Women’s History Month 2014: Rosie O’Donnell

21 Mar

RosieToday I would like to wish a happy 54th birthday to a woman who has always used the power and voice of her celebrity status for social justice. Rosie O’Donnell was born in Commack, NY, the third of five children. She was popular in high school, known to be outgoing and funny. She began exploring comedy with Gilda Radner impressions and took that passion with her to college.

After stints at Dickinson College and Boston University, she left college to build on her promising standup career. She got a slot on Star Search and won several weeks in a row, giving her a national profile. O’Donnell built that opportunity into a series of TV and movie appearances. After 15 years of increasing success, she launched her own daytime talk show. The Rosie O’Donnell ShowΒ (I really loved this show) quickly took over, with her outspoken, open personality and sense of fun capturing the hearts and minds of millions of viewers.

During this time, O’Donnell became a foster parent, adopting her first child, Parker, just before her show took off. A strong advocate for children’s rights and quality foster, adoption, and care programs, Rosie always took time to share her views and her dollars to support these causes. She gained additional fame in 2002. After appearing as a lesbian single mother on Will and GraceΒ (fantastic episode), she announced at a comedy show to support Ovarian Cancer Research, “I’m a dyke!” While her coming out was not a huge surprise, she was among the first of the early 21st Century wave of celebrities to come out.

Once she was out, she became a strong vocal advocate for the LGBT community, building on previous quietly visible support. She especially focused on the challenges of LGBT parenting, notably shining a harsh light on Florida’s rabidly anti-gay adoption laws (and others like it). After ending her show in 2002, she wrote a book and launched a magazine, donating significant proceeds to children’s charities and cancer research. She also started a family-friendly LGBT travel company, increasing her focus on parenting for all.

Rosie joined The View in 2006. Somewhat ironically for a woman called “the Queen of Nice,” her outspoken views and willingness to speak truth to power ruffled many feathers. She regularly spoke out against the tragic residue of the George W. Bush administration and made sure the chats on the show were informative and thought-provoking. As a former Catholic and strong supporter of children, she came under fire for speaking out about the abuse scandals in the church. Undeterred, she famously observed,

I hope the Catholic Church gets sued until the end of time. Maybe, you know, we can melt down some of the gold toilets in the Pope’s Vatican and pay off some of the lawsuits because, the whole tenet of living a Christ-like life, has been lost in Catholicism.

She also gained attention for questioning Donald Trump’s attempts to assume a position of moral authority when his Miss USA Pageant faced scandal. Never mean but always willing to be honest and direct, her approach eventually led to her departure from The View — a significant loss. Β Thank goodness they at least have our Whoopi!

Rosie O’Donnell is very present in the public eye with her wife and children, helping put a familiar, human face on LGBT parenting. She donated all the proceeds from her second book to her children’s charity and continues to spend millions on improving the world for the vulnerable and marginalized. She also donates her talent, helping headline Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours tours.

A strong voice, a fierce advocate, a caring parent, and a great example — Rosie O’Donnell is an easy woman to celebrate. Happy Birthday, Rosie, and thank you!

29 Responses to “Women’s History Month 2014: Rosie O’Donnell”

  1. prideinmadness March 21, 2014 at 5:55 am #

    I’ve always loved Rosie! I used to watch her talk show when I was a kid, her movies as well!

  2. Dr. Rex March 21, 2014 at 5:58 am #

    Michael!!! Great post. We share these same views!! I love her, her shows, her act. I believed she’s misunderstood bc of her string beliefs.
    TY for posting and celebrating her!!

    Never liked her departure from The View. Hugs!!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt March 21, 2014 at 6:01 am #

      Dr. Rex, I’m so glad you liked this post! Thank you for reblogging this article and for celebrating our Rosie. Peace, Michael.

      • Dr. Rex March 21, 2014 at 6:21 am #

        Peace Michael …. πŸ˜ƒ

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt March 21, 2014 at 6:45 am #

        Thank you for your lovely voice for social justice, Dr. Rex! πŸ™‚

      • Dr. Rex March 21, 2014 at 6:48 am #

        Thank YOU Michael. Yours is a wonderful booming one!!

  3. Dr. Rex March 21, 2014 at 5:58 am #

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Happy bday!!! Rosie ….. πŸ™‚

  4. seaangel4444 March 21, 2014 at 6:02 am #

    I was fortunate enough to be an audience member (two occasions) at, “The Rosie Show”. Her energy and kindness permeates any room she walks into. The happiest of birthdays to Rosie! What a special soul! πŸ™‚ Cher xo

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt March 21, 2014 at 6:03 am #

      Cher, that is so cool that you got to be a part of the audience on two occasions. I’m so envious. Thank you for commenting here. Peace, Michael.

      • seaangel4444 March 21, 2014 at 6:07 am #

        I was extremely grateful, Michael. I wrote a post about it last month. I also was in Oprah’s audience twice. The studio location (HARPO Studios) was the same, but to be honest, the experience was completely different with Rosie. She cares so deeply about others, and it made the experiences fantastic! In fact, she gave everyone in the audience a blanket to take home; she said she needed to keep the studio at a cooler temperature but didn’t want the audience to freeze! πŸ™‚ I still have both blankets! Cher xo

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt March 21, 2014 at 6:09 am #

        Cher, what a lovely story to share. Thank you!

      • seaangel4444 March 21, 2014 at 6:12 am #

        Thank you, Michael! Thank you for your wonderful post!! Cher xo

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt March 21, 2014 at 6:16 am #

        Thank you, Cher! πŸ™‚

  5. Central Oregon Coast NOW March 21, 2014 at 6:43 am #

    Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

  6. Mandy March 21, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Love this woman. Always have!

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt March 21, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

      Mandy, thank you for commenting here.

      • Mandy March 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

        My pleasure. I’m glad to have discovered your blog!

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt March 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

        Thank you, Mandy. And I am glad to have discovered yours.

  7. Xena March 21, 2014 at 10:28 am #

    Happy birthday, Rosie.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt March 21, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

      Thank you for commenting here and wishing our Rosie a Happy Birthday, Xena! πŸ™‚

  8. Joe Bradshaw March 27, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    I would like to say I love your blog and the wonderful and beautiful things you share as well as the inspiration and smiles you bring in doing so! Thank you for being you and I hope even if you do not accept awards you will accept the sentiment expressed as I honor you with one. There is no prize that comes with the award other than my appreciation and being grateful you are part of our world and making a difference by sharing in such a positive way…
    I have posted the award and link to it here I hope you will accept it or at least the sentiment behind it! http://artisticlyxpressedthoughts.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/awards-and-shared-gifts/

    With love,

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt March 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      Joe, thank you so very much for your kind words. I fear you are far too kind, for I fear I fail more often than I like in being generous of heart. Thank you for the equally kind award, for which I am honored and humbled. I am enjoying your blog as well. Peace, Michael.

  9. Steve April 2, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

    I would love to be more like Rosie…what a wonderful example! Justice and Right have obviously been more important to her than reputation and other passing things. I want to emulate her courage, her volume, her tenacity, her grit, her fire, strength, love, passion…a powerhouse for Justice! Just thinking about her and what you shared, Michael, pumped me up and makes me smile! Thank you…thanks, Rosie! πŸ™‚

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