Best Known For
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
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
She told Robert Hoffler of Buzz, "Everybody was doing drugs and drinking, and I was just this little girl on the road, scared in her room."
After returning home to study briefly at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Boston University,
O'Donnell returned to performing. She made five winning appearances on Star Search before moving to Los Angeles in 1984. She landed a part on the last season of NBC's popular sitcom Gimme a Break before cable music video channel VH-1 snatched her up as a VJ. When the station decided to stop using VJs, O'Donnell convinced the company to create Stand-Up Spotlight, a television program that showcased comedians. O'Donnell signed on as the show's host and, for the next four years, helped make Stand-Up Spotlight VH-1's most popular show.
In 1992, after appearing in several television specials, O'Donnell made a much-desired move to film. She made her big-screen debut as Madonna's loveable sidekick in A League of Their Own, a Penny Marshall-directed film. During filming, O'Donnell forged many connections and friendships which served to enhance her career, including an enduring relationship with co-star Madonna. Her role spawned a string of "best-friend" roles: playing Meg Ryan's closest pal in 1993's Sleepless in Seattle; co-starring alongside Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez in Another Stakeout (1993); and making a memorable appearance across from Natalie Portman and Timothy Hutton as the wise-cracking hairdresser in Beautiful Girls (1996). O'Donnell began a trend of making praiseworthy performances in less-than-extraordinary films.
In 1994, O'Donnell's dream of performing live on stage materialized when she was cast as Rizzo in Tommy Tune's Broadway revival of Grease! However, both the production and O'Donnell's performance met lukewarm reviews. O'Donnell also expressed concern about the message of the play, with its sexist premise about a girl who must transform herself into a tightly-clad tramp to gain acceptance from her boyfriend and his friends. Following her Broadway debut, O'Donnell appeared in Lesli Linka Glatter's coming-of-age film, Now and Then (1995), alongside Demi Moore and Melanie Griffith. She also made a cameo on the TV sitcom Bless This House. In February 1995, after a two-year hiatus, O'Donnell returned briefly to stand-up in order to prepare for an HBO comedy special.
O'Donnell landed another big break when she accepted a post as host of her own variety talk show for NBC, called The Rosie O'Donnell Show, in 1995. Inspired by The Merv Griffin Show, O'Donnell offered viewers a change of pace from the swarm of sensationalist talk shows commanding the airwaves. Warm and approachable, O'Donnell engaged in light-hearted interviews with celebrities and showcased Broadway performances on her program. "Rosie makes you feel good. She's like everybody's sister," actor John Travolta told Entertainment Weekly.
Moving to daytime television also made it easier for O'Donnell to continue to work in show business while raising her two adopted children, Parker and Chelsea Belle, in New York—producers even built a deluxe nursery for her children right in the Rockefeller Center studio.
profile name: Rosie O'Donnell profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Famous Irish-Americans 80 people in this group
Taking on topics of politics, entertainment, women's issues and more, female talk show hosts have proven to be every bit as engaging, intelligent, and funny as their male counterparts. Oprah Winfrey's 25-year-reign as the queen of talk is unparalleled, but many other female talk show hosts have come into their own as well, including Tyra Banks, Ellen DeGeneres, Sally Jessy Raphael and Kelly Ripa.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
Female Talk Show Hosts 26 people in this group
As the world becomes increasingly aware of the global impact of AIDS, many important figures have gotten involved in the fight against this deadly disease. Celebrities of all stripes have signed on for the cause, raising money for research, raising awareness, and speaking out for those affected by the virus. Here's our group of celebrity AIDS activists.
AIDS Activists 13 people in this group