Rosie O’Donnell is a beloved comedian, celebrated actress, and talk show legend. Despite all these professional accolades, it is perhaps her generosity of spirit, her tireless advocacy on behalf of children and families, and her heartfelt commitment to the health of the American theater that most definitively define her impact on popular culture.
Born in Commack, New York on March 21, 1962, Rosie O’Donnell embarked on a career as a standup comedian right out of high school, and in short order found herself enjoying a five show winning streak on the iconic television series, “Star Search” Shortly thereafter, she scored additional major appearances on television, including a regular role as Maggie O’Brien on NBC’s popular sitcom, “Gimme a Break” and a high profile run as a VH1 VJ
In 1992, Rosie was cast alongside Tom Hanks, Madonna, and Geena Davis in the smash hit “A League of Their Own.” She went on to further success on the big screen, starring in twelve films between 1992 and 1996, including 1993’s “Sleepless in Seattle,” 1995’s “Now and Then,”and 1996’s “Beautiful Girls.”
Her most monumental break came by accepting NBC’s offer to host a variety daytime television show, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” in 1996. Rosie’s innate love of all things show business and her easy rapport with the celebrities she had grown up idolizing translated into a unique and hugely popular TV phenomenon. “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” ran for six seasons and went on to win a variety of Emmy awards, leaving a memorable mark on American television before ending production in 2002.
In the past 20 years, Rosie’s dedication to her artistic endeavors and charitable interests have continued unabated. She has been a regular fixture on television, on Broadway, and, in recent years, has gotten rave reviews for her powerful performances in Showtime’s “SMILF” and HBO’s “I Know This Much is True.” She can currently be seen in the Showtime original series, “American Gigolo.”
-bio adapted and edited from Rosie.com