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Rosie O'Donnell

Roseann "Rosie" O'Donnell (born March 21, 1962) is an eleven-time Emmy Award-winning American television host, stand-up comedian, actress and author. 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 Irish Catholic, O'Donnell lost her mother to cancer as a pre-teen and has consistently stressed values 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. A TV sitcom and a series of movies introduced the comic to a wider 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 a reputation for being "the queen of nice" as well as a reputation for charitable philanthropy. She used the book's $3 million advance to establish her own For All Kids foundation and promoted numerous other charity schemes and 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 conservatives 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.

Early life

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.

Early career

Stand-up/club comedian

O'Donnell toured stand-up clubs from 1979 to 1984. She got her first big break on Star Search, explaining on Larry King Live:

I was 20 years old, and I was at a comedy club in Long Island. This woman came over to me and she said, I think you're funny. Can you give me your number? My dad is Ed McMahon. I was like, yeah, right. I gave her my father's phone number. I was living at home, I'm like, whatever. And about three days later, the talent booker from Star Search called and said, we're going to fly you out to L.A. [...] I won, like, five weeks in a row. And it gave me national exposure.

TV career begins

After this success, she moved on to television sitcom comedy, making her series debut as Nell Carter's neighbor on Gimme a Break! in 1986.

In 1988, she transferred to VH1, where she hosted Stand-up Spotlight, a showcase for up-and-coming comedians. In 1992 she starred in Stand By Your Man, a Fox Network sitcom co-starring Melissa Gilbert. The show bombed, just as O'Donnell's movie career took off.

Movie career

O'Donnell made her feature film debut in A League Of Their Own alongside Tom Hanks and Madonna. Throughout her career, she has taken on an eclectic range of roles: she appeared in Sleepless in Seattle as Meg Ryan's best friend; as Betty Rubble in the live-action film adaptation of The Flintstones with John Goodman; as one of Timothy Hutton's co-stars in Beautiful Girls; as a federal agent comedically paired with Dan Aykroyd in Exit to Eden; as the voice of female gorilla in Disney's Tarzan; and as a baseball-loving nun in M. Night Shyamalan's Wide Awake.

The Rosie O'Donnell Show

In 1996, she began hosting a daytime talk show, The Rosie O'Donnell Show. The show proved extremely successful, winning multiple Emmy awards, and earning O'Donnell the title of "The Queen of Nice" for her style of light-hearted banter with her guests and interactions with the audience. As part of her playful banter with her studio audience, O'Donnell often launched koosh balls at the crowd and camera. She also professed an infatuation with Tom Cruise.

With New York City as the show's homebase, O'Donnell displayed her love of Broadway musicals and plays by having cast members as guests, encouraging the audience to see shows, premiering production numbers as well as promoting shows with ticket give-aways. After the September 11, 2001 attacks Broadway and tourism in New York City was down and many shows were in danger of closing. O'Donnell was among many in the entertainment field who helped the city rebound by encouraging viewers to visit and support the performing arts. She announced that she would donate $1 million dollars for aid in the rescue efforts and encouraged other celebrities and citizens alike to "give till it hurts".

In 2002, she left her talk show. The show was then replaced by The Caroline Rhea Show, with comedian Caroline Rhea and ran for one additional season.

Gun control controversies

After the Columbine shootings, O'Donnell became an outspoken supporter of gun control and a major figure in the Million Mom March. During the April 19, 1999, broadcast of her talk show, she stated, "You are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun, I think you should go to prison." O'Donnell previously had remarked, "I don't personally own a gun, but if you are qualified, licensed and registered, I have no problem."

On May 19, 1999, a month after the Columbine shootings, O'Donnell interviewed actor Tom Selleck, who was promoting a film The Love Letter. After a commercial break, O'Donnell confronted him about his recent commercial for the National Rifle Association and challenged him about the NRA's position on the use of assault rifles. According to Selleck, the two had agreed not to discuss the topic prior to his appearance on the show. O'Donnell maintains that Selleck and his publicist had been informed that the topic would be discussed. She said at the end of the segment the conversation had "not gone the way I had hoped" and added "if you feel insulted by my questions, I apologize, because it was not a personal attack. It was meant to bring up the subject as it is in the consciousness of so many today." Around the same time, the cast from Annie Get Your Gun was to appear on the show but refused O'Donnell's request to remove the line "I can shoot a partridge with a single cartridge" from the song "Anything You Can Do" and agreed to perform "My Defenses Are Down" instead.

