Michael Fishman is an American actor, best known for his performance as ‘D.J. Conner’ in the series ‘Roseanne’ and ‘The Conners.’ Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Michael began acting at a tender age. He was selected by TV producer Roseanne Barr, who came across him during an audition and found him funny enough to play the role of ‘D.J. Conner.’ He made his acting debut in 1988, playing ‘D.J. Conner’ in the series ‘Roseanne.’ He gained fame as a child actor and carried on with his acting roles during his teenage years, too. He took a long break after the early 2000s. He enrolled at the ‘Orange County School of the Arts.’ He also took professional training in acting to hone his skills. As a child actor, he did voice roles in series such as ‘Little Rosey’ and ‘Hey Arnold!’ In 1999, he also made an appearance as a co-host on the talk show ‘The Roseanne Show.’ He made his comeback in 2018, reprising his role as ‘D.J. Conner’ in the spin-off to ‘Roseanne,’ titled ‘The Conners.’ In addition, he has also appeared in a supporting role in the 2016 film titled ‘Undrafted.’
Childhood & Early Life
Michael Aaron Fishman was born on October 22, 1981, in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California, to Nelson and Darlene Fishman. He was the second of the three children in the family. He grew up with his older sister, Robyn Fishman, and his brother, Matthew Fishman. Both his siblings were child actors.
Michael grew up in an upper-middle-class family. His father worked as a jeweler, and his mother worked as a nurse and a community college professor. Michael grew up becoming hugely fascinated with the entertainment industry.
He had started acting when he was a child. While growing up in Los Angeles, he desired to become a professional actor and continued with his education keeping that in mind. He studied at the ‘Los Alamitos High School,’ from where he graduated high school. In addition, he also enrolled at the ‘Orange County School of the Arts,’ joining its ‘Musical Theater’ and ‘Technical Theater’ departments.
However, as he grew up, he became less interested in the prospect of becoming an actor and focused more on his career in baseball, a game he played well. He played independent baseball with many Japanese and Mexican teams.
When it came to building a career, he chose to go with baseball and became a baseball coach for high-school kids. He received many acting offers from time to time, but he chose to stay with baseball. However, he finally decided to make his comeback to acting in the mid-2010s.
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Initially, he did not plan to build a career in the entertainment industry. His older sister, Robyn, was trying to succeed as an actor, auditioning for roles in commercials. His curiosity led Michael to accompany his sister to her auditions.
He found the whole process intriguing and decided to try auditioning for roles. Eventually, he met comedian and writer Roseanne Barr during one of his early auditions. He had no experience in acting and was selected over a joke which he had shared with Roseanne. She had found the joke funny.
Michael went through months of auditions and workshops to prepare for the role of ‘D.J. Conner’ in the comedy series ‘Roseanne.’ He was 6 years old at the time of joining the cast of the show. It began airing in October 1988. Roseanne Barr played the lead role of ‘D.J.’s mother in the series.
The series became a major success immediately. It has since been on many lists featuring the greatest TV shows of all time. It ran for a total of 10 seasons, spanning a whopping 231 episodes, with Michael appearing in 220 episodes.
Michael also received huge worldwide appreciation for his role. He managed his studies simultaneously.
Apart from starring in ‘Roseanne,’ he did other TV work, too. He lent his voice to multiple characters in 12 episodes of the Canadian animated series ‘Little Rosey.’
In 1996, he played another voice role, appearing as ‘Joey’ in an episode of the series ‘Hey Arnold!,’ titled ‘Spelling Bee/Pigeon Man.’
In 1997, he appeared in two roles: as ‘Gregg’ in a single episode of the cult-classic sitcom ‘Seinfeld’ and as ‘Jimmy’ in three episodes of the series ‘Hitz.’
Toward the late 1990s, he also appeared in the guest role of ‘Snake’ in an episode of the series ‘Walker, Texas Ranger,’ titled ‘Lost Boys.’
By then, ‘Roseanne’ had stopped its glorious run of 10 seasons. In order to further cash in on the success of the sitcom, Roseanne started a syndicated talk show of her own, ‘The Roseanne Show.’ From time to time, she invited actors from her sitcom as the show’s guests. Michael served as a co-host of the show, alongside Roseanne, for 54 episodes.
In 2001, Michael played a small role in the science-fiction film titled ‘A.I. Artificial Intelligence.’ The film was a huge commercial and critical success.
Michael was not interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry anymore. He focused on baseball and almost ended his acting career.
However, the demise of his ‘Roseanne’ co-star and friend Glenn Quinn pushed him to resume his acting career in the mid-2010s.
He made his acting comeback with a supporting role in the sports comedy–drama film ‘Undrafted.’ He also reprised his role of ‘D.J.’ from the sitcom ‘Roseanne’ in its spin-off, ‘The Conners.’
He produced a few episodes of ‘The Roseanne Show’ and also served as an associate producer and an executive producer for a number of shorts and series. He wrote and directed the series ‘The Tipping Point.’ He also worked on the stunts of ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ and ‘Little Bigfoot 2: The Journey Home.’
Family & Personal Life
Michael married Jennifer Briner in 1999, at the age of 18. They divorced in 2017. They have two children.
Michael offers baseball and softball training to underprivileged youth, at ‘Major League’ stadiums.