Madonna

     
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Real Name: Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone
Birthday: 16 August 1958
Sign: Sun in Leo, Moon in Virgo
Place of Birth: Bay City, Michigan, USA.
Education: Attended University of Michigan

 

After a celebrity reaches a certain status, it's easy to forget what they first became famous for, and focus solely on their personality. Madonna is such a star. She shot to fame so fast that it overshadowed most of her musical achievements, and discussing her lifestyle became more common than discussing her music. Nevertheless, one of her greatest gifts how she controlled the media and the public with her music, videos, publicity, and sexuality. 

She relocated from her native Michigan to New York in 1977, with ideas of becoming a ballet dancer. In 1979, she became part of the Patrick Hernandez Revue, a disco group that had the hit single "Born to Be Alive." She traveled to Paris with Hernandez, and it was there that she met Dan Gilroy, who would become her boyfriend. After returning to New York, the team formed the "Breakfast Club", a music and dance group. She played drums for the band, but soon became the lead singer. In 1980, she left the band and created "Emmy" with her earlier boyfriend, drummer Stephen Bray. Soon, they split up the group and began working on disco songs. A demo tape of their music found its way to  a New York-based DJ and producer. Kamins sent the tape to Sire Records, which signed the singer in 1982. Her career had started.

Kamins produced her first single, "Everybody," which became a club and dance smash hit by the end of 1982; her second single, 1983's "Physical Attraction," was another hit. In June of 1983, she had her third success with "Holiday". Her debut album was released in September of 1983; "Holiday" became her first Top 40 hit the following month. "Borderline" became her first Top 10 hit in March of 1984, beginning an amazing run of 19 consecutive Top 10 hits. While "Lucky Star" was climbing to number one, she started working on her first starring role in a feature film, Susan Seidelman's "Desperately Seeking Susan" (1985), about a bored suburban housewife, who seeking adventure to her life, accidentally gets hit on the head, wakes up with amnesia, and is mistaken for a free-spirited New York City drifter named Susan.

Her second album, "Like a Virgin", was released in 1984. The title song hit number one in December, staying at the top for eight weeks. During 1985, she became a worldwide celebrity, selling millions of records on the power of her chic, sexy videos and personality. After "Material Girl" became a number one hit, she started her first national tour backed by the Beastie Boys. "Crazy for You" became her second number one song. 'Desperately Seeking Susan" was released, becoming a box office smash hit.

But things were getting ready to heat up.  During the summer of 1985, both Playboy and Penthouse published nude photos of Madonna from 1977. The world, it seemed, wanted to see Madonna naked, and rushed to buy both the Playboy and Penthouse magazines with her centerfold photo shoot. Her photos stunned the world.

Her reputation continued unabated, with thousands of teenage girls embracing her sexy appearance and fashion style. In July, she married actor Sean Penn; the couple had a bumpy marriage that ended in 1989.

"Papa Don't Preach" became her fourth number one hit. While her musical career was booming, her film career took a nasty hit with the release of "Shanghai Surprise" (1986). Starring alongside Sean Penn, the comedy received bad reviews.

At the start of 1987, she had her fifth number one single with "Open Your Heart," the third number one from "True Blue" alone. The title song from the soundtrack of her third feature film, "Who's That Girl?" was another hit. In 1988, she appeared in David Mamet's "Speed the Plow" on Broadway, and released the album "You Can Dance". After withdrawing the divorce papers she filed at the beginning of 1988, she divorced Sean Penn in 1989.

"Like a Prayer", released in 1989, was her most impressive album. It was another number one hit and launched the number one title track as well as "Express Yourself," "Cherish," and "Keep It Together," three more hits. In April 1990, she started her "Blonde Ambition" tour, which ran throughout the year. "Vogue" became a number one hit, setting the stage for her co-starring role in Warren Beatty's "Dick Tracy" (1990); it was her best film role since "Desperately Seeking Susan". 

She released her greatest-hits album, "The Immaculate Collection", at the end of the year. It featured two new songs, including the number one single "Justify My Love," which started another media blitz with its sexy video; the second new song, "Rescue Me," became the highest ranked single by a female artist in United States history. "Truth or Dare", a documentary of the "Blonde Ambition" tour, was released to strong ticket sales during 1991.

She returned to the charts in the summer of 1992 with the number one hit "This Used to Be My Playground," a single featured in the film "A League of Their Own" starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, which featured the singer in a small role. Later that year, she released "Sex", an exclusive soft-core pornographic book that had hundreds of erotic photographs of herself, several models, and other celebrities, including Naomi Campbell and Vanilla Ice. "Sex" received huge negative publicity, yet that didn't stop the album, "Erotica", from selling over ten million copies. 

"Bedtime Stories", released in 1994, was a more tranquil album than "Erotica", and had her biggest hit, "Take a Bow," which lasted seven weeks at number one. It also featured the Björk's song "Bedtime Stories," which became her first song not to make the Top 40; its follow-up, "Human Nature," also failed to make the Top 40. 

Starting in 1995, she began one of her image makeovers as she auditioned for the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Evita" (1996) starring Antonio Banderas. As the filming ended, she announced she was pregnant and her daughter, Lourdes, was born late in 1996, just as "Evita" was due for release. The movie was met with a campaign for an Oscar nomination that resulted in her winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress, but not the Academy Award nomination. The soundtrack for "Evita", however, was a runaway hit, with a dance remix of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and the newly written "You Must Love Me" both becoming hits.

In 1997, she worked with producer William Orbit on "Ray of Light", and was greatly influenced by electronic, techno, and hip-hop, updating her classic dance-pop sound of the late 1990's. "Ray of Light" received excellent reviews and debuted at number one on the charts. Within a month, the record was turning out to be her biggest album since "Like a Prayer". Two years later Madonna returned with "Music" with music from Mark "Spike" Stent and Mirwais, a French electro-pop producer and musician in the style of Daft Punk and Air.

The year 2000 saw the birth of her second child, Rocco, whom she had with filmmaker Guy Ritchie; the two married at the end of the year. With Ritchie as director, the pair released a remake of the film "Swept Away" in 2002. It did not do well at the box office and was one of the least profitable films of the year. Her 2003 album, "American Life", did a little better but was not a huge success. That same year she released a successful children's book, "The English Roses". "Confessions on a Dance Floor" marked her return to music and to the dance-oriented material that had made her a star; released in late 2005, it topped the Billboard charts, and was accompanied by a worldwide tour in 2006, the same year that "I'm Going to Tell You a Secret", a CD/DVD made during her "Re-Invention Tour", came out. In 2007 she released another CD/DVD, "Confessions Tour", this time chronicling her controversial tour of the same name.

In 2008, she divorced director Guy Ritchie in a high profile and public split. The messy breakup cost her $150 million dollars. 

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Madonna
Movies / Videos / VHS / Books
Body of Evidence Madonna:Ciao Italia Concert
Evita Madonnarama : Essays on Sex and Popular Culture
Madonna:Immaculate Collection Madonna : In Her Own Words
Madonna:Like a Virgin Videos Madonna (Pop Culture Legends)
Madonna:Truth or Dare W/Add'L Footage Madonna Superstar : Photographs (Visual Library)
The Making of Evita Madonna : The Rolling Stone Files
Whos That Girl Shanghai Surprise
Madonna:Name of the Game Madonna:Like a Virgin Live
   

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