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Lesbian History, Lesbian Celebrities, Lesbian Icons
Life Span: Born
21st March 1962, Long Island, New York
Star Sign: Aries
As: US comedienne and actress
When O'Donnell's mother Roseann died of cancer in 1972,
she and her four siblings (Eddie, Danny, Maureen and Timmy)
were brought up by her father, Edward.
O'Donnell was very physically and socially active at school,
playing in many of the sport teams, and being voted Homecoming
Queen, Senior Class President, Student Council Member,
Class Clown and Personality Plus in 1980, when she graduated.
In her youth she was inspired to have show business ambitions
by Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand. At 16, she performed
her first stand up show, and soon after dropped out of
college to begin touring comedy clubs around the country.
She toured so many clubs in the US, that she almost managed
to do a club date in each of its 50 states (she managed
47)! By 1984, she began trying to settle into television
appearances, first of all taking part in 'Star Search'.
She made it to the final, but lost to fellow stand up
comic Steve Mittleman.
The exposure the talent show gave her led onto more work,
however. In 1986, she gained a role in the sitcom 'Gimme
A Break' as a Boston-Irish dentist. Her performance received
some critical acclaim and paved the way for higher exposure
roles, and eventually her own show, 'Stand By Your Man',
in 1992. It ran for just 7 weeks, however, and during
the rest of the nineties, her career moved away from television
and into small, but memorable, movie roles. 'Sleepless
in Seattle' was the first, in 1993, along with a leading
role with Richard Dreyfuss in 'Another Stakeout'. Other
comedy movies followed throughout the 90s, including 'The
Flintstones', 'Now and Then' and 'Beautiful Girls'.
In 1994, she briefly went back to the stage, this time
singing and dancing in a Broadway production of 'Grease',
playing the unconventional, wise-cracking tearaway, Rizzo.
In 1996, she changed career again and moved back to television
as a full time talk show host. 'The Rosie O' Donnell Show'
became the most popular daytime chat show of its time,
focusing less on the debate of people's personal issues
and more on live performance, interviews and entertainment.
The show ran until 2002, after which O'Donnell began seeking
a simpler life with her partner Kelli Carpenter and their
adopted children in Nyack, New York.
Despite taking this hiatus from television work, O'Donnell
has many plans in the pipeline for books and new TV shows
(one with Cyndi Lauper as co-host) and has since produced
films, written an autobiography called 'Find Me' and a
book, 'Everything Rosie'.
& Relationships: O'Donnell met her
partner Kelli Carpenter, a former Nickleodeon executive,
in 1998 through her brother Daniel.
The two were married in 2004, in San Francisco. The timing
of the marriage coincided with an announcement by President
George W Bush that there would be an amendment to the
constitution that would ban gay marriage. O' Donnell said
of the announcement: "I think the actions of the
president are, in my opinion, the most vile and hateful
words ever spoken by a sitting president, I am stunned
and I'm horrified....And, you know, if civil disobedience
is the way to go about change, then I think a lot of people
will be going to San Francisco."
She also took time to comment on the place at which they
held their marriage ceremony: "I want to thank the
city of San Francisco for this amazing stance the mayor
has taken for all the people here, not just us but all
the thousands and thousands of loving, law-abiding couples."
O'Donnell did not reserve her outspoken nature just for
her wedding day. She is an active spokesperson for gay
rights. The couple now have a child of their own as well
as their three adoptive children, and it was her role
as a gay parent which made her come out in 2002. She had
learned about a gay couple in Florida who were being prevented
from adopting children whom they had successfully fostered
for many years. In an interview with Diane Sawyer, she
spoke of her outrage, and commented: "I don't think
America knows what a gay parent looks like. I am a gay
The Rosie O'Donnell Show won an emmy in 1998 for Outstanding
O'Donnell is a loud voice in the struggle for gay rights
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