Q: Where did Rosie O'Donnell get her start?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

For the past several years, Rosie O'Donnell has been living the dream of so many of her co-competitors on the classic talent-competition show "Star Search."

Her TV debut was as a standup comedian in an episode of the show in 1984, but she won that episode and so returned -- five more times.

Her official biography says she used her "Star Search" winnings to move from her native New York to Los Angeles to pursue acting. And the plan worked: shortly after arriving, she landed a recurring role in the sitcom "Gimme a Break" in 1986 (her addition was an attempt to freshen up the show in what would be its final season).

After it ended, she landed a gig as a VJ on the VH1 music channel. She held that until the point when VH1 -- ahead of its time -- moved away from just playing videos and toward longer-form programming. They gave her her own show -- one that played to her strengths called "Stand-Up Spotlight" -- which she hosted for four years.

Her next big role was really her breakout one, as wisecracking third basewoman Doris Murphy in the 1992 baseball classic "A League of Their Own."

Her star rose pretty rapidly from there to some major film roles, leading to her getting her own daytime talk show, the aptly named "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," in 1996. The rest -- not all of it as good, as the tabloids will tell you -- is modern-TV history.


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