Later in 1999, O'Donnell discontinued her contract with Kmart as their spokeswoman as gun enthusiasts complained that she shouldn't be the spokesperson for the largest gun retailer. O'Donnell countered that "Kmart is, in fact, a seller of hunting rifles, not handguns or assault weapons. Such sales are not illegal or immoral in any way when they are conducted ... with background checks and safety locks available." Kmart employees told the New York Daily News that it was Kmart who terminated the agreement with O'Donnell, which both Kmart and O'Donnell denied publicly.

In May 2000, O'Donnell's bodyguard applied for a concealed firearm permit in Connecticut. O'Donnell stated that it was not she who requested the permit, but Kroll, the security firm through which the guard was hired and was contracted by O'Donnell's employer Warner Brothers. Numerous parents of children who attended the same school as O'Donnell's children expressed their concern about the possibility of O'Donnell's bodyguard being armed while on school grounds. O'Donnell confirmed "the guard does not normally have a gun, but is trained in self-defense techniques. And there was never any intention of his carrying a gun at school." O'Donnell added that because of threats, she and her family need protection, which she attributes, ironically, to her "tough gun-control rhetoric".

Charitable works

Charitable book deal

In May 1996, Warner Books advanced O'Donnell $3 million to write a memoir. She used the money to seed her For All Kids foundation to help institute national standards for day care across the country. Her memoir, Find Me, was released in April 2002 and became the second highest on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Listerine charity kissing

San Francisco public relations firm Fineman Associates awarded top prize to Procter & Gamble Co.'s designation of O'Donnell as "unkissable" in a promotion for its Scope mouthwash on the 1997 annual list of the nation's worst public relations blunders. In response to the promotion, the "unkissable" O'Donnell partnered with Warner Lambert's competitor Listerine who donated bottles of mouthwash to the studio audience and donated $1,000 to charity every time a hosted guest would kiss her in exchange for O'Donnell promoting their product. On occasion, the guests would offer multiple kisses and People reported O'Donnell "smooched her way to more than $350,000.

Personal contribution

On December 15, 2006, at a one-night charity event on the cruiseship Norwegian Pearl, Elizabeth Birch, Executive Director for the Rosie's For All Kids Foundation, confirmed that $50 million from her five-year contract with O'Donnell's talk show were donated in an irrevocable trust to charity. She is also reported to have contributed several hundred thousand dollars to rehabilitate contemporary war veterans who have lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"For All Kids" foundation

Since 1997, Rosie's For All Kids Foundation, overseen by Elizabeth Birch, has awarded more than $22 million in Early Childhood Care and Education program grants to over 900 nonprofit organizations. On October 30, 2006, she was honored by the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. "It's our privilege to be honoring and hosting Rosie," said NYSPCC president David Stack in a statement. "Her Rosie's for All Kids Foundation has awarded more than $22 million in grants to over 1,400 child-related organizations, and that's just one of her many impressive activities on behalf of children."

On November 1, 2006, Nightline aired a video report about the opening of The Children's Plaza and Family Center in Renaissance Village, a FEMA trailer park in Louisiana. This was an emergency response initiative of Rosie's For All Kids Foundation with the help of many local nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses, all efforts were to assist the families displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

On May 18, 2007, O'Donnell and Pogo Games announced a joint-effort to raise money for Rosie's All Kids Foundation. EA, which owns Pogo, committed $30,000 and more money can be raised based on the amount of playing time people spend on certain games. They are also holding a sweepstakes in which winners get to fly to New York and meet Rosie and attend a charity function as her guest.

"Rosie's Broadway Kids" foundation

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. Rosie's Broadway Kids serves more than 4,500 teachers, students, and their family members at 21 schools. Currently programs are in Harlem, Midtown West, Chelsea, Lower East Side, East Village, and Chinatown. All net profits from O'Donnell's 2007 book Celebrity Detox are also being donated to Rosie's Broadway Kids.

True Colors tour

During the summer of 2007 Rosie was a guest on the multi-artist True Colors Tour, which traveled through 15 cities in the United States and Canada. The tour, sponsored by the gay cable channel Logo, began on June 8, 2007. Hosted by comedian Margaret Cho and headlined by Cyndi Lauper, the tour also included Debbie Harry, Erasure, The Gossip, Rufus Wainwright, The Dresden Dolls, The MisShapes, Indigo Girls, The Cliks and other special guests. Profits from the tour helped to benefit the Human Rights Campaign as well as P-FLAG and The Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Rosie appeared again on True Colors Tour 2008.

