On this day in 1958, Madonna Louise Ciccone, the entertainment icon later known around the world by her first name only, is born near Detroit, Michigan. After rising to stardom as a pop singer and dancer in the 1980s, Madonna added acting to her resume, with roles in such films as Desperately Seeking Susan, Dick Tracy, A League of Their Own and Evita. The provocative performer, who often tackled sexual and religious themes in her work, also became famous for her ever-changing hairstyles and fashion sense as well as her personal life, which remains an ongoing source of fascination to the tabloid media.
Madonna was raised in a Catholic family in the suburbs of Detroit. After dropping out of the University of Michigan in 1978, the future “Material Girl” moved to New York City to become a dancer. She burst onto the music scene in 1982 with her dance single “Everybody,” which was followed by her self-titled debut album in 1983. She performed the title track of her second album, Like a Virgin, at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, wearing her trademark “Boy Toy” belt. Like a Virgin, Madonna’s first album to reach the No. 1 spot on the music charts, was followed by True Blue (1986) and Like a Prayer (1989), both of which also reached the top of the charts and helped establish her as one of the best-selling artists of the 1980s. Other albums have included Bedtime Stories (1994), Ray of Light (1998), Music (2000), American Life (2003), Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005) and Hard Candy (2008). In March 2008, the chameleonic hitmaker was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Madonna made her acting debut in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), which was followed by Shanghai Surprise (1986), co-starring her first husband, Sean Penn, and Who’s That Girl (1987). In Dick Tracy (1990), Madonna acted opposite Warren Beatty, with whom she became romantically involved during filming. In 1991, she starred in Madonna: Truth or Dare?, a behind-the-scenes documentary about her “Blonde Ambition” tour. In 1992, Madonna caused a scandal with her Erotica album as well as a controversial, adult-themed book of photos titled Sex. Also that year, she appeared on the big-screen in A League of Their Own, a well-received movie about an all-female baseball league, co-starring Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Rosie O’Donnell.
In 1996, Madonna took on her most ambitious role yet, playing Eva Peron, the celebrated former first lady of Argentina, in the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Evita. She received a Golden Globe for Best Actress for the performance. In 2000, Madonna appeared in the critically derided The Next Best Thing, playing a woman who has a child with her gay best friend (Rupert Everett). In 2002, she starred in another bomb, Swept Away, directed by her second husband, Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch).
In addition to her acting credits, Madonna’s music has been included on numerous movie soundtracks, including Die Another Day (2002) and Get Smart (2008). She made her directorial debut in 2008 with a film titled Filth and Wisdom.