Encyclopedia Of Detroit


The famous pop singer Madonna was born Madonna Louise Ciccone on August 16, 1958 in Bay City, Michigan. She was raised in Pontiac and Rochester Hills, north of Detroit. She studied ballet as a child but attended the University of Michigan on a dance scholarship, turning to modern dance and studying with famed choreographer and dancer Martha Graham. It was Graham who dubbed Madonna “Madame X,” a name she would return to later in her career. However, she dropped out after two years and moved to New York City to pursue a career as a dancer.

There she worked as a waitress then backup dancer and singer. She formed a rock band, the Breakfast Club, with boyfriend Dan Gilroy, followed by a second band, Emmy, in which she wrote songs with band co-founder Stephen Bray.

In 1982 she was signed by Sire Records and started her solo career as a singer. She released her first album, Madonna, in 1983. Her second album, Like a Virgin, was the first by a female artist to top five million sales in the United States. Since then, Madonna has made more than a dozen albums, starred in stage and film, directed two films, and has initiated several charitable and business ventures.

Notable films that Madonna acted in are A League of Their Own and Evita. She has won seven Grammy Awards for her albums and songs and a Golden Globe for her starring role in Evita. In 1992 she created her entertainment company, Maverick, a joint endeavor with Time Warner.

Madonna’s concerts and world tours set attendance records and raised her to cult status for often sexually charged performances. She was a 2008 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2015 Guinness World Records named Madonna as the best-selling female artist of all time.

Ray of Light and Raising Malawi are two of Madonna’s charitable foundations. She is a follower of kabala, a belief dealing with Jewish mysticism.

Madonna was married to actor Sean Penn from 1985-1989. She had a daughter, Lourdes Maria in 1996 with physical trainer Carlos Leon, and a son Rocco with second husband, director Guy Ritchie, with whom she was married from 2000-2008. The couple adopted a son from Malawi, David Banda. She later adopted three more children from Malawi.



Madonna on the cover of The Rolling Stone Magazine, 2009 - 2012.005.033

Madonna's album "Like a Virgin", 1984 - 2012.005.018

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