Hillary Clinton Says She Is Running for Her Mom & All the Dorothys -- Maybe Even These Famous Ones

Hillary Clinton is talking about the real inspiration behind her run for president, and surprise: It's her mother! In her new TV campaign ad, Hillary introduces America to her mother, Dorothy Rodham. And her story is not at all what you'd expect.


Dorothy Rodham's painful childhood almost sounds like the beginning of Jane Eyre. She was abandoned as an 8-year-old. Her grandparents took her in, but reluctantly. And it wasn't until she went to work for another family at the age of 14 that she discovered what a family looks like when the parents actually love their children.

Fortunately there were other adults in Dorothy's life who "showed her kindness and gave her a chance," and she became the tough but loving woman who raised Hillary Rodham Clinton. Even if you're not a Clinton supporter, you'll find the story of her mother's fortitude inspiring.

When Clinton says at the end of her ad, "This is why I'm doing this, for all the Dorothys," we know she means other strong women like her mother who "fight for their families, who never give up." But we can't help thinking about these other famous Dorothys -- real and fictional.

Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz

She's the curous little girl who gets swept up in a tornado, dumped into a magic kingdom, and tasked with the job of killing a witch. Too much for such a sweet gal? Not at all -- she's already got one witch assassination under her belt. Along the way she manages to win the loyalty of a heartless tin man and a lion, so you know she'd probably kick butt in politics. If only she'd stuck around for the job of Wizard instead of handing it off and heading home!

Dorothy Hamill

Back in the 1970s Dorothy Hamill was as famous for her Olympic medals in figure skating as she was for her sassy, short wedge haircut. But Hamill was so much more than her hair! As a kid she showed up for practice at 4:30 a.m. Her hard work paid off, and long after her Olympic days she was still known as one of America's best-known athletes. She is also a breast cancer survivor.

Dorothy Zbornak

Bea Arthur played this sarcastic, tough broad with a heart of gold on Golden Girls. She intimidated her roommates, Rose and Blanch -- and sometimes even her mother, Sophia. But underneath it all they knew she loved them. In her way. Come to think of it, she kind of reminds us of Hillary.

Dorothy Height

This Dorothy was an accomplished civil rights leader and educator. Back in 1929 she received a college scholarship from the Elks to attend Barnard, but even though she'd been accepted they turned her away because of their unwritten policy of only allowing two black students at a time. She studied instead at NYU and went on to become the president of the National Council of Negro Women. In 1994 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 2004 she received a Congressional Gold Medal.

Dorothy Parker

dorothy parker

You may have used one of writer Dorothy Parker's famous witicisms without even knowing it. "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses" -- sound familiar? How about, "Beauty is only skin-deep, but ugly goes straight to the bone." Or, "Don't look at me in that tone of voice." (We could do this all day!) Parker was a poet and journalist in the early 20th century. She was a member of the famous Algonquin Round Table, was at one time blacklisted as a Communist, and left her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when she died.

Is there something about that name Dorothy? It sure brings out a certain kind of toughness and determination with a big heart in some women. Maybe the Dorothys in your life are like that, too?


Images via TIMOTHY A. CLARY / Staff / Getty Images; © JASON REED/Reuters/Corbis; © Bettmann/CORBIS

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