Childhood & Early Life
Goranson was born on June 22, 1974, in Evanston, Illinois, USA. Her father, Stephen Goranson, worked for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) while her mother, Linda Goranson, taught English at Evanston Township High School.
She has an older brother, Adam Scott Goranson. She was interested in acting from an early age and her comfortable home and surroundings in Chicago, Illinois, provided the right environment. She enrolled in acting classes at the Piven theatre, studied for 5 years with varying degrees of interest and auditioned for the role that would come to define her career.
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Her career took a quantum leap when she auditioned and successfully landed the role of Rebecca “Becky” Connor Healy, the on-screen daughter of comedienne Roseanne Arnold in the sitcom “Roseanne.” The show, which premiered in 1988, was a comedic take on the day-to-day struggles of an American working class family regarding money, children, and relationships.
The role required her family to move from Illinois to California. Audiences quickly fell in love with Becky’s character; a bookish, overachieving, and short-tempered teen often at odds with her tomboyish sister, Darlene. The show also did an excellent job of portraying the mother-daughter bonding between a stubborn Becky and her mother, Roseanne, and the somewhat distant yet loving relationship between a ‘girly-girl,’ yet-feminist Becky and her father, Dan.
Her ability to successfully get inside the skin of her complex, layered character at such a young age brought her critical acclaim in addition to popularity and award nominations in 1989 and 1990.
The third season of the show, in which Becky meets her biker boyfriend, Mark Healy, who her parents don’t think highly of, was also well-received by audiences. Mark, played by Glenn Quinn, is Becky’s fourth relationship after “Chip,” brief fling Johnny Swanko, and school linebacker Jimmy Meltrigger.
Season 4 focused on Becky’s estrangement and reunion with Mark also went down well with the audience. In the fifth Season of the show, she moves with Mark to Minneapolis, and gets married before the legal age, which sparks tension with her dad, Dan, followed by reconciliation. This season of the show also kept the audience hooked to their small screens.
Both fans and industry-watchers were surprised at the end of Season 4 as Goranson announced that she would not be completing all the episodes of Season 5. The reason for her leaving the show was her desire to pursue a college degree in English with concentration in poetry. Although the show’s producers tried to negotiate better pay terms and promised flexibility, she refused saying that a full course load at Vassar College would not allow her to play a fulltime character.
The producers initially rewrote the script to allow her to appear occasionally on the show when her schedule allowed for it. However, they later had her elope with boyfriend Mark Healy when her college timetable prevented any appearance. Replacement actress Sarah Chalke played Becky for the sixth and seventh seasons.
Goranson returned and starred in several episodes of the eighth season, but pulled out again due to scheduling conflicts to be replaced by Chalke, who finished the ninth and the final season.
She starred in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ in 1999, a movie about the travails of an American trans-man. The film did well at the box office and received critical acclaim. She also appeared in Broadway plays including an ‘Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein’ and ‘Good Things.’ She, however, never obtained a role as popular as Becky in a TV series again and played guest roles in ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit,’ ‘Sex and the City,’ and ‘Damages and Fringe.’
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Her other movies, including the short film genre were ‘Death 4 Told’ (2004), ‘Love-Ludlow’ (2005), ‘The Perfect Dress’ (2007), ‘The Extra Man’ (2010), and ‘Monster Slayer’ (2011).
Her most recent short film, ‘The Woodhouse’ (2013) dealt with complex undertones surrounding a girl’s witnessing of a monster in a London Park and her desire to know more.
Goranson has been successful in keeping her private life largely under wraps although she is known to have been in a relationship with film director Jason Weiss.
It is unclear whether she is married or in relationship. The actress currently lives in New York.
Her decision to forego money and fame at ‘Roseanne’ in favor of a college education earned her respect, as did her decision to take out summers to volunteer at the YMCA.