Madonna was born Madonna Louise Ciccone in Bay City, Michigan on August 16, 1958. She is a singer-songwriter, recording artist, dancer, entertainer, and actress—perhaps the most iconic female performer of the last few decades, and the most successful female recording artist of all time for both her net worth, which has been estimated at $490 million, and her album sales, at more than 200 million the world over.
Madonna went to the University of Michigan on a dance scholarship after studying ballet as a young girl, but left college in 1977 to pursue a dance career in New York City. She danced with modern dance troupes and later began dating Dan Gilroy, with whom she formed her first band, The Breakfast Club, before going on to another band, Emmy, in 1980.
Madonna got her first record deal in 1982, and in 1984 she released her first number one album, Like A Virgin. Madonna became an instant celebrity, helped in part by her exposure on the new network MTV and her unique style of dress. Girls around the world began to emulate her combinations of lace tops, fishnets and layered pants and skirts. In 1985 Madonna also appeared in her first films, most notably Desperately Seeking Susan.
From then on, her career was a whirlwind of massive hits, huge commercial endorsements, and larger and larger film roles. Her most notable albums to date include 1989’s Like A Prayer, 1992’s Erotica, and 1998’s Ray of Light, which all saw Madonna through massive changes both in her sound and her personal style. She has gone on to release the albums Music (2000), American Life (2003), Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005), and Hard Candy (2008), and has headlined eight successful worldwide tours since 1985. In 1992 she created her own entertainment company, named Maverick. She has starred in the major motion pictures A League of Their Own (1992) and Evita (1996), among others.
Madonna has made an unparalled mark upon popular culture in America and across the world, and has especially influenced female pop artists who have come after her. Madonna has transformed through the decades right in front of the public’s eye. A truly iconic figure in recent history, she continues to be one of the most sought-after celebrities by music fans and the paparazzi around the world.