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Rosie O'Donnell (1962)

Roseann Teresa O'Donnell

Type :  

  Summary  

Roseann "Rosie" O'Donnell is an American stand-up comedian, actress, author and television personality. She has also been a magazine editor and continues to be a celebrity blogger, LGBT rights activist, television producer and collaborative partner in the LGBT family vacation company R Family Vacations.

Raised Roman Catholic, O'Donnell lost her mother to cancer as a pre-teen and has stressed the importance of protecting children and supporting families throughout her career. O'Donnell started her comedy career while still a teenager and her big break was on the talent show Star Search when she was twenty years old. A TV sitcom and a series of movies introduced her to a larger national audience and in 1996 she started hosting The Rosie O'Donnell Show which won multiple Emmy awards.

During her years on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, she wrote her first book, a memoir called Find Me and developed the nickname "Queen Of Nice" as well as a reputation for philanthropic efforts. She used the book's $3 million advance to establish her own For All Kids foundation and promoted other charity projects encouraging other celebrities on her show to also take part. O'Donnell came out stating "I'm a dyke!" two months before finishing her talk show run, saying that her primary reason was to bring attention to gay adoption issues. O'Donnell is a foster—and adoptive—mother. She has since continued to support many LGBT causes and issues.

In 2006, O'Donnell became the new moderator on The View, boosting ratings and attracting controversies with her liberal views, and strong personality, dominating many of the conversations. She became a polarizing figure to many and her strong opinions resulted in several notable controversies including an on-air dispute regarding the Bush administration's policies with the Iraq War, resulting in a mutual agreement to cancel her contract. In 2007, O'Donnell also released her second memoir, Celebrity Detox, which focuses on her struggles with fame and her time at The View. She continues to do charity work and remains involved with LGBT and family-related issues. In 2008 O'Donnell starred in and executive produced America, a Lifetime channel original movie in which she plays the therapist of the title character, a 16-year-old boy aging out of the foster care system. The film is based on the E.R. Frank book of the same name.

In October 2009, she appeared in the original cast of Love, Loss, and What I Wore. In November 2009, Rosie Radio, a daily two-hour show with O'Donnell discussing news and events on Sirius XM Radio, premiered. O'Donnell said she was approached by the company after she appeared on The Howard Stern Show.

O'Donnell signed on with the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network to return to daytime TV with The Rosie Show in Fall 2011.

  Biography  

 early life
O'Donnell, the third of five children, was born in Bayside, Queens, New York and raised in Commack, Long Island, New York. She is the daughter of Olga Teresa (née Murtha), a homemaker, and Edward Joseph O'Donnell, an electrical engineer who worked in the defense industry. O'Donnell's father had immigrated from County Donegal, Ireland during his childhood, and her mother was Irish American; O'Donnell was raised Catholic. Four days before her 11th birthday, on March 17, 1973, O'Donnell's mother died of breast cancer. While she attended Commack High School, O'Donnell was voted homecoming queen, prom queen, senior class president and class clown. It was during high school that she began exploring her interest in comedy, beginning with a skit performed in front of the school in which she imitated Gilda Radner's character Roseanne Rosannadanna. After graduating in 1980, O'Donnell briefly attended Dickinson College, later transferring to Boston University, before ultimately dropping out of college.

 career
  Early work

O'Donnell toured as a stand-up comedian in clubs from 1979 to 1984. She got her first big break on Star Search, explaining on Larry King Live:

I was 20 years old, and I was at a comedy club in Long Island. This woman came over to me and she said, I think you're funny. Can you give me your number? My dad is Ed McMahon. I was like, yeah, right. I gave her my father's phone number. I was living at home, I'm like, whatever. And about three days later, the talent booker from Star Search called and said, we're going to fly you out to L.A. I won, like, five weeks in a row. And it gave me national exposure.