Rosie magazine

In 2000, O'Donnell partnered with the publishers of McCall's to revamp the magazine as Rosie's McCall's (or, more commonly, Rosie). The magazine was launched as a competitor to fellow talk show hostess Oprah Winfrey's monthly magazine. Rosie covered issues including breast cancer, foster care and other matters of concern to O'Donnell. In the September 2000 issue she shared that "she has struggled with depression her entire life" and decided to start medications when she realized her fears were affecting her family.

With a strong start and a circulation close to 3.5 million things looked promising but the magazine stumbled as conflicts emerged between O'Donnell and the editors. The contract gave O'Donnell control over editorial process and editorial staff but veto power remained with publisher Gruner+Jahr USA. O'Donnell quit the magazine in September 2002 following a dispute over editorial control. "If I'm going to have my name and my brand on the corner of a magazine, it has to be my vision" she told People. Rosie magazine folded in 2003.

In late 2003, O'Donnell and the publishers each sued the other for breach of contract. The publishers claimed that, by removing herself from the magazine's publication, she was in breach of contract. The trial received considerable press coverage. O'Donnell would often give brief press interviews outside of the courtroom responding to various allegations. Of note was a former magazine colleague and breast cancer survivor who testified that O'Donnell said to her on the phone that people who lie "get sick and they get cancer. If they keep lying, they get it again". O'Donnell apologized the next day and stated "I'm sorry I hurt her the way I did, that was not my intention." The judge ruled against both sides and dismissed the case.

In 2006, O'Donnell responded to a question on the "Ask Ro" section of her website in which she stated that she would love to do another magazine. In addition, O'Donnell has written a new book, Celebrity Detox, which was released on October 9, 2007.

Books

In 2002, O'Donnell wrote Find Me, a combination of memoir, mystery and detective story with an underlying interest in re-uniting birth mothers with their children. In addition to cataloguing her childhood and early adulthood, the book delved into O'Donnell's relationship with a woman with multiple personality disorder who posed as an under-aged teen who had become pregnant by rape. The book reached number two on the New York Times bestseller list.

On October 9, 2007, O'Donnell released Celebrity Detox, her second memoir which focuses on the struggles with leaving fame behind, noting her exits from The Rosie O'Donnell Show and The View.

Coming out

In her January 31, 2002, appearance on the sitcom Will & Grace, she played a lesbian mom. A month later as part of her act at the Ovarian Cancer Research benefit at Caroline's Comedy Club O'Donnell came out as a lesbian, announcing "I'm a dyke!" "I don't know why people make such a big deal about the gay thing. ... People are confused, they're shocked, like this is a big revelation to somebody." The announcement came two months before the end of the hosting of her talk show.

Although she also cited the need to put a face to gays and lesbians her primary reason was to bring attention to the gay adoption issue. O'Donnell is a foster and adoptive mother. She protested against adoption agencies, particularly in Florida, that refused adoptive rights to gay and lesbian parents.

Diane Sawyer interviewed O'Donnell in a March 14, 2002, episode of PrimeTime Thursday, telling USA Today she chose to talk to Sawyer because she wanted an investigative piece on Florida's ban on gay adoption. She told Sawyer if that was done, "I would like to talk about my life and how (the case) pertains to me." She spoke about the two gay men in Florida who face having a foster child they raised removed from their home. State law won't let them adopt because Florida bans gay or bisexual people from adopting.

O'Donnell's coming out drew criticism from some LGBT activists who cited her repeated references to being enamored of Tom Cruise on The Rosie O'Donnell Show as deceptive. She responded in her act stating, "I said I wanted him to mow my lawn and bring me a lemonade. I never said I wanted (to perform a sex act on him)."

Taboo

After leaving her show and coming out, O'Donnell returned to stand-up comedy, and cut her hair. O'Donnell told the press that her haircut was meant to mimic the haircut of former Culture Club backup singer Helen Terry. She subsequently attributed the haircut as a way to emulate Boy George, in hopes that he would allow her to produce his stage show Taboo. O'Donnell did invest in and produce the show, but it was an expensive failure on Broadway.

