John Goodman is one of the most recognizable character actors in Hollywood. He’s been a mainstay on television in roles on shows such as Roseanne and The Conners along with movies like The Big Lebowski. He doesn’t look like your typical actor, something he’s turned into one of his strengths. But he didn’t seem destined for fortune and fame when he first tried his hand at acting in the mid-1970s.
John Goodman opened up about the timeline of his career for a video with Vanity Fair. Goodman always knew he wanted to be an actor, but he didn’t get serious about it until he was at Missouri State University. Kathleen Turner and Tess Harper were also in the same drama program as him.
After graduation, Goodman said had to make a difficult decision. He could move to New York with nothing or stay in Missouri and find a job back home.
“In 1975, I decided to take a shot at it and go to New York. I said, well, you know what? The worst that can happen is I can die,” he said,” but the second worst thing is I’ll just come home in a year with my tail between my legs. But I will have tried it. I had to go because I knew if I didn’t try to be an actor, I would hate myself for the rest of my life.
“And I wound up with both of them,” he says with a laugh.
It wasn’t easy at first. He struggled to make ends meet working dinner theaters and regional productions. In 1982, he got his break while working off-Broadway. He and several members of a play he was in, including Dann Florek of Law & Order fame, landed roles in Eddie Macon’s Run, a movie produced by John Schneider of Dukes of Hazzard.
John Goodman Sent to the Hospital After Stunt Gone Wrong
The 69-year-old John Goodman explained to Jimmy Fallon recently about a time he “got his bell rung” when a stunt went wrong on his HBO series The Righteous Gemstones.
The Conners star was filming a fight scene for the second episode this season when something went very wrong.
“We were quite a few takes in with the fight, and it was maybe 1:30-2:00 in the morning. I’m 69 years old. So, I lost my footing,” Goodman told Newsweek. “The choreography was safe, everything was safe, but I lost my footing and slammed headfirst into the rear of a truck and got, as they say, my bell rung. … We had it all anyway. So, to be safe I went to a hospital and got a concussion protocol to follow and some pictures taken of my head to make sure it was OK.”
John Goodman explained to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show that he forgot his age when he signed up for the stunt. He said he hasn’t had any lingering effects from the fall, but he’ll never forget the sound it made.
“It was the loudest thing I’ve ever heard,” he told Fallon.