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Rosie O'Donnell is a comedian who made the move to the big screen with 1992's A League of Their Own, going on to co-host TV's The View
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Born on March 21, 1962, in Commack, New York, Rosie O'Donnell graduated high school and went on a stand-up comedy tour in the US. She made five winning appearances on Star Search before moving to Los Angeles in 1984. After her role in the film A League of Their Own, O'Donnell went on to further success in TV, notably with The View, and her own radio show, Rosie Radio. O'Donnell suffered a heart attack in August 2012,
after which doctors discovered a 99 percent blocked artery in her heart.
Actress, comedienne, talk show host, and author. Born March 21, 1962, in Commack, New York. The middle of five children, she is the daughter of Roseann and Edward O'Donnell, a homemaker and an electrical engineer. Being one of five children had its challenges. "We weren't poor—my father was an electrical engineer. But there were five children. The kids who went to school with us in Dix Hills [New York] would all get Camaros on their 16th birthdays. And at our house, we had a Plymouth Volare with an AM radio. All five of us kids had to use that car. We went to the flea market to buy clothes, not Macy's," O'Donnell later said.
Life got harder when Rosie was 10 years old; her mother died of cancer, and her father took the loss particularly hard. Becoming emotionally distanced from the rest of the family, O'Donnell's father coped by removing most of his wife's belongings from the family home. One of the few reminders of their mother that escaped their father's touch was an old record collection. O'Donnell and her siblings often sought comfort by listening to their mother's albums—particularly the Barbra Streisand records. "When we came home from school, [my mother] would put on Barbra Streisand's A Happening in Central Park and cook dinner, and we would sing all the songs to it. [My father] didn't know about that, because that was a ritual that was done while he was at work. . . So the only thing I had that was hers were the records. My love of Barbra Streisand is totally taken from my mother's sheer and complete adoration of her. She is what my mother left me," she explained to Redbook.
O'Donnell's love of music and theater didn't stop with Streisand, and by high school Rosie had officially caught the acting bug. She imitated Gilda Radner's character "Roseanne Rosannadanna" for a skit, which earned her high praise and helped foster a desire to pursue a career in comedy. By watching and imitating other comics such as Jerry Seinfeld, O'Donnell eventually came up with her own material and honed her magnetic presence for the stage. O'Donnell was a popular student who was elected prom queen, homecoming queen, most school-spirited and class president before graduation. After matriculating, she embarked on a stand-up comedy tour around the United States, appearing in 49 states over a five-year period. It was a difficult and enlightening time for O'Donnell, who slowly came to grips with the unhealthy lifestyle and sexist climate of the comedy world.
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