Family life

Marriage

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 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. All the same-sex marriage licenses were later voided by the California Supreme Court.

Family

The couple are parents to adopted children Parker Jaren (born May 25, 1995), Chelsea Belle (born September 20, 1997), and Blake Christopher (born December 5, 1999). Their fourth child, Vivienne Rose (who was conceived through artificial insemination), was born November 29, 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. O'Donnell and fellow actress Bridget Moynahan are 3rd cousins.

R Family Vacations

In 2003 O'Donnell and Carpenter partnered with travel entrepreneur Gregg Kaminsky to launch R Family Vacations catering to gays and lesbians, "the very first all gay and lesbian family vacation packages" where "gays and lesbians can bring their kids, their friends, and their parents." Although O'Donnell is not involved on a day-to-day basis, she does contribute to the creative aspects of "advertising and marketing materials" and initiated the idea for the company when she filled in as a last-minute replacement headliner on one of Kaminsky's Atlantis Events gay cruises and also came up with the name "R Family Vacations."

On July 11, 2004, the first cruise was held with 1600 passengers including 600 children. In addition to traditional entertainment and recreational activities, the company partnered with Provincetown’s Family Pride, a 25-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for GLBT families to host discussions on "adoption, insemination, surrogacy, and everything else that would be helpful to gay parenting." All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise, a documentary film about the trip debuted on HBO on 6 April 2006 and was nominated for three Emmy Awards. Of the experience O'Donnell stated "we didn’t really realize the magic that was going to take place. People who had never met another gay family met other families and it was powerful."

The View

On September 5 2006 O'Donnell replaced Meredith Vieira as a co-host and moderator of the show. Star Jones quit with some speculating Jones's conservative views would be in constant tension with O'Donnell's more liberal counterpoint. O'Donnell had also disputed Jones's route of rapid weight loss, alluding that it must have been gastric bypass surgery rather than dieting and exercise alone as Star had insisted. As a big-name talent O'Donnell drew criticism for her opinions while keeping the show's "buzz factor up." O'Donnell is credited with helping The View be more news-focused while still embracing the "fluff" of daytime TV talkshows (celebrities, fashion and food). Despite the overall downward trend for most daytime broadcast shows, ratings surged 27% over its year-ago Nielsen numbers. Overall the show was the fourth most watched in all of daytime in the key demographic of women 18-49, and scored record ratings in the total viewer category with an average of 3.4 million viewers -- up 15% vs. the same time in 2005. As a "big-name talent" she drew criticism for her opinions while keeping the show's "buzz factor up."

Quickly acclimating to a four-person format, O'Donnell led the daytime women's chatfest steering the opening "Hot Topics" portion of the show where newsworthy items were discussed. Unlike previous years, politics and taboo subjects were readily explored with the two comics (O'Donnell and Joy Behar) often giving strong opinions against President Bush's policies including the war in Iraq which was losing support amongst Americans. As a conservative counterpoint Elisabeth Hasselbeck would support the Bush Administration's issues and the two would get into an adversarial give-and-take at least until both had made their points. Always outspoken, O'Donnell sometimes provoked debate, one time stating "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam" or criticizing fellow TV personalities. In January 2007, she questioned American Idol for airing auditions that humiliated contestants. "To make fun of someone’s physical appearance. And when they leave the room, laugh hysterically at them. Three millionaires, one probably intoxicated.

In 2008, The View won an Emmy for "Outstanding Special Class Writing" for a specially-themed Autism episode broadcast when O'Donnell was co-host. Janette Barber, O'Donnell's longtime friend and producer/writer of the Rosie O'Donnell Show, accepted the award on behalf of herself and the other two winners, Christian McKiernan and Andrew Smith.

Controversies

O'Donnell's outspokeness and spontaneousness sometimes led to her views being recirculated by other media outlets, often surprising The View co-hosts including O'Donnell. Frequently portrayed unfavorably by conservative media outlets and what she deemed as Republican pundits, O'Donnell lamented that they were focusing on her comments instead of more important national or world issues like the ongoing Iraq War and more serious national and international issues. Perhaps as a result of her famous controversies O'Donnell was named "The Most Annoying Celebrity of 2007" by a PARADE reader's poll. O'Donnell responded by stating "Frankly, most celebrities are annoying ... and I suppose I am the most annoying, but, whatever."

