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Iowa History Daily: March 6 - Tom Arnold

Iowa History Daily: On March 6, 1959, actor Tom Arnold was born in Ottumwa. Best known for his role as Arnie Thomas on the hit television program “Rosanne” from 1989 to 1993, Arnold’s career also features numerous other television and film roles.

Arnold’s childhood proved difficult in Wapello County. Born to two very young parents who struggled with individual problems, the Arnold children struggled. An alumni of Ottumwa High School, Tom worked his way through Indian Hills Community College and the University of Iowa by working in a meatpacking plant.

After writing a prop-based comedy show called “Tom Arnold and the Goldfish Review,” Arnold arrived on the set of the hit comedy show “Rosanne” as a writer. He married Rosanne Barr in 1990. The couple at one time moved to Eldon, Iowa, and opened “Roseanne and Tom’s Big Food Diner.” Featuring a menu patterned after the show’s “Lanford Lunch Box” (which itself originated from Ottumwa’s Canteen Lunch in the Alley), the restaurant welcomed customers until 1995.

Both Tom Arnold and Rosanne Barr appeared in the film “The Woman Who Loved Elvis,” which crews filmed in Ottumwa. The couple divorced in 1994. Arnold’s career continued and included roles ranging from movies and television. He served as the host of “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” for four years and also appeared in “Sons of Anarchy.” #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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