Wow,Rosie O’Donnell Tells WHAT SHIRLEY DID FOR HER When She Was Broke &Unknown

Posted On : February 6, 2017

When the legendary What’s Happening actress/comedian, Shirley Hemphill, passed away from kidney failure in 1999, not only did she leave a major impact on her millions of fans, she also left a major impact on the many celebrities she so generously helped. One of those celebs is comedian/actress/former talk show host, Rosie O’Donnell. Rosie explains the beautiful things Shirley did for her when she was dead broke -or like the old schoolers used to say- ‘when she didn’t have a pot to pee in, nor a window to through it out of.’ Details below…


Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 9.44.30 AM Rosie met Shirley after she already become a household name on the 70's sitcom, What's Happening. Rosie said that Shirley Hemphill was the first celebrity she'd ever met.At that time, Rosie was a broke and struggling teen comedian, hoping she'd one day be able to reach the level of success Shirley had. Then Shirley did this:Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 9.45.07 AM

Via Playbill: Her [Rosie O'Donnell's] first big break came when she was a teenager. She would do stand-up in comedy clubs and get in using her neighbor's fake ID. She actually was introduced as her neighbor for her first three times since that was the only ID she had! One night Shirley Hemphill saw Rosie do her set and told the shocked owner she wanted Rosie to be her opening act. Rosie was still incredibly green but Shirley wanted to support a new comic, especially a female, and told the owner not only would he have to use Rosie as her opener [each week], he would have to pay her! Rosie wound up making $25 for each gig which, for her, was an incredible amount of money.
That weekly $25 comedy gig, being the opening act for Shirley's (who drew large crowds at the comedy club) stand-up shows, increased Rosie's popularity and led to her being scouted by the national TV show, Talent Search, which which won for seven weeks straight. Rosie was eliminated in the semi-finals, but had garnered enough hype around her name to land her first TV gig on the 80's sitcom, Gimme A Break, starring Nell Carter. After her appearance on Gimme A Break, Star Search called her back to the show. So that's why Rosie is forever grateful to Shirley Hemphill, because she was first celebrity to take a chance on her out of the kindness of her heart. And Shirley's kindness led to a domino effect of success for Rosie O'Donnell.


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