Kelly Ripa/Clay Aiken

On November 20, 2006, O'Donnell commented on Live with Regis and Kelly co-host Kelly Ripa's words to guest co-host Clay Aiken, when he put his hand over her mouth as if to stop her from talking. Ripa apparently did not appreciate his action and responded, "I just don't know where that hand's been, honey." O'Donnell opined, "If that was a straight man... if that was a guy that she didn't question his sexuality, she would have said a different thing." Ripa responded to O'Donnell's comments, saying, "I have three kids (and) he's shaking hands with everybody in the audience. It's cold and flu season." O'Donnell also added that in three months on the show she has never before said something was homophobic. "I feel for the kid," O'Donnell said of Aiken, who has been dogged by questions about his sexuality.

Mocking Chinese language

On December 5, 2006, O'Donnell made a comment in reference to the November 29, 2006 appearance by Danny DeVito, she was amazed that it was an international news media item, and joked that it was being talked about as far away as China. "You know, you can imagine in China it's like, 'Ching-chong, ching-chong. Danny DeVito. Ching-chong, ching-chong-chong. Drunk. The View. Ching-chong.'" Some, including the Asian American Journalists Association, interpreted her comments as a "mockery of the Chinese language to which O'Donnell responded it was simply her sense of humor and not meant to demean. She later apologized on air saying, "To say ching chong to someone is very offensive, and some Asian people have told me it's as bad as the n-word. Which I was like, 'Really? I didn't know that.'"

Donald Trump

On December 20, 2006, O'Donnell criticized billionaire Donald Trump for holding a press conference to reinstate Miss USA Tara Conner, accusing him of using her scandal to "generate publicity for the Miss USA Pageant" (to which he owns the rights) by announcing he was giving her a second chance. Conner had violated pageant guidelines by clubbing and drinking underage, as well as having "wild nights" and alleged sexual liaisons (including kissing and "dirty dancing") with Miss Teen USA Katie Blair in public, yet was allowed to keep her crown on condition that she enter rehab. O'Donnell commented that due to Trump's multiple marital affairs and questionable business bankruptcies, he was not a moral authority for young people in America. She stated, "Left the first wife, had an affair. Left the second wife, had an affair -- but he's the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America!"

In response, Trump began a media blitz in which he appeared on various television shows, either in person or by phone, threatening to sue O'Donnell. He called her mean-spirited names, threatened to take away her partner Kelli, and claimed that Barbara Walters regretted hiring her. Walters responded that both Trump and O'Donnell are highly opinionated people and that Trump has never filed for bankruptcy, but several of his casino companies did but are now out of bankruptcy. She also denied that she was unhappy with O'Donnell, saying, "I have never regretted, nor do I now, the hiring of Rosie O'Donnell."

7 World Trade Center collapse

On March 26, 2007, in a conversation about the Bush administration's rationale for the invasion of Iraq, O'Donnell stated that 7 World Trade Center had been imploded, in line with 9/11 conspiracy theories. When asked by Hasselbeck who she thought was responsible, she commented that she had no idea, but according to the Miami Herald she suggested in her blog that it was done to destroy evidence of the corporate financial scandals at Enron and WorldCom. Popular Mechanics posted a response on its website disputing the claims.

Accusations of anti-Catholicism

O'Donnell has been accused of serial anti-Catholicism and labeled a bigot by Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, for what he deems "relentless and profoundly ignorant attacks on the Catholic Church and its teachings. On the 24 February 2003 episode of Phil Donahue's talk show O'Donnell referred to the "pedophile scandal"* in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston resulting in $157 million awarded to 983 claimants, stating "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." (*Pedophile, as in this instance, is commonly misused to describe all sexual offenders of children.)

On The View O'Donnell has regularly joked about communion rituals alongside co-host Behar's drunk priest comments. On 2 October 2006 she compared the Republican Party cover-up of the Mark Foley scandal to the cover-up of child sexual abuse by Catholic Church officials who actively concealed perpetrators by moving them from parish to parish as detailed in Amy Berg's award-winning film about the abuse within the Catholic church. O'Donnell said "the most interesting thing about Deliver Us from Evil (is) that the person who was in charge of investigating all the allegations of pedophilia in the Catholic church from the ‘80s until just recently was guess who? The current Pope." Although Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from November 1981 to April 2005, responsibility to investigate sexual abuse of minors by priests only started in 2001 and the Pope has denounced the abuse.

