Roseann O’ Donnell was born on March 21, 1962, in Bayside, Queens, New York. Her father, Edward J. O’ Donnell, immigrated from Belfast, and her mother, Roseann Murtha, was an Irish-American Catholic who died of breast cancer at the age of 38. Rosie was raised in Commack, Long Island and attended Dickenson College. She began performing stand-up comedy along the East Coast, her New York accent and husky appearance setting her apart from other actresses and comediennes. In the late 1980s, she hosted the VHI stand-up comedy series, “Stand By Your Man”, which didn’t last long or fare very well. In the early 1990s, O’Donnell starred in a string of comedy films including: “A League of Their Own”, “Another Stakeout”, and “Sleepless in Seattle”. Although her performances were highly acclaimed, her career faltered with several movie flops of the mid 1990s, including “Car 54, Where Are You?” and “Exit to Eden”.
In 1996 things began to pick up starting with the hosting of a successful daytime television talk show, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show”. She gained the moniker “The Queen of Nice,” and she frequently highlighted various charitable projects. She interacted well with both her guests and the audience, and her show won multiple Emmy awards, as did she for her hosting duties. In 2000, Rosie partnered with the publishers of “McCall’s Magazine” and opted for stories about depression, breast cancer and foster care rather than thin models and fluffy articles. The new magazine didn’t live long as there were difficulties in securing advertising due to its perceived political bias.
In 2002, Rosie left her talk show and returned to stand-up comedy. Shortly before her departure, she came out of the closet as a lesbian. She did this not only to put a familiar face on homosexuality, but also because she was infuriated with the Florida law concerning adoption agencies that would not grant adoptive rights to loving gay parents. As an adoptive mother, herself, she hoped to increase awareness on this subject.
On February 24,2004, O’ Donnell married her partner, Kelli Carpenter in San Francisco. Rosie continues to entertain and remains a pop culture icon and a celebrity representative of the gay and lesbian community. Not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for her beliefs, she is a true example of the beauty of our American way of life, which grants our freedom of expression and our power to become the best that we can possibly be.
Yea, Rosie! Keep on going strong! We love ya!