Rosie O'Donnell: Snapshot

Name
Rosie O'Donnell
Date of Birth
March 21, 1962
Birth Place
Commack, Long Island, N.Y.
On her hit talk show, Rosie O'Donnell appealed to the mommy demographic by gushing about Tom Cruise with the same enthusiasm she had for Tickle Me Elmo dolls. But when the "Queen of Nice" started talking politics, America tuned out.

O'Donnell launched her career as a stand-up comedian but eventually took on the big screen. After she adopted her son Parker in 1995, she sought stability in The Rosie O'Donnell Show, which went on to beat Oprah Winfrey in the Emmy's race for five years. In 2002, O'Donnell dumped her hit show, publicly revealed she was a lesbian, and became a a stay-at-home mom with then-partner Kelli Carpenter.

In 2006, O'Donnell returned to daytime TV on ABC's The View, and spiced things up with her on-air feuds with Kelly Ripa, Donald Trump, and Bill O'Reilly. But after an on-air blow-up with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, O'Donnell left the show before her contract expired.

Moving on from her relationship with longtime partner Carpenter, O'Donnell relocated to Chicago, where Oprah Winfrey passed the talk-show baton to the mouthy star in 2011. Later that year, O'Donnell found love again with Michelle Rounds, whom she married in June 2012.

Rosie O'Donnell: Five Fun Facts

  1. Rosie O'Donnell made her stage debut as Glinda the Good Witch in her second grade production of The Wizard of Oz. "I wanted to be Dorothy," O'Donnell told Time in 1996. "I was devastated."
  2. At Commack High School in New York, Rosie O'Donnell was voted homecoming queen, prom queen, senior class president and class clown before her graduation in 1980.
  3. When Scope mouthwash named Rosie O'Donnell one of America's least kissable celebrities in 1997, Listerine pledged $1,000 to charity each time she was kissed on-air. She smooched her way to more than $350,000.
  4. While filming A League of Their Own, Rosie O'Donnell entertained the extras by belting out Madonna's "Like a Virgin". The Material Girl "would come running out of the dugout and tackle me," O'Donnell told PEOPLE.
  5. Rosie O'Donnell had a innocent crush on Tom Cruise, telling Diane Sawyer that she just wanted him to "mow my lawn and get me a lemonade." In her talk show's finale in 2002, Cruise did just that.

Rosie O'Donnell: Biography

1984

Rosie O'Donnell

October 14

Winning Star Search

After dropping out of college at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and Boston University, O'Donnell begins touring comedy clubs. She makes her television debut on the hit talent show Star Search and wins the comedy competition five times. Although she loses in the finals, O'Donnell wins $14,000 – enough to move to L.A.

1986

Rosie O'Donnell

September

O'Donnell's TV Shot

O'Donnell makes her acting debut on NBC's Gimme a Break as Nell Carter and Joey Lawrence's neighbor. The show is cancelled in 1987, and O'Donnell is hired as a VJ for VH1, later hosting and producing its comedian showcase Stand-Up Spotlight for four years.

1992

Rosie O'Donnell

July 01

In a League of Her Own

O'Donnell stars in her first movie, A League of Their Own, about a 1940s all-women baseball league, starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna. The film's director Penny Marshall tells PEOPLE, "The part was originally for a hot, sexy girl, but I liked Rosie so much we changed the story to suit her. She can make anything funny." O'Donnell adds, "If there's one thing I can do better than Meryl Streep and Glenn Close, it's play baseball." O'Donnell goes on to star as Meg Ryan's best friend in Sleepless in Seattle, and with Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez in Another Stakeout.

Read More on Rosie O'Donnell's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Dan Steinberg/AP

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Everett Collection; Everett Collection; Everett Collection

Edited by Julia Wang

Rosie O'Donnell

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