On April 19, 2007 the all-woman panel on The View discussed the Supreme Court of the United States ruling on Gonzales v. Carhart decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. O'Donnell cited a Gloria Steinem quote, "If men could get pregnant abortion would be a sacrament" adding "How many Supreme Court judges are Catholic?" and "[H]ow about separation of church and state?" This sparked reaction from conservatives calling her statements "anti-Catholic bigotry" and suggested that such statements against other religions would not be tolerated.

O'Donnell/Hasselbeck argument

O'Donnell has condemned many of the Bush administration's policies, especially the war in Iraq and the resulting occupation. She consistently brought up recent military deaths and news about the war, and has criticized the US media for its lack of attention to these issues. On 17 May 2007 O'Donnell rhetorically asked,
655,000 Iraqi civilians dead. Who are the terrorists? ... if you were in Iraq and another country, the United States, the richest in the world, invaded your country and killed 655,000 of your citizens, what would you call us?
Conservative commentators responded by claiming O'Donnell was comparing American soldiers to terrorists. On 23 May 2007 a heated discussion ensued, in part, because of what O'Donnell perceived as Hasselbeck's unwillingness to defend O'Donnell as not against the troops with O'Donnell asking her "Do you believe I think our troops are terrorists?" Hasselbeck answered in the negative but also stated "Defend your own insinuations. O'Donnell stated that Republican pundits were mischaracterising her statements and the right-wing media would portray her as a bully attacking "innocent pure Christian Elisabeth" whenever they disagreed. Despite repeated attempts by their co-hosts to change the topic or cut to a commercial break, O'Donnell and Hasselbeck continued their debate.

According to ABC News, O'Donnell said that she knew her time on the show was over when she saw the exchange reported in the news media with the split screen effect showing her and Hasselbeck on either side. O'Donnell and ABC agreed to cut short her contract agreement on May 25, 2007 as a result of this issue. ABC News reported that her arguments with Hasselbeck brought the show its best ratings ever.

Departure

On April 25 2007, O'Donnell announced she would be leaving the show as a co-host when her contract expired because the network could not come to terms on the length of a new contract, but that she planned to return as an occasional correspondent. On the 30 April 2007 show Walters announced that O'Donnell would be listed by Time magazine as one of their 100 most influential people. On 25 May 2007 it was announced by ABC and O'Donnell that she would not stay until the end of her contract (which was supposed to end on June 21, 2007). On 4 September 2007 Whoopi Goldberg replaced O'Donnell as moderator.

JaHeRo (video blog)

On March 27, 2007, O'Donnell started a video blog on her website Rosie.com answering fans questions, giving behind the scenes information and serving as a video diary. Originally featuring only O'Donnell and her hair and make-up artist Helene Macaulay they were soon joined on April 18 by her writer from The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Janette Barber. They call themselves Jahero, which has each of their first name's letters in it. Occasionally Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Barbara Walters make short cameo appearances. Jenny McCarthy appeared once briefly, as has Hasselbeck's mother-in-law and O'Donnell's mother-in-law, her life-partner Kelli's mother. Kathy Griffin also appeared, where she read some of the questions. It has become so popular that O'Donnell and her creative team are currently considering an "on the road" version of the video blog, in which Jahero would star. Although they are unsure of the locations, fan-submitted suggestions will likely influence the tour. Their announced goal was to begin in summer 2007. O'Donnell is the front runner for the "best celebrity blogger" category in the 2007 Blogger's Choice Awards.

The Price is Right

O'Donnell had expressed an interest in replacing Bob Barker as the host of CBS's long-running game show The Price is Right. Barker was a frequent guest on her talk show and told reporters that she "would make a fine host." Although it was reported he had "endorsed" her as a possible successor" Barker said that he had no role in choosing his replacement. On 24 June 2007 she announced on her blog it was not going to happen, implying the decision was hers and was based on her reluctance to uproot her family and move to California. Drew Carey was eventually chosen as the replacement host.

Works

Television

Theater

Filmography

Award ceremonies

Books

  • Find Me (2002)
  • Celebrity Detox (2007)
  • Rosie O'Donnell's Crafty U: 100 Easy Projects The Whole Family Can Enjoy All Year Long (2008)

Awards

Daytime Emmy Awards

Emmy Awards

  • 1999 Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special, 52nd Annual Tony Awards

'''Kids' Choice Awards

  • 2000 Hall of Fame Award

References

External links

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