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Madonna Biography

Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritchie was born August 16, 1958, in Bay City, Michigan. Her mother, Madonna Louise, is of French-Canadian descent and her father, Silvio "Tony" P. Ciccone, was a first-generation Italian-American who worked as Chrysler/General Motors design engineer. She was the third of six children. Her mother died of breast cancer when Madonna was a little girl.

At a young age, she convinced her father to allow her t take dance lessons. When she moved on to high school, not only was she a straight-A student but she was also a cheerleader, and was offered a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan. However, her dance instructor convinced her to pursue a career in dance instead. With just $35 in her pocket, she upped and moved to New York City.

madonna signs a record deal
Madonna joined a band and got local play at dance clubs, attracting the attention of a rep from Sire Records. Her first release was “Everybody” in April 1982. It reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Chart. Her self-titled debut album followed and reached No. 8 on the U.S. albums chart.

Her next album matched her "look" of fishnet stockings and rough-around-the-edges religious jewelry -- Like A Virgin. It quickly became her first No. 1 on the U.S. albums chart, boasting hits like “Dress You Up” and “Material Girl.”

madonna in vision quest
In 1985, she entered the world of acting and appeared in her first flick, Vision Quest. The soundtrack boasted her second No. 1 hit “Crazy For You,” which was nominated for a Grammy. Later that year she also appeared in the movie Desperately Seeking Susan, and Madonna started her first tour, the Like A Virgin Tour.

That year, she also appeared in Playboy and Penthouse for the first time, however without her knowledge. The mags printed black and white pics of her from the 1970s that were illegally run, and she tried to have the images blocked. When they weren’t, she openly criticized the media while capitalizing on the fame and appearing nude in the low-budget film A Certain Sacrifice.

On the personal front, it was around this time that Madonna married actor Sean Penn while filming her video for “Material Girl.”

madonna releases true blue and like a prayer
In 1986, Madonna released the album True Blue, which included the ballad “Live To Tell,” written for the flick At Close Range, starring Sean Penn. Five wildly popular singles followed: “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Open Your Heart,” “La Isla Bonita,” “True Blue,” and “Live To Tell.”

Madonna’s fourth album, Like A Prayer, was a hit, however it created an outrage amongst the Catholic Church. Racy songs like “Express Yourself” and controversial music videos featuring burning crosses created enough of a stir for Pepsi to pull out of a major endorsement deal with the risqué artist.

Her personal life was struggling too, and in 1989, Sean Penn and Madonna officially divorced.

madonna appears in dick tracy and releases vogue
Madonna quickly got back on her feet and, in 1990, she starred alongside Warren Beatty in the movie Dick Tracy. The two were rumored to have had a relationship during the filming of the movie, however the duo quickly quashed the stir after the film's release. The flick featured Madonna’s anthem “Vogue,” her eighth No. 1 single.

That year, she also released her first compilation album, The Immaculate Collection.

madonna releases erotica
Always dabbling between music and acting, Madonna was a part of the star-studded cast of the movie A League of Their Own in 1991, working with Hollywood giants Tom Hanks and Geena Davis. She recorded the song “This Used to Be My Playground” for the film. Madonna even started her own record and music publishing company, Maverick Entertainment, that year.

In 1992, she released her most sexually-charged album, Erotica, and the title track “Erotica” became the highest-debuting single in the U.S. Hot 100 Airplay chart, coming in at No. 2. She also published her first book, SEX.

Then, a year later, she appeared in two films, the erotic thriller Body of Evidence, which contained graphic scenes of S&M and bondage, as well as Dangerous Game, which was released straight-to-video.

The adventurous Madge didn’t stop there. In September 1994, Madonna met fitness instructor Carlos Leon and the two quickly became lovers.

madonna in evita wins golden globe

In November 1995, Madonna released Something to Remember, a compilation album of ballads. Then, a year later, Madonna’s most successful film hit the big screen: Evita. Her two songs on the soundtrack were “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” and “You Must Love Me,” the later garnering her an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song From a Motion Picture. She also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy.

Later that year, Madonna gave birth to her first child, daughter Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon.

Madonna’s 1998 studio album Ray of Light won three 1999 Grammy Awards. The hit single “Beautiful Stranger” was featured in the Mike Myers’ comedy Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.

In 1999, Madonna, who had already cut ties with Carlos Leon, met English screenwriter and film producer Guy Ritchie. In August 2002, Madonna gave birth to son Rocco John Ritchie and married Guy Ritchie that December in Scotland.

In 2000, she appeared in the movie The Next Best Thing, another flick with a Madge hit, “American Pie,” a dance-infused cover version of the Don MacLean original. She released the electronica album Music as well.

madonna releases american life and performs at live 8
In typical Madonna fashion, she never took a break. She continued pursuing a range of projects, and in 2002, she starred in the movie Swept Away, directed by husband Guy Ricthie. A year later, her ninth studio album, American Life, came out. Her 2004 Re-Invention Tour was the highest-grossing tour of the year, raking in a whopping $125 million for the Material Girl. Rolling Stone magazine ranked her No. 36 on their Greatest Artists of all Time that year.

Always the political activist, she participated in two international benefit concerts as well: the Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope and Live 8 in London.

madonna and confessions on a dance floor
One of the things that’s made Madonna so successful is her adaptability. Her music has always reflected the latest club trends while setting a precedence at the same time. Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna’s tenth studio album, produced four hit singles including “Hung Up,” “Get Together” and “Sorry” in 2005.

In 2006, Madonna traveled to Malawi to help build an orphanage and filed for adoption of a Malawi boy despite much controversy over the conditions of the adoption (given Madonna’s celebrity status).

That same year she became the face of the clothing store chain H&M, which resulted in the creation of M by Madonna, her own clothing collection. Her Confessions Tour started shortly after.

On December 13, 2007, Madonna was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Justin Timberlake. Fellow inductees included John Mellencamp and Leonard Cohen.

madonna releases hard candy and 4 minutes

Without skipping a beat, Madonna came out with Hard Candy, her 11th studio album. It boasts collaborations with Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, and Danja. The first single was “4 Minutes.”


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