- NAME: Rosie O'Donnell
- OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Comedian, Talk Show Host
- BIRTH DATE: March 21, 1962 (Age: 51)
- Did You Know?: Rosie O'Donnell has been a long-time fan of Barbra Streisand, to the point that she sends Streisand flowers and frames every hand-written thank you letter that she receives from the singer.
- EDUCATION: Dickinson College, Boston University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Commack, New York
- Full Name: Roseann O'Donnell
- Nickname: Rosie
- ZODIAC SIGN: Aries
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.
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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 VH1 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 VH1'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 television 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 gig 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.
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