It’s been a rough month for actress and comedian Rosie O’Donnell. Shortly after recovering her 17-year-old daughter who had been missing for days, the 53-year-old’s father, Edward Joseph O’Donnell, passed away.
People reports that Edward, 81, of Commack, New York, died after a long battle with cancer. He’s preceded in death by his wife, Roseann O’Donnell, who passed away from breast cancer in 1973.
Rosie, one of Edward’s five children, had a tumultuous relationship with her father after her mother Roseann passed away. The actress stated that her father become emotionally unavailable once his wife passed away, and removed almost all traces of Roseann, aside from a record collection.
Yet, in 2012, Rosie said she had forgiven her father for an “abusive childhood,” and said that her father’s upbringing played a significant part in how he treated his own children.
“He had his own issues and demons, he had a very tough childhood, he had an alcoholic, abusive father and never really got the help that I think every person needs when they have lived through that as a child. I think that he had a lot of problems to deal with.”
The road to forgiveness was difficult at times, but Rosie indicated that she finally got a point in her life where it was time to let go of the past, and fortunately, her father knew of her forgiveness before he passed away.
“You get to be 50 years old you can’t still be angry at what your father did in 1970. You have to work it out for yourself and find a place for it in your life and not rehash it forever.”
Growing up as the middle child of Edward’s five children, Rosie recalled in an interview that although they weren’t poor, the children had to share many of their things and shop at second-hand stores.
“We weren’t poor—my father was an electrical engineer. But there were five children. The kids who went to school with us in Dix Hills [New York] would all get Camaros on their 16th birthdays. And at our house, we had a Plymouth Volare with an AM radio. All five of us kids had to use that car. We went to the flea market to buy clothes, not Macy’s.”
Regardless, Rosie pushed through the hard times and eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1984, where she began her career as a stand-up comedian and actress.
So far, Rosie O’Donnell hasn’t given any details regarding when and where her father’s funeral services will take place.
[Photos Courtesy of Monica Schipper/Getty Images]