After this success, she moved on to television sitcom comedy, making her series debut as Nell Carter's neighbor on Gimme a Break! in 1986. In 1988, she joined music video station VH1's lineup of veejays. She started hosting a series for VH1, Stand-up Spotlight, a showcase for up-and-coming comedians and comediennes. In 1992 she starred in Stand By Your Man, a Fox Network sitcom co-starring Melissa Gilbert. The show bombed, just as O'Donnell's movie career took off. O'Donnell made her feature film debut in A League Of Their Own alongside Tom Hanks and Madonna. Throughout her career, she has taken on an eclectic range of roles: she appeared in Sleepless in Seattle as Meg Ryan's best friend; as Betty Rubble in the live-action film adaptation of The Flintstones with John Goodman; as one of Timothy Hutton's co-stars in Beautiful Girls; as a federal agent comedically paired with Dan Aykroyd in Exit to Eden; as the voice of a tomboyish female gorilla named Terk in Disney's Tarzan; and as a baseball-loving nun in M. Night Shyamalan's Wide Awake.

  The Rosie O'Donnell Show
In 1996, she began hosting a daytime talk show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show. The show proved very successful, winning multiple Emmy awards, and earning O'Donnell the title of "The Queen" for her style of light-hearted banter with her guests and interactions with the audience. As part of her playful banter with her studio audience, O'Donnell often launched koosh balls at the crowd and camera. She also professed an infatuation with Tom Cruise.

With New York City as the show's homebase, O'Donnell displayed her love of Broadway musicals and plays by having cast members as guests, encouraging the audience to see shows, premiering production numbers as well as promoting shows with ticket give-aways.

After the Columbine shootings, O'Donnell became an outspoken supporter of gun control and a major figure in the Million Mom March. During the April 19, 1999, broadcast of her talk show, she stated, "You are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun, I think you should go to prison." O'Donnell previously had remarked, "I don't personally own a gun, but if you are qualified, licensed and registered, I have no problem." In May 1999, a month after the Columbine shootings, O'Donnell interviewed Tom Selleck, who was promoting The Love Letter. O'Donnell confronted him about his recent commercial for the National Rifle Association and challenged him about the NRA's position on the use of "assault weapons." She said at the end of the segment the conversation had "not gone the way I had hoped" and added "if you feel insulted by my questions, I apologize, because it was not a personal attack. It was meant to bring up the subject as it is in the consciousness of so many today." Around the same time, the cast from Annie Get Your Gun was to appear on the show but refused O'Donnell's request to remove the line "I can shoot a partridge with a single cartridge" from the song "Anything You Can Do" and agreed to perform "My Defenses Are Down" instead. Later in 1999, O'Donnell discontinued her contract with Kmart as their spokeswoman, as gun enthusiasts complained that she shouldn't be the spokesperson for the largest gun retailer. O'Donnell countered that Kmart sells hunting rifles, not handguns or assault weapons and does so legally which she supports. Both Kmart and O'Donnell denied publicly that Kmart had terminated the contract. In May 2000, O'Donnell's bodyguard applied for a concealed firearm permit. O'Donnell stated that the security firm contracted by Warner Brothers requested the gun. O'Donnell stated that because of threats, she and her family need protection, which she attributes to her "tough gun-control rhetoric".

After the September 11, 2001 attacks Broadway and tourism in New York City was down and many shows were in danger of closing. O'Donnell was among many in the entertainment field who encouraged viewers to visit and support the performing arts. She announced that she would donate 1 million dollars for aid in the rescue efforts and encouraged other celebrities and citizens alike to "give till it hurts". In 2002, she left her talk show. The show was then replaced by The Caroline Rhea Show, with comedienne Caroline Rhea and ran for one additional season.

  The View

In September 2006, O'Donnell replaced Meredith Vieira as a co-host and moderator of the The View, a daytime women-oriented talkshow. Star Jones, a co-host on the show, quit with some speculating Jones's conservative views would be in constant tension with O'Donnell's more liberal counterpoint. O'Donnell had also disputed Jones's route of rapid weight loss, alluding that it must have been gastric bypass surgery rather than dieting and exercise alone as Star had insisted which also fed speculation about certain tension between the two, Jones later confirmed it was surgery. As a big-name talent O'Donnell drew criticism for her opinions while keeping the show's "buzz factor up". O'Donnell is credited with helping the show be more news-focused while still embracing the "fluff" of daytime TV talkshows . Despite the overall downward trend for most daytime broadcast shows, ratings rose by 27%. The show was the fourth most watched in all of daytime in the key demographic of women ages 18–49, and scored record ratings in the total viewer category with an average of 3.4 million viewers—up 15% versus the same time in 2005. O'Donnell adapted to the multi-personality forum in contrast to her anchoring her own talkshows in the past and moderated the opening "Hot Topics" portion of the show where newsworthy items were discussed. Unlike previous years, politics and taboo subjects were readily explored with O'Donnell and fellow-comic Joy Behar often giving strong opinions against former President Bush's domestic and foreign policies including the Iraq war. As a conservative counterpoint, Elisabeth Hasselbeck would support the Bush Administration's issues and the two would get into an adversarial give-and-take.

