Madonna: What you should know about the pop icon

By CNN Staff

Published August 16, 2020

Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone was born 62 years ago, on Aug. 16, 1958, in Bay City, Michigan. Since then, she's lived a remarkable, accomplished life.

Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

She's sold more than 64 million albums in the US with 12 multi-platinum records. She has a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Michael Campanella/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

Her first hit, in 1984, was "Borderline"

YouTube/Warner Bros. Records

… and the song "Like a Virgin" made her a star


… but it was the song "Material Girl" that made her a superstar and gave her a nickname that would stick with her to this day.

YouTube/Warner Bros. Records

The music industry recognized her achievements, too: Madonna has 28 Grammy Awards nominations and seven wins.

The Life Picture Collection/Getty Images

Although she won a Grammy for a music video in 1991, she didn't win for an audio recording until 1999, for her hit "Ray of Light."

YouTube/Warner Bros. Records

During her long career, she has never shied away from controversy -- and she never rested on her laurels, always presenting new sounds and looks.

Al Bello/Getty Images

A provocative performance of "Like a Virgin" in a wedding dress on the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984 raised plenty of eyebrows.

Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

So did her video for the song "Like A Prayer," which featured burning crosses and Catholic imagery.

G/A Unimedia International/Rex/Shutterstock

In addition to changing her look frequently, Madonna gave her fans creative, show-stopping performances.

Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect/Getty Images

She's dabbled in acting and directing, too. Her best-known roles may well be "Desperately Seeking Susan" and "Evita," in which she took on Andrew Lloyd Webber's music to play Argentine first lady Eva Perón.


And she embraced generations of performers who came after her -- sometimes literally.

Scott Gries/Getty Images

In recent years, Madonna started a nonprofit group providing aid to children in Malawi, including opening the country's first-ever pediatric surgery and intensive care center.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The two-time divorcée also has six children, including four adopted from Malawi.