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Pop legend Madonna is known for her constant reinvention as a performer. Her biggest hits include "Papa Don't Preach," "Like a Prayer" and "Vogue."
Madonna - Around the World (4:58)
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Madonna - Mini Biography (4:34)
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Madonna has been a popular figure in America since the early 1980s and has generated her fair share of controversy. But her celebrity spans across the entire globe, and people from all over the world have unique opinions about Madonna.
Chris America is one of the world's leading Madonna impersonators. She performs as Madonna at private parties and prides herself for being a spitting image of Madonna.
A short biography of Madonna who redefined music with hits like "Like a Virgin" and "Vogue." Constantly stirring up controversy in her career, she also made headlines in her relationships with Sean Penn, Warren Beatty, and Guy Ritchie.
Fashion designer Betsey Johnson gives her two cents on the appeal of Madonna's early trendsetting look.
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Pop music singer Madonna was born in Bay City, Michigan, on August 16, 1958. In 1981, she went solo as a pop singer and became a sensation on the then male-dominated 80s music scene. By 1991, she had achieved 21 Top 10 hits in the United States and sold more than 70 million albums internationally. In January 2008, she was named the world's wealthiest female musician by Forbes magazine.
"My mother was a religious zealot. There were always priests and nuns in my house growing up."
"I think the biggest reason I was able to express myself and not be intimidated was by not having a mother."
"I really saw myself as the quintessential Cinderella."
"For some reason, I feel like I never left high school, because I still feel that if you don't fit in, you're going to get your ass kicked."
"I believe sometimes we aren't always in charge of everything that we do creatively. We submit to things as we're going on our own journey."
"We like to put people on a pedestal, give them one character trait, and if they step outside of that shrinelike area that we blocked out for them, then we will punish them."
"One of my father's famous quotes—and I love him dearly, but he's very, very old-fashioned—was, 'If there were more virgins, the world would be a better place.'"
"Every year it's a different me."
"If you want to affect change in the world, you do have to have a platform to stand on. And in order to have a platform to stand on, you have to keep doing your job."
"I think it's kind of a waste of time to provoke just for the sake of provocation. I think you have to have a lesson or something that you want to share."
"I sometimes think I was born to live up to my name. How could I be anything else but what I am having been named Madonna? I would either have ended up a nun or this."
"I want to be like Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, and John Lennon... but I want to stay alive."
Singer, performer and actress Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone was born in Bay City, Michigan, on August 16, 1958, to parents Silvio "Tony" Ciccone and Madonna Fortin. Tony, the son of Italian immigrants, was the first of his family to go to college, where he earned a degree in engineering. Madonna's mother, an x-ray technician and former dancer, was of French Canadian descent. After their marriage in 1955, the couple moved to Pontiac, Michigan, to be close to Tony's job as a defense engineer. Madonna was born three years later, during a visit with family in Bay City. The third of six children, Madonna learned early on how to handle her role as the middle child, admitting that she was "the sissy of the family" who often used her feminine wiles to get her way.
Her parents' strict observation of the Catholic faith played a large role in Madonna's childhood. "My mother was a religious zealot," Madonna explains. "There were always priests and nuns in my house growing up." Many elements of Catholic iconography—including her mother's statues of the Sacred Heart, the habits of the nuns at her Catholic elementary school, and the Catholic altar at which she and her family prayed daily—later became the subject of Madonna's most controversial works.
Another heavy influence on Madonna's early life was her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer during her pregnancy with Madonna's youngest sister. Treatment had to be delayed until the baby reached full term, but by then the disease had grown too strong. On December 1, 1963, at the age of 30, Madonna's mother passed away. Madonna was only 5 years old at the time of her mother's death.
The loss of her mother significantly affected Madonna's adolescence. Haunted by the memories of her mother's frailty and passive demeanor during her final days, Madonna was determined to make her own voice heard. "I think the biggest reason I was able to express myself and not be intimidated was by not having a mother," she says. "For example, mothers teach you manners. And I absolutely did not learn any of those rules and regulations."
She fought especially hard against the rules imposed by her stepmother, Joan Gustafson, who met Madonna's father while working as the family housekeeper. Madonna says Gustafson often made her take care of the younger children in the household, a task she greatly resented. "I really saw myself as the quintessential Cinderella," Madonna later said. "I think that's when I really thought about how I wanted to do something else and get away from all that." She rebelled against her traditional upbringing by turning her conservative clothing into revealing outfits, frequenting underground gay nightclubs, and rejecting her religious background.
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Madonna unapologetically celebrated and monetized her sexuality when she began her career in the 1980s. Her bold behavior paved the way for other female performers—including Cyndi Lauper, Britney Spears, and Janet Jackson—giving them the freedom to explore previously taboo roles and take control of their image and career.
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They've been referred to as a sign of happiness, luck, good fortune, sexuality and wanderlust. Cultures all around the world have their take on gap teeth, and now—thanks to prominent figures who proudly flash the space in their smile—they're considered a mark of beauty and individuality. Here are a few of the stars who helped to make gap teeth fashionable, proving to men and women everywhere that they no longer need to be ashamed of their grins.
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