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Madonna (1958–)

Madonna (1958–)

In the 1980s, Madonna, born Madonna Louise Ciccone, burst upon the national landscape and became a focus of both intense adoration and controversy. Madonna—as singer, dancer, and actress—conveyed a provocative sexuality and fiery ambition that challenged sexual, racial, and religious values.

Madonna portrayed herself as a "Boy Toy" and "Material Girl" who enjoyed life's hedonistic (sensual) pleasures. She courted fame and celebrity with her suggestive lyrics, naughty-girl persona, controversial behavior, and brief marriage to actor Sean Penn (1960–). Her legion of mostly female fans viewed Madonna as a symbol of female empowerment.

Madonna's willingness to defy conventions and political correctness earned her criticism from conservatives and liberals alike. She remained a rock superstar and pop icon (symbol) throughout the 1990s. However, her attempts at a film career were less satisfactory. Her best films include: Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Dick Tracy (1990), and Evita (1998). By 2002, Madonna had married director Guy Ritchie (1968–) and was the mother of two. Her music remains popular and still often fuels the flames of controversy.

—Charles Coletta

For More Information

Anderson, C. Madonna: Unauthorized. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991. (accessed April 1, 2002).

Metz, A., and C. Benson, eds. The Madonna Companion: Two Decades ofCommentary. New York: Schirmer Books, 1999.

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