but by the time I was scheduled to come back, the draft was abolished,” he explained in a 2008 interview.

Everett Collection

9. Charity Work

While John Goodman might be a Hollywood star, his heart lies in New Orleans where he has resided for years with his family and where he has stepped up to be one of the most charitable citizens. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the actor stepped in to help wherever he could and used his fame to appear in many recovery commercials in Louisiana. He also used his fame, alongside many fellow celebrities with ties to the area to bring awareness to the tragic Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Photo by MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock

8. Early Life

John Stephen Goodman was born on June 20, 1952 in Affton, Missouri, to Leslie Francis and Virginia Roos Goodman. When John was only two years old, his father who was a postal worker, passed away from a heart attack. Growing up with his siblings Elisabeth and Leslie, John’s mother worked as a waitress, a retail associate, and washed laundry in order to support the family. While in high school, Goodman focused on football and, after graduation he earned a scholarship to Missouri State University, but it was while there he discovered the drama program.

Source: Reddit

7. Being A Celebrity

Thanks to many of his on-screen personalities, John Goodman is known as a jovial and always laughing kind of guy, but that isn’t always the case. When it comes to being famous, Goodman has never been a fan, once stating, “Celebrity is a dirty word. People are conditioned to hate you if you’re famous or in show business. It’s that love-hate thing. They can’t wait for you to fail or get pulled over with a hooker or a stripper or a teenage boy with a lot of blow in the car.” Not to mention, his 2012 interview with The Guardian was anything but what the journalist expected. Of his interview with Goodman, Xan Brooks wrote, “From time to time, he emits a long, breathy groan, as though invisible doctors are subjecting him to some invasive medical procedure. I don’t know whether he’s exhausted or sick; whether he hates interviews or this particular interviewer. On balance, with the benefit of hindsight, I decide it’s all four of these things with the gas turned up.” After the interview went so poorly, the Brooks said he was “a little bruised” and so confused by Goodman’s mood that he even emailed Roseanne Barr asking her what their relationship was like on the set of Roseanne and what Goodman is like off-screen. Despite his interview experience with Goodman, Barr replied, “John is the funniest and deepest actor in the world. He has only gotten more open, more sweet, more expansive and giving, on-screen and off, if that were possible, since the Roseanne show.”

Photo by Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock

6. Getting Started

Although he became interested in drama in University, it wasn’t until after he suffered a career-ending injury in football that he actually took acting seriously as a career. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1975, Goodman left Missouri to go to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. Thanks to a loan from his brother Leslie, Goodman was able to secure an apartment near the Theater District and began working as a bouncer, bartender, and waiter to make ends meet while he tried to get roles. After working on stage, he began landing TV and film appearances as well as commercials, and while starring in a stage production of Antony and Cleopatra in 1987, an ABC talent scout recruited the lovable actor for an upcoming sitcom — Roseanne.

(c)Carsey-Werner Company

5. Getting Sober

Despite his happy, and strong characters that audiences saw, off-screen Goodman endured many personal struggles, and one of his biggest was with alcohol. In 2007 the actor checked himself into rehab after he felt things had finally gone too far with his drinking. “It was 30 years of a disease that was taking its toll on everyone around me and it had got to the point where, every time I did it, it was becoming more and more debilitating. It was life or death. It was time to stop,” he told The Guardian in a 2012 interview while adding that the alcohol was affecting his work as well as his temperament, memory and depression. Following the completion of his stint in rehab, the actor simply stated, “For my family and myself, I voluntarily took the necessary steps to remain sober the rest of my life.”

Photo by Mike Webster/REX Shutterstock

4. Health Improvements

As well as getting sober in 2007, Goodman has taken many other steps over the years to improve his health. In 2003, the actor quit smoking and described it as one of the hardest times of his life. “I quit smoking a year and a half ago and I turned into a werewolf. I went nuts. I’ve been smoking since I was in junior high school. I did a couple of episodes of The West Wing two years ago and I was in the middle of one of these psycho things and turned around and smacked the stage door as hard as I could and my fist immediately swelled up. Thank God I didn’t break anything, but that was the last episode I had of nicotine withdrawal.” Of course, more recently, fans have noticed a major physical transformation in the actor after he shed over 100 pounds, going from 300 pounds to 400 pounds in 2010, and has continued his weight loss and healthy living since. Goodman revealed he took to journaling his diet, exercising, hired health coach Mackie Shilstone, and cut sugar from his diet while working out six days a week. “I know it sounds sappy, but it was a waste. It takes a lot of creative energy to sit on your a– and figure out what you’re going to eat next… I want to live a better life,” Goodman said of his transformation.

Photo by MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock

3. Personal Life

John Goodman may be a well-known actor but he has never prescribed to the celebrity lifestyle, meaning he is often not in the headlines and he doesn’t publicize his personal life. The actor first met his wife Annabeth Hartzog in New Orleans while filming 1988’s Everbody’s All-American. The pair then married in October of 1989 and welcomed their only child, daughter Molly Evangeline, on August 31, 1990. Molly took an interest in the entertainment industry and now works as a production assistant on films.

Photo by MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock

2. Net Worth

After getting his start in plays, John Goodman’s first on-screen appearance came in a Burger King commercial, and he has seen nothing but success since! For more than three decades, Goodman has been in every genre through TV and film with some of his biggest and most popular roles coming with Roseanne, The Big Lebowski, The Flintstones, Coyote Ugly, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and more, not to mention his extensive voice work in animated hits such as The Emperor’s New Groove, Monsters Inc., Cars, The Princess and the Frog and Transformers. Most recently, Goodman has starred in Kong: Skull Island and Atomic Blonde, and is confirmed to have a part in the Roseanne revival series despite his character’s death in the show. Through it all, he has amassed an estimated net worth of $65 million.


1. Favorite Roles

Since officially beginning his on-screen career in 1983’s The Face of Rage, John Goodman has created a resume with over 150 acting credits to his name which is absolutely astounding. Of course, like all actors he has had many roles he is proud of while there are others he doesn’t look back on as fondly. During an appearance on ‘Inside the Actors Studio’ he revealed that his favorite movie out of them all that he has worked on was The Big Lebowski, but his favorite role was as Charlie Meadows in Barton Fink. Unfortunately for Coyote Ugly fans he simply said the only reason he took the part was “For the money. Honest to God, that’s the only reason I did it.”

Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.
Telisa Carter

Telisa Carter

Telisa enjoys learning and writing about all things entertainment in the world of Hollywood. When she isn't catching up on her favorite TV shows, she likes to read, and obsess over all things football.