For six years, Rosie O'Donnell was America's best friend for an hour each day as host and executive producer of the critically acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning nationally syndicated talk/variety series The Rosie O'Donnell Show. In May 2002, she decided to leave her successful show to spend time with her family.
In her first season on the air at The Rosie O'Donnell Show, she won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host. She continued her success for five consecutive seasons by winning Daytime Emmys for both Outstanding Talk Show Host and Outstanding Talk Show. She also won a Primetime Emmy for The 52nd Annual Tony Awards. She has graced the cover of Newsweek magazine (dubbed the Queen of Nice), and was cited as one of Time magazine's 25 Most Influential People in America (1997). She was also named one of Ladies Home Journal's Fascinating Women of the Year (1996), one of Barbara Walter's 10 Most Fascinating People of 1996, and Entertainment Weekly named her 1996's Entertainer of the Year. Ms. O'Donnell was last seen on daytime television as moderator on the 10th season of ABC's The View.
In April 2001, Ms. O'Donnell made her media debut as the editorial director of Rosie,the magazine she launched for G&J USA publishing, in partnership with her own KidRo productions. The magazine was a celebration of humanity with humor and heart. The December 2002 issue was the last.
In 2004, Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell launched R Family Vacations, a gay, lesbian, straight, young-and-old family cruise to the Caribbean. HBO aired a documentary, All Aboard Rosie's Family Cruise, directed by Emmy nominee Shari Cookson. The HBO documentary garnered three Emmy Award nominations and chronicled this historic undertaking, offering a glimpse of a society shaped by a truly diverse, inclusive network of families. The documentary premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
Ms. O'Donnell made her dramatic television debut starring in CBS' Hallmark Hall of Fame production Riding the Bus with My Sister, directed by Angelica Huston and co-starring Andie MacDowell. As much at home in front of the camera as she is in front of the TV set, self-confessed television savant Ms. O'Donnell has made guest appearances on a number of television series, including Will and Grace, All My Children, Suddenly Susan, Spin City, Sesame Street, The Nanny, The Larry Sanders Show, HBO's hit series Curb Your Enthusiasm, and a three-arc episode on Showtime's acclaimed hit Queer as Folk. Ms. O'Donnell has also shown executive producing skills with the 1988 top-rated cable show Stand Up Spotlight on VH1, which she hosted as well. Further proving her MC skills, she hosted Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards from 1997 – 2003. Rosie also appeared in several episodes of FX's acclaimed series Nip/Tuck in the role of Dawn Budge, which was met with great praise. Rosie's most recent television project was the Lifetime Original Film America, which she executive co-produced, co-wrote, and starred in. The film aired on Lifetime in early 2009.
While she was increasing her popularity among the television audience, Ms. O'Donnell was also making a name for herself in movies. She made her motion picture debut in Penny Marshall's 1992 smash film A League of Their Own, starring opposite Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna. She recalls that she got the role because she was the only actress in Hollywood who could throw a baseball from third to first base. She also starred on the big screen in Sleepless in Seattle, Another Stakeout, The Flintstones, Exit to Eden, Now and Then, Beautiful Girls, Harriet the Spy, Wide Awake, and was the voice of Turkin Walt Disney's full-length animated motion picture Tarzan.
In April 1997, Warner Books published Kids Are Punny, a best-selling collection of her favorite jokes sent to the show by kids, with all proceeds going to her Rosie's For All Kids Foundation. Ms. O'Donnell also shared her gift for writing with the release of her book Find Me, in April 2002. In her premiere endeavor as an author, she offered a brave and powerful account of an extraordinary experience that changed her life. Find Me reached number two on the New York Times bestseller list.
When critics claimed that Broadway was on the decline and the networks threatened to stop broadcasting the Tony Awards, Ms. O'Donnell, an ardent fan of the theater, came to the rescue. Not only did she agree to host The 51st Annual Tony Awards (1997), but she also did a weeklong tribute to the Great White Way on her show leading up to the event. The Tonys earned its highest ratings in 10 years, much of the credit for which is given to Ms. O'Donnell.
Following her heart to the stage, the multi-talented Ms. O'Donnell added Broadway to her repertoire in 1994, when she starred as Rizzo in Tommy Tune's revival of Grease. In 2001, Rosie followed her heart back to Broadway to star as The Cat in the Hat in Seussical. In 2004, Ms. O'Donnell combined her love of Broadway with '80s pop musical sensation Boy George and produced the musical Taboo, based on his life. She previously appeared on Broadway in the revival of Fiddler on the Roof, co-starring with Harvey Fierstein. More recently, Rosie performed in a limited engagement of No No Nanette on Broadway in the spring of 2009.
Keeping up with cultural trends, she launched her website www.Rosie.com where she publishes her photos and artwork, answers questions, and keeps a blog. The award-winning website has been recognized as one of the best celebrity blogs by Entertainment Weeklyandearned aBlogger's Choice Awardin 2007. In May of 2007, Time Magazine named Ms. O'Donnell one of the 100 most influential people in the world for their Time 100 cover story. Ms. O'Donnell currently resides in upstate New York with her four kids and two dogs.
In the fall of 2009, Rosie returned to hosting, this time on satellite radio. Rosie Radio airs on SIRIUS XM, Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. The daily two-hour forum allows the multi-talented entertainer to blend her many passions and interests and explore any topic, issue or event on her mind. With a live, call-in format, Rosie and her listeners talk every day about everything and anything. The show is an eclectic mix of humor, pop culture, and serious conversation.
Following the success of Rosie Radio, O'Donnell's next endeavors bring her to OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Rosie will be a collaborator for the OWN Documentary Film Club, selecting key films and hosting specials that inspire deeper conversations. Rosie will also reprise her role as television talk show host when The Rosie O'Donnell Show launches on OWN in fall 2011. The new show will focus on a single subject and will be filmed in front of a live studio audience in Manhattan.
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Rosie O'Donnell Facts
|March 21, 1962 (61)
|Long Island, New York, USA
|5' 7" (1m70) How tall is Rosie O'Donnell compared to you?
|The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas
|Now and Then
|Harriet the Spy
|Exit to Eden