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When Israeli singer Dana International won the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, the ensuing headlines not only related to her triumph, but also to her gender -- the first transsexual ever to appear at the competition was a media sensation even before "Diva" took the ultimate Eurovision honor. Since that time, her success has only multiplied. Dana International was born Yaron Cohen in Tel Aviv on February 2, 1973, and made her first impact on the local music scene in 1993 with a cover of Whitney Houston's "My Name Is Not Susan" -- retitled "My Name Is Not Sa'ida" for the occasion. Her first album, Dana International, followed, while that same year saw Cohen undergo gender reassignment surgery in London. She returned home as Sharon Cohen. A second album, Umpatampa, consolidated her initial success in 1994, proving a hit around the Middle East and earning Dana the year's Best Female Artist title at the Israeli Music Awards. Further successes followed, withEP Tampa in 1995 and the 1996 album Maganuna -- home to the hits "Don Quixote," "Cinquemilla," and "Waving." In 1997 she recorded Another Sex, an album with fellow Israeli star Eran Zur. Dana International first appeared at Eurovision in 1995, when she finished second in the Israeli qualifying competition. She went one better in the 1998 qualifiers and, despite opposition from various Israeli religious groups, went on to represent Israel on the international stage. Her victory was followed by "Diva" becoming a hit across Europe, including a number 11 berth in the U.K. and Top Ten slots elsewhere. The album of the same name was also a smash. Strangely, however, further success was not to follow immediately. A projected record deal with Sony fell through, and covers of Barbra Streisand's "Woman in Love" and Stevie Wonder's "Free" flopped, a fate that also awaited the European Free album. Dana's Israeli career faltered as well, and the 2000 documentary film Lady D was widely regarded as her final glory. But 2001 saw Dana bounce back with her first album in two years, and her biggest hit since Diva. Yoter Ve Yoter (More & More) included the hits "I Won" and "After All," and the renaissance continued with 2002's Ha'chalom Ha'efshari (The Possible Dream). A hits collection, The CDs Collection followed in 2003, before Dana International's career underwent another hiatus. Four years would elapse before she resurfaced with the 2007 hit "Hakol Ze Letová" (It's All for the Best). ~ Dave Thompson
02 February 1973 in Tel Aviv, Israel