Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: City of Edmonton News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Roseanne, The Big Bang Theory, The Talk
Currently Known For:
1980s - Present
January 29, 1975
Roseanne, The Big Bang Theory, The Talk
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“I think I’ve got a lot of tenacity. If people tell me I can’t do something, I just keep trying for years. I don’t think I’m naturally successful. I just don’t give up and don’t quit until something happens.” Sara Rebecca Abeles came into this world on January 29, 1975, in Santa Monica, California as the youngest of four children. She was raised in a Jewish household and was introduced to show business at a young age thanks to her grandfather, Harry Crane, creator of The Honeymooners. Because of this and her older siblings venturing into acting, Gilbert didn’t have any trouble getting her start as an actress and launched her career with a handful of television commercials before she was cast in the 1984 television film, Calamity Jane.
After a brief appearance as Stephie on ABC Weekend Special in 1988, Gilbert caught the biggest break of her career when she was cast as Darlene Conner on ABC’s new family sitcom, Roseanne. Only 13 years old at the time, Gilbert gave an outstanding performance alongside Roseanne Barr and John Goodman on what is now recognized as one of the greatest television series of all time. Gilbert’s talents didn’t go unnoticed throughout the show’s nine-year run from 1988 to 1997 as she earned two Young Artist Awards for Outstanding Young Comedienne and a TV Land Innovator Award. She was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress, a TV Land Award for Character Most Desperately in Need of a Timeout, and a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Supporting Role.
Apart from making her a household name in the industry, Roseanne also introduced Barr to life behind the camera as she stepped in as executive producer. Coincidentally, she also started dating her on-screen boyfriend, Johnny Galecki, who would play a major role later in her personal life and career! After the series wrapped in 1997, however, Gilbert struggled professionally as she finished up her degree at Yale University and graduated with honors. “I just felt like a free-floating orb. That was a hard time,” she admitted. “Finding my feet again, because I’d been in all these institutions—the institution of family, the institution of education, the institution of Roseanne. Suddenly, I had no affiliations anymore.”
Despite free-floating in her career, Gilbert landed on her feet and appeared in films like Walkin’ on Sunshine: The Movie (1997), $30 (1998), Desert Blue (1999), Light It Up (1999), The Big Tease (2000), High Fidelity (2000), Boys Life 3 (2000), Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), and Laws of Attraction (2004). On television, she stayed busy with a starring role in Welcome to New York (2000). Over the next few years, she made guest appearances or had recurring roles on hit series like 24 (2002), Will & Grace (2003), Strong Medicine (2004), ER (2004-2007), Twins (2005-2006), The Class (2006-2007), and Private Practice (2007).
Fortunately, things drastically improved for Gilbert in 2007 when she joined Galecki in The Big Bang Theory. The experience was unforgettable for Gilbert who spent three seasons on the show and made guest appearances on Grey’s Anatomy (2010) and HawthoRNE (2010) before she ventured to daytime television as the creator and executive producer of The Talk (2010-Present). When she launched The Talk, she turned heads when she publicly came out as a lesbian alongside co-hosts Eve, Sharon Osbourn, Sheryl Underwood, and Carrie Ann Inaba.
“I think our relationships are genuine with each other and with the audience,” Gilbert says of the show and her cohosts and friends. “And that’s probably nice for people to watch in the middle of their day… People always say, ‘Do you guys really get along?’ And we just think it’s amazing that there’s this idea in our culture that women can’t get along. Who’s putting that idea out there? Is that just a tool to keep women down?”
Life and Work Today
With The Talk still on the air today, Gilbert refused to slow down and appeared as Irene Dudek in 13 episodes of Bad Teacher in 2014. She followed up with a cameo in Jane the Virgin (2018) and jumped at the chance to work with Galecki again on his new series, Living Biblically. “I knew how much she wanted to inhabit a character again,” Galecki said. “She was always on the list before there was a character list. And then I made her audition… So, I knew she would come at it, despite all of her years of experience, with a whole lot of commitment and a whole lot of excitement. And she did tenfold.”
Of course, Gilbert’s biggest surprise for fans came in 2018 when she reprised her role as Darlene Conner for the 2018 spinoff series, The Conners. As the mastermind behind the series and the executive producer, Gilbert didn’t hold anything back when she put the show together. “It was very important to me that they [the Conners] were still struggling. We did a lot of research and it showed that people who were in their income bracket then were actually often making less now, not even factoring in inflation,” she said. “I really wanted the house to feel a lot like it did before, too. I felt like there would be little changes in artwork and things like that, but this is a working-class family. I think sometimes people in Hollywood do working class through the lens of people who are privileged.”
Staying true to the original show, Gilbert couldn’t be happier with The Conners. “I think I didn’t feel done with, honestly,” she said of Roseanne. “I think for all these years I’ve thought about it, measured things against it. And I guess I just needed to go back. I just really needed to know what it would feel like to do it now.”
Apart from seeing her dreams come true with The Conners and The Talk, the 44-year-old Gilbert is also incredibly happily behind the scenes. During her relationship with Galecki, she realized she was a lesbian but kept her preference to herself until 2010 when she launched The Talk. By then, she embraced her lifestyle and has spent the last several years discussing her relationship with television producer Allison Adler (2001-Present) and their children—son Levi Hank, born to Adler in October 2004, and Sawyer Jane, born to Gilbert in August 2007.