About Roseann O'Donnell
Roseann "Rosie" O'Donnell (born March 21, 1962) is an American stand-up comedienne, actress, singer, author and media personality. She has also been a magazine editor and continues to be a celebrity blogger, LGBT rights activist, television producer and collaborative partner in the LGBT family vacation company R Family Vacations.
Raised Roman Catholic, O'Donnell lost her mother to cancer as a pre-teen and has stressed the importance of protecting children and supporting families throughout her career. O'Donnell started her comedy career while still a teenager and her big break was on the talent show Star Search when she was twenty years old. A TV sitcom and a series of movies introduced her to a larger national audience and in 1996 she started hosting The Rosie O'Donnell Show which won multiple Emmy awards.
During her years on The Rosie O'Donnell Show she wrote her first book, a memoir called Find Me and developed the nickname "Queen Of Nice" as well as a reputation for philanthropic efforts. She used the book's $3 million advance to establish her own For All Kids foundation and promoted other charity projects encouraging other celebrities on her show to also take part. O'Donnell came out stating "I'm a dyke!" two months before finishing her talk show run, saying that her primary reason was to bring attention to gay adoption issues. O'Donnell is a foster—and adoptive—mother. She has since continued to support many LGBT causes and issues.
In 2006 O'Donnell became the new moderator on The View boosting ratings and attracting controversies with her liberal views, and strong personality, dominating many of the conversations. She became a polarizing figure to many and her strong opinions resulted in several notable controversies including an on-air dispute regarding The Bush administration's policies with the war in Iraq resulting in a mutual agreement to cancel her contract. In 2007 O'Donnell also released her second memoir, Celebrity Detox, which focuses on her struggles with fame and her time at The View. She continues to do charity work and remains involved with LGBT and family-related issues.
In 2008 O'Donnell starred in and executive produced a Lifetime original movie called America, in which she plays the therapist of the title character, a 16-year-old boy aging out of the foster care system. The film is based on the E.R. Frank book of the same name.
In November 2009 "Rosie Radio", a daily two-hour show with O'Donnell discussing news and events on Sirius XM Radio, premiered. O'Donnell said she was approached by the company after she appeared on The Howard Stern Show. O'Donnell has signed on with the Oprah Winfrey Network to return to daytime TV with a talk show in Fall 2011.
O'Donnell, the third of five children, was born in Bayside, Queens, New York and raised in Commack, Long Island, New York. She is the daughter of Roseann Teresa (née Murtha), a homemaker, and Edward Joseph O'Donnell, an electrical engineer who worked in the defense industry. O'Donnell's father had immigrated from County Donegal, Ireland during his childhood, and her mother was Irish American; O'Donnell was raised Catholic. Four days before her 11th birthday, on March 17, 1973, O'Donnell's mother died of breast cancer.
While she attended Commack High School, O'Donnell was voted homecoming queen, prom queen, senior class president and class clown. It was during high school that she began exploring her interest in comedy, beginning with a skit performed in front of the school in which she imitated Gilda Radner's character Roseanne Rosannadanna. After graduating in 1980, O'Donnell briefly attended Dickinson College, later transferring to Boston University, before ultimately dropping out of college.
On February 26, 2004, O'Donnell married Kelli Carpenter, a former Nickelodeon marketing executive, in San Francisco two weeks after SF's Mayor Gavin Newsom authorized the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Her decision to go to San Francisco to marry Carpenter was seen as a show of defiance against then-President George W. Bush over his support for the Federal Marriage Amendment.
The couple were married by San Francisco Treasurer Susan Leal, one of the city's highest ranking lesbian officials and they were serenaded by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. On ABC's "Good Morning America", O'Donnell said during the trial over Rosie magazine she had decided to marry Carpenter, in part because even though they acted as spouses they legally were no closer than friends.
In mid-November 2009, O'Donnell disclosed that Carpenter moved out of their home in 2007; a month later, O'Donnell was seen publicly with her new girlfriend, Tracy Kachtick-Anders, a Texas-based artist.
O'Donnell and Carpenter are parents to adopted children Parker Jaren (born 1995), Chelsea Belle (born 1997), and Blake Christopher (born 1999). Their fourth child, Vivienne Rose (who was conceived through artificial insemination), was born in 2002 to Carpenter. In 2000 the family took in a foster child Mia (born in 1997), and announced intentions to adopt her. In 2001 the state of Florida removed Mia from their home, and Rosie has since worked extensively to bring an end to the Florida law prohibiting same-sex family adoption.
Rosie and her family currently reside in Nyack, New York, a suburb of New York City that is located in Rockland County and in Miami's Star Island. O'Donnell's brother Daniel, who is also gay, represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan as a member of the New York State Assembly.