Rosie O'Donnell has taken her popularity and put it to good use. As a tireless crusader for children, she established the "Rosie's For All Kids Foundation," in 1997. Since its inception, the foundation has raised more than $60 million and awarded more than $27 million dollars in grants to over 1,400 child-related non-profit organizations to benefit low income families across the country. In 2005, Ms. O'Donnell established a fund to provide $3 million dollars to children and families displaced by Katrina which, among other projects built the first-ever childcare facility in a FEMA housing site, at Renaissance Village in Louisiana. In 2003, Ms. O'Donnell established "Rosie's Broadway Kids," a program that provides free in-school, after-school and summer instruction in musical theater to the public school children of New York. In February 2009, Rosie's Broadway Kids opened the door to its new home, Maravel Arts Center, a performing arts school in the heart of New York City's theater district.
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 in 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 Emmy's 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"); 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 tenth 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's Hallmark Hall of Fame production, "Riding the Bus with My Sister," directed by Angelica Huston and co-starred 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 back 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 "Turk" in 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 Tony's earned its highest ratings in 10 years, much credit 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 80's 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, artwork, answers questions, and keeps a blog. The award-winning website has been recognized as one of the best celebrity blogs by Entertainment Weekly and earned a Blogger's Choice Award in 2007. In May of 2007, Time Magazine named Ms. O'Donnell one of the one hundred 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 10:00am - 12:00pm. 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 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.
For more information, visit the Rosie's Theater Kids official website.