Encouraged by the show to be outspoken, O'Donnell sometimes provoked debate, one time stating "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam" or criticizing fellow TV personalities. O'Donnell, who was raised Roman Catholic was accused of "serial anti-Catholicism" and called a bigot by the Catholic League's president Bill Donohue for what he claimed "relentless and profoundly ignorant attacks on the Roman Catholic Church and its teachings." She had compared the Republican Party's cover-up of the Mark Foley congressional page incident, where he sent sexually suggestive messages to teenaged boys who had formerly served as congressional pages, to the cover-up of child sexual abuse by Catholic Church officials who actively concealed perpetrators by moving them from parish to parish as detailed in Amy Berg's Deliver Us from Evil about abuse within the Catholic Church . O'Donnell's outspokeness and spontaneousness sometimes led to her views being recirculated by other media outlets, often surprising The View co-hosts including O'Donnell. Frequently portrayed unfavorably by conservative media outlets and what she deemed as Republican pundits, O'Donnell lamented that they were focusing on her comments instead of more important national and world issues.

On December 5, 2006, O'Donnell used a series of ching chongs to imitate newscasters in China. She was criticized for her use of the term, and there was disappointment of her perceived insensitivity when she had fought for gay and lesbian rights and spoken out against homophobia. On December 14, O'Donnell apologized to "those who felt hurt" explaining that "Some people have told me it's as bad as the n-word. I was like, really? I didn't know that." O'Donnell warned that "there's a good chance I'll do something like that again, probably in the next week, not on purpose. Only 'cause it's how my brain works." Time called it a "pseudo-apology". O'Donnell later wrote in Celebrity Detox that "I wish I had been a bit more pure in my public apology."

Also in December 2006, O'Donnell criticized billionaire Donald Trump for holding a press conference to reinstate Miss USA Tara Conner, accusing him of using her scandal to "generate publicity for the Miss USA Pageant" by announcing he was giving her a second chance. O'Donnell commented that due to Trump's multiple marital affairs and questionable business bankruptcies, he was not a moral authority for young people in America. She stated, "Left the first wife, had an affair. Left the second wife, had an affair – but he's the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America!" In response, Trump began a "vicious" mass media blitz in which he appeared on various television shows, either in person or by phone, threatening to sue O'Donnell . He called her names, threatened to take away her partner Kelli, and claimed that Barbara Walters regretted hiring her. Walters was stuck in the middle as a social acquaintance of Trump's, and said O'Donnell didn't feel like she defended her enough which led to what both women agreed was an unfortunate confrontation in one of the dressing rooms. "I had pain and hurt and rejection," O'Donnell said, "sometimes overwhelm me. Sometimes I get flooded." Walters responded that both Trump and O'Donnell are highly opinionated people and that Trump has never filed for bankruptcy, but several of his casino companies did but are now out of bankruptcy. She also denied that she was unhappy with O'Donnell, saying, "I have never regretted, nor do I now, the hiring of Rosie O'Donnell."


