Roseann O'Donnell, the most popular comedian, actress, author, and television personality, was born on March 21, 1962, in Commack, New York, to homemaker Roseann Teresa (née Murtha) and Edward Joseph O'Donnell, an electrical engineer. Here are some surprising facts about the actress:
In May 1996, Warner Books advanced Rosie $3 million to write a memoir. She is said to have used the money in her For All Kids Foundation that works with the focus to institute national standards for day care across the country.
Before getting her first big break on Star Search, Rosie toured as a stand-up comedian in various clubs for the period of 1979 to 1984.
Before the filming of her first feature film "A League of their own" even started, Rosie was very nervous about meeting Madonna, who also played the role of Mae Mordabito in the movie. However, the duo bonded very quickly and remain to be good friends till this day.
Following her graduation from Commack High School in 1980, she briefly attended Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, then moved on to Boston University from where she dropped out after one year.
She was honored with the Lucy Award by Women in Film Crystal and Lucy Awards in recognition of her excellence and innovation in her creative works that have enhanced the perception of women through the medium of television, in the year 2002.
She was first discovered by Ed McMahon's daughter, when Rosie was performing at a comedy club in Long Island, when she was just 20 years old.
In the year 1998, Anjelica Huston offered the lead titular role in the 1999 movie "Agnes Browne," but Rosie had to turn it down as the offer came very shortly after the shootings at Columbine High School. She felt that she was too emotional to play such a role at that time.
It was reported that Rosie was not satisfied with the final cut of her movie "Exit to Eden," and disliked it to the extent of calling it "terrible." She even refused to participate in the promotional events as well.
In the year 2003, she along with Kelli Carpenter, partnered with travel entrepreneur Gregg Kaminsky to launch R Family Vacations catering to LGBT families, "the very first all gay and lesbian family vacation packages." The first cruise was held with 1600 passengers including 600 children, on July 11, 2004. "All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise," a documentary film about the trip debuted on HBO on April 6, 2006, and was nominated for three Emmy Awards.
She initially used to work in the catalog department at Sears. Her job was to attach the orders to the catalogs, dump the catalogs in the correct bins, and then fetch the orders for the customers.
In April 2002, Rosie released her first book "Find Me," a combination of memoir, mystery and detective story with an underlying interest in reuniting birth mothers with their children. The book reportedly reached number two on The New York Times best seller list.
She suffered a heart attack in mid-August 2012. She says an artery was 99 percent blocked and a stent was inserted.
She was honored with the Tony Award - Isabelle Stevenson Award in the year 2014, for her commitment to arts education for New York City's public school children.
During the filming of her first movie "A League of their own," she along with Lori Petty were the two best players in the crew and had hitting competitions. Both of them could hit the fences at major league parks. It was reported that Rosie could actually throw two balls at the same time.
She made her television debut as Nell Carter's neighbor - Maggie O'Brien, a dental hygienist, on "Gimme a Break!" in the year 1986.
Her "For All Kids Foundation" has reportedly awarded more than $22 million in Early Childhood Care and Education program grants to over 900 nonprofit organizations since the year 1997.
In December 1999, she said in an interview that she will never have biological children because of a family history of alcoholism and cancer. She planned to adopt more children, and also become a certified foster parent.
During her marriage with Kelli Carpenter, the duo adopted four children - Parker Jaren O'Donnell, Chelsea Belle O'Donnell, Blake Christopher O'Donnell, foster child Mia O'Donnell and also had a daughter - Vivienne Rose O'Donnell through artificial insemination.
She once appeared as a lifeline on the famous TV show "Who wants to Be a Millionaire." She helped the contestant win $32,000 by correctly answering the question. She later invited the contestant onto her show and gave him a week-long trip to London.
During the filming of the World Series games in her first movie "A League of their own," she along with her co-stars too turns in entertaining the unpaid extras. She performed stand-up comedy, while Tom Hanks did puppet shows over the dugout. Other actors sang Madonna's songs pretending to be the singer, after she balked at performing for the fans.
She joined the VH1's Veejays lineup and started hosting a series titled "Stand-up Spotlight," which was actually a showcase for up-and-coming comedians, in the year 1988.
In 2003, Rosie and Kelli O'Donnell collaborated with Artistic Director Lori Klinger to create Rosie's Broadway Kids, dedicated to providing free instruction in music and dance to New York City public schools or students. Currently Broadway Kids serves more than 4500 teachers, students and family members at around 21 schools in Harlem, Midtown West, Chelsea, Lower East Side, East Village, and Chinatown.
In the summer of 2000, she suffered a staph infection when she accidentally cut the middle finger of her left hand with a knife while cutting a price tag off a fishing pole. The infection incapacitated her for weeks, and nearly resulted in doctors amputating her hand.
She married a 40-year-old executive-search consultant Michelle Rounds, on June 9, 2012, after dating him for over a year. The couple adopted a baby girl named Dakota "Dax" O'Donnell, in 2013. Two years later, the duo's divorce was settled and Rosie was awarded full custody of Dax.
In the year 1996, she was a resident of Nyack, New York when she purchased the "Pretty Penny," a Victorian river home that had previously served as the home of Helen Hayes, the American actress and "First Lady of the American Theater." Four years later, she sold the house to businessman Edward M. Kopko.
She is a big fan of the Harry Potter book series, and even offered to play the role of Molly Weasley in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" for free, but the role went to Julie Walters.
It was reported that the filmmakers of "A League of their own," reworked Rosie's part as Doris Murphy - 3rd Base, to fit her personality. Doris was originally going to be another sexpot, like Madonna's character.
During the audition for the role of Betty Rubble in the 1994 movie "The Flintstones," she perfected the famous Betty Rubble laugh and bagged the role, though she was not a perfect match for the character.
In the 1994 movie "Exit to Eden," Rosie's weight noticeably changes in certain scenes. This is because the studio ordered several scenes to be shot before releasing the film, which was several months after principle photography had been completed.
In the year 2006, she donated $5,700,000 to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts including Renaissance Village (a temporary shelter by her For All Kids Foundation, in an effort to assist Katrina victims) day care centers, a rehabilitation center in San Antonio, Texas, and a Habitat for Humanity subdivision in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.