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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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The show quickly became one of the most popular in daytime television, and O'Donnell was hailed as the "Queen of Nice" due to her down-to-earth frankness and sense of humor. During her time on her talk show,
O'Donnell received two Emmy awards—one for Outstanding Talk Show and another for Outstanding Talk Show Host.
O'Donnell also continued to make occasional appearances in films as well; playing a nanny in the children's film Harriett the Spy (1996) and a schoolteacher-nun in 1998's Wide Awake. She blossomed in the children's movie arena, playing the voice of Terk, Tarzan's gorilla-companion in Disney's animated production of Tarzan in 1999. Her continual support of Broadway shows, and theatre in general, brought renewed attention to the stage, and the Tony Awards show enjoyed its highest ratings in years when she hosted.
In November 2000, O'Donnell revealed plans to leave her talk show after her contract expiration in 2002. She told audiences that she hoped to focus more time on her nonprofit organization, Rosie Adoptions, which helps facilitate the process of adoption between birth mothers and adoptive families. She then made headlines for her personal life in early 2002, with word that she would officially come out as a lesbian in her autobiography Find Me. Part of her decision to come out was fueled by a desire to advocate on behalf of gay adoption. She and her partner, Kellie Carpenter, had taken in a foster child from Florida whom they wished to adopt. Florida law, however, prohibits homosexuals from adopting. The American Civil Liberties Union was waging a legal battle against the law, and O'Donnell felt that she could help. "When I read about this lawsuit, when we had the experience of being discriminated against with our foster child, that's when God tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'You're in, Kid,'" she told The Advocate. O'Donnell and her partner Kelli Carpenter were unable to adopt their foster child, but they did add to their family later that year. In November, the couple welcomed a new addition to their family when Carpenter gave birth to a baby girl, Vivienne Rose.
Also in 2002, O'Donnell announced that she would no longer produce her namesake magazine after a little over a year on newsstands. Though the magazine was fairly well received, Rosie cited editorial differences for the reason she pulled the plug, causing Rosie's publisher to file a $100 million lawsuit for breach of contract. O'Donnell later filed a $125 million countersuit, claiming the publishers seized control and forced her out. In the midst of the media-heavy trial that ensued, she continued to produce her Broadway musical, Taboo, about the life of Boy George. However, after receiving negative reviews and publicity, the show closed just three months after it opened.
In 2004, O'Donnell wed longtime partner Kelli Carpenter in San Francisco, California. Carpenter changed her last name to O'Donnell, but their union was later annulled by a California court decision. The couple also enjoyed the first cruise organized by their travel business R Family Vacations, which creates holidays for gays, lesbians, and their friends and families.
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