O'Donnell condemned many of the Bush administration's policies, especially the war in Iraq and the resulting occupation. She consistently brought up recent military deaths and news about the war, and criticized the US media for its lack of attention to these issues compared to media coverage throughout the world. This led to a series of heated exchanges with co-host Hasselbeck and conservative media recycling unfavorable comments towards O'Donnell as well as "the most-discussed moment of her professional life." On May 17, 2007, O'Donnell rhetorically asked, "655,000 Iraqi civilians dead. Who are the terrorists? ... if you were in Iraq and another country, the United States, the richest in the world, invaded your country and killed 655,000 of your citizens, what would you call us?" Conservative commentators criticized O'Donnell's statements saying that she was comparing American soldiers to terrorists. On May 23, 2007, a heated discussion ensued, in part, because of what O'Donnell perceived as Elisabeth Hasselbeck's unwillingness to defend O'Donnell as not against the troops with O'Donnell asking her "Do you believe I think our troops are terrorists?" Hasselbeck answered in the negative but also stated "Defend your own insinuations." O'Donnell was hurt and felt Hasselbeck had betrayed her friendship, "there's something about somebody being different on TV toward you than they are in the dressing room. It didn't really ring true for me." O'Donnell stated that Republican pundits were mischaracterising her statements and the right-wing media would portray her as a bully attacking "innocent pure Christian Elisabeth" whenever they disagreed. O'Donnell said that she knew her time on the show was over when she saw on the studio monitor that the director had made a decision to cut to a split screen effect showing her and Hasselbeck on either side. The argument was not why she left the show after that day. "I didn't want to argue for a living," she told Oprah Winfrey in an hour-long special, "I didn't come back because the director and the producer did a split screen, and they had to prepare that in advance I felt there was setup egging me into that position. The executive producer and I did not gel. O'Donnell and ABC agreed to cut short her contract agreement on May 25, 2007, as a result of this issue. ABC News reported that her arguments with Hasselbeck brought the show its best ratings ever.

On the April 30, 2007, show Walters announced that O'Donnell would be listed by Time magazine as one of their 100 most influential people. On May 25, 2007, it was announced by ABC and O'Donnell that she would not stay until the end of her contract . " encouraged me to speak my feelings — and I did. And some of those, at the time I spoke them, were controversial. They seem to have come more into favor." O'Donnell was named "The Most Annoying Celebrity of 2007" by a PARADE reader's poll, in response she said, "Frankly, most celebrities are annoying ... and I suppose I am the most annoying, but, whatever." In 2008, The View won an Emmy for "Outstanding Special Class Writing" for a specially themed Autism episode she helped create. Janette Barber, O'Donnell's longtime friend and producer/writer of the Rosie O'Donnell Show, accepted the award on behalf of herself and the other two winners, Christian McKiernan and Andrew Smith.

  2007–2011
In March 2007, O'Donnell started a video blog, Jahero, on her website Rosie.com answering fans questions, giving behind the scenes information and serving as a video diary. Originally featuring only O'Donnell and her hair and make-up artist Helene Macaulay they were soon joined by her writer from The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Janette Barber. Called Jahero, which has each of their first name's letters in it, they occasionally had short cameo appearances by View co-hosts Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Barbara Walters. Jenny McCarthy appeared once briefly, as has Hasselbeck's mother-in-law and O'Donnell's mother-in-law, her wife Kelli's mother. Kathy Griffin also appeared, where she read some of the questions. It became so popular that O'Donnell and her creative team considered an "on the road" version of the video blog utilizing fan-submitted suggestions. O'Donnell was the front runner for the "best celebrity blogger" category in the 2007 Blogger's Choice Awards which she won.

O'Donnell expressed interest in replacing long-time host Bob Barker when he retired from CBS's game show The Price Is Right. Barker was a frequent guest on her talk show and told reporters that she "would make a fine host." Although it was reported he had "endorsed" her as a "possible successor", Barker said that he had no role in choosing his replacement. In June 2007, she announced on her blog it was not going to happen and noted she was reluctant to uproot her family to move to California.

In November 2009 "Rosie Radio", a daily two-hour show with O'Donnell discussing news and events on Sirius XM Radio, premiered. The show is on Stars channel 102 from 10am to 12noon Eastern time, with replays in the afternoon, premiered. O'Donnell said she was approached by the company after she appeared on Howard Stern's Sirius XM show. The radio show ended in June, 2011.

  The Rosie Show & OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

In 2011, O'Donnell began producing material for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. In May 2011, The Doc Club with Rosie O'Donnell premiered, a show where O'Donnell moderates live panel discussions following premieres of OWN Documentaries. Thus far, she has hosted specials for Becoming Chaz in May 2011 and Miss Representation in October 2011.

In the fall of 2011, O'Donnell began full time work on her new show, The Rosie Show, for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The show tapes at the legendary Chicago studio formerly home to The Oprah Winfrey Show. The show debuted on October 10, 2011.

 personal life
O'Donnell is a resident of Nyack, New York.

  Coming out

In her January 31, 2002, appearance on the sitcom Will & Grace, she played a lesbian mom. A month later as part of her act at the Ovarian Cancer Research benefit at Caroline's Comedy Club O'Donnell came out as a lesbian, announcing "I'm a dyke!" "I don't know why people make such a big deal about the gay thing. ... People are confused, they're shocked, like this is a big revelation to somebody." The announcement came two months before the end of the hosting of her talk show. Although she also cited the need to put a face to gays and lesbians her primary reason was to bring attention to the gay adoption issue. O'Donnell is a foster and adoptive mother. She protested against adoption agencies, particularly in Florida, that refused adoptive rights to gay and lesbian parents. Diane Sawyer interviewed O'Donnell in a March 14, 2002, episode of PrimeTime Thursday, telling USA Today she chose to talk to Sawyer because she wanted an investigative piece on Florida's ban on gay adoption. She told Sawyer if that was done, "I would like to talk about my life and how pertains to me." She spoke about the two gay men in Florida who face having a foster child they raised removed from their home. State law won't let them adopt because Florida bans gay or bisexual people from adopting. O'Donnell's coming out drew criticism from some LGBT activists who cited her repeated references to being enamored of Tom Cruise on The Rosie O'Donnell Show as deceptive. She responded in her act stating, "I said I wanted him to mow my lawn and bring me a lemonade. I never said I wanted to blow him." After leaving her show and coming out, O'Donnell returned to stand-up comedy, and cut her hair. O'Donnell told the press that her haircut was meant to mimic the haircut of former Culture Club backup singer Helen Terry.

  Marriage and children
On February 26, 2004, O'Donnell married Kelli Carpenter, a former Nickelodeon marketing executive, in San Francisco two weeks after San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom authorized the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Her decision to go to San Francisco to marry Carpenter was seen as a show of defiance against then-President George W. Bush over his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment.
"We were both inspired to come here after the sitting president made the vile and hateful comments he made... ne thought ran through my mind on the plane out here – with liberty and justice for all.
The couple were married by San Francisco Treasurer Susan Leal, one of the city's highest ranking lesbian officials and they were serenaded by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. On ABC's "Good Morning America", O'Donnell said during the trial over Rosie magazine she had decided to marry Carpenter, in part because even though they acted as spouses they legally were no closer than friends.
"We applied for spousal privilege and were denied it by the state. As a result, everything that I said to Kelli, every letter that I wrote her, every e-mail, every correspondence and conversation was entered into the record ... I am now and will forever be a total proponent of gay marriage."

In mid-November 2009, O'Donnell disclosed that Carpenter had moved out of their home in 2007; a month later, O'Donnell was seen publicly with her new girlfriend, Tracy Kachtick-Anders, a Texas-based artist. O'Donnell and Carpenter are parents to adopted children Parker Jaren , Chelsea Belle , and Blake Christopher . Their fourth child, Vivienne Rose , was born in 2002 to Carpenter. In 2000 the family took in a foster child Mia , and announced intentions to adopt her. In 2001 the state of Florida removed Mia from their home, and O'Donnell has since worked extensively to bring an end to the Florida law prohibiting same-sex family adoption. As of 2010, O'Donnell and her family resided in Nyack, New York, a suburb of New York City that is located in Rockland County and in Miami's Star Island. O'Donnell's brother, Daniel, who is also gay, represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan as a member of the New York State Assembly.

In February 2011, O'Donnell split with her girlfriend Kachtick-Anders. A source said, "They have definitely split up, but it is very complicated because their kids are very close. They still spend a lot of time together." A representative for O'Donnell stated "Rosie and Tracy never officially lived under one roof. They have lived near one another for quite some time, and their families still socialize and they see each other frequently."

O'Donnell began dating her current girlfriend, Michelle Rounds, in the summer of 2011. Rounds is a 40-year-old headhunter from New York City. On December 5, 2011, during a break in the taping of The Rosie Show, O'Donnell announced to her studio audience that she was engaged to Rounds, although no date has been set .

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Rosie O'Donnell", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.