Amazing story of Ellen DeGeneres
Forbes released it's list of Top 100 Celebrity earners in the world. Ellen DeGeneres
is at No.10. DeGeneres came out publicly as a lesbian in an appearance on The
Show. She is 55 years of age.
Ellen Lee DeGeneres was born on January 26, 1958. She is an American stand-up
comedian, television host and actress. She has hosted the syndicated talk show
The Ellen DeGeneres Show since 2003.
As a film actress, she starred in Mr. Wrong, appeared in EDtv and The Love
Letter, and provided the voice of Dory in the Disney-Pixar animated film Finding
Nemo, for which she was awarded the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress,
the only time a voice performance has won a Saturn Award. She was a judge on
American Idol in its ninth season.
DeGeneres has hosted both the Academy Awards and the Primetime Emmys.
She starred in two television sitcoms, Ellen from 1994 to 1998 and The Ellen
Show from 2001 to 2002. During the fourth season of Ellen in 1997, Shortly
afterwards, her character Ellen Morgan also came out to a therapist played by
Winfrey, and the series went on to explore various LGBT issues including the
coming out process. She has won thirteen Emmys and numerous other awards for her
work and charitable efforts.
DeGeneres was born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana, the daughter of Elizabeth
Jane "Betty" Pfeffer, a speech therapist, and Elliott Everett DeGeneres, an
insurance agent. She has one brother, Vance, a musician and producer. She is of
French, English, German, and Irish descent. She was raised as a Christian
Scientist until age 13. In 1973, her parents filed for separation and were
divorced the following year. Shortly after, Ellen's mother married Roy
Gruessendorf, a salesman. Betty Jane and Ellen moved with Gruessendorf from the
New Orleans area to Atlanta, Texas. Vance stayed with his birth father.
DeGeneres graduated from Atlanta High School in May 1976, after completing her
first years of high school at Grace King High School in Metairie, Louisiana. She
moved back to New Orleans to attend the University of New Orleans, where she
majored in communication studies. After one semester, she left school to do
clerical work in a law firm with her cousin Laura Gillen. She also held a job
selling clothes at the chain store the Merry-Go-Round at the Lakeside Shopping
Centre. Other working experiences included J. C. Penney, being a waitress at TGI
Friday's and another restaurant, a house painter, a hostess, and a bartender.
She relates much of her childhood and career experiences in her comedic work.
On a February 9, 2011, episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, DeGeneres told her
studio audience via a letter from the New England Genealogical Society that she
is Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge's 15th cousin via their shared common
ancestor Thomas Fairfax.
DeGeneres started performing stand-up comedy at small clubs and coffee houses.
By 1981 she was the emcee at Clyde's Comedy Club in New Orleans. DeGeneres cites
Woody Allen and Steve Martin as her main influences at this time. In the early
1980s she began to tour nationally, being named Showtime's Funniest Person in
America in 1982. In 1986 she appeared for the first time on The Tonight Show
Starring Johnny Carson, who likened her to Bob Newhart. When Carson invited her
over for an onscreen chat after her performance, she became the first comedienne
in the show's history to be treated this way.
Television and film work in the late 1980s and early 1990s included roles on
television in Open House and in the film Coneheads. In 1992, producers Neal
Marlens and Carol Black cast DeGeneres in their sitcom Laurie Hill, in the role
of Nurse Nancy MacIntyre. The series was cancelled after only four episodes, but
Marlens and Black were so impressed with DeGeneres' performance that they soon
cast her in their next ABC pilot, These Friends of Mine, which they co-created
with David S. Rosenthal.
DeGeneres starred in a series of films for a show named Ellen's Energy
Adventure, which is part of the Universe of Energy attraction and pavilion at
Walt Disney World's Epcot. The film also featured Bill Nye, Alex Trebek, Michael
Richards, and Jamie Lee Curtis. The show revolved around DeGeneres's falling
asleep and finding herself in an energy-themed version of Jeopardy!, playing
against an old rival, portrayed by Curtis, and Albert Einstein. The next film
had DeGeneres hosting an educational look at energy, co-hosted with Nye. The
ride first opened on September 15, 1996, as Ellen's Energy Crisis, but was
quickly renamed to the more positive-sounding Ellen's Energy Adventure.
Ellen's first regular TV role was in a short-lived Fox sitcom called "Open
House". DeGeneres played the part of Margo Van Meter, an office worker at the
Juan Verde Real Estate company. The show co-starred Alison LaPlaca and Mary Page
DeGeneres's comedy material became the basis of the successful 1994�1998 sitcom
Ellen, named These Friends of Mine during its first season. The ABC show was
popular in its first few seasons due in part to DeGeneres's style of
observational humour; it was often referred to as a "female Seinfeld."
Ellen reached its height of popularity in February 1997, when DeGeneres made her
homosexuality public on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Subsequently her character on
the sitcom came out of the closet in April to her therapist, played by Oprah
Winfrey, revealing that she's gay. The coming-out episode, titled "The Puppy
Episode", was one of the highest- rated episodes of the show. The series
returned for a fifth season, but experienced falling ratings due to ABC's
cutting back on promoting the show. It was believed that The Walt Disney
Company, ABC's parent owner, had become uncomfortable with the subject matter
depicted on the show now that DeGeneres' character was openly gay. In May 1998,
Ellen was cancelled. DeGeneres returned to the stand-up comedy circuit, and
later re-established herself as a successful talk show host.
DeGeneres returned to series television in 2001 with a new CBS sitcom, The Ellen
DeGeneres launched a daytime television talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show in
September 2003. Amid a crop of several celebrity-hosted talk shows surfacing at
the beginning of that season, such as those of Sharon Osbourne and Rita Rudner,
her show has consistently risen in the Nielsen ratings and received widespread
critical praise. It was nominated for 11 Daytime Emmy Awards in its first
season, winning four, including Best Talk Show. The show has won 25 Emmy Awards
in its first three seasons on the air. DeGeneres is known for her dancing and
singing with the audience at the beginning of the show and during commercial
breaks. She often gives away free prizes and trips to her studio audience with
the help of her sponsors.
DeGeneres celebrated her thirty-year class reunion by flying her graduating
class to California to be guests on her show in February 2006. She presented
Atlanta High School with a surprise gift of a new electronic LED marquee sign.
In May 2006, DeGeneres made a surprise appearance at the Tulane University
commencement in New Orleans. Following George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton to the
podium, she came out in a bathrobe and furry slippers. "They told me everyone
would be wearing robes," she said. Ellen then went on to make another
commencement speech at Tulane in 2009.
The show broadcast for a week from Universal Studios Orlando in March 2007.
Skits included DeGeneres going on the Hulk Roller Coaster Ride and the Jaws Boat
Ride. In May 2007, DeGeneres was placed on bed rest due to a torn ligament in
her back. She continued hosting her show from a hospital bed, tended to by a
nurse, explaining "the show must go on, as they say." Guests sat in hospital
beds as well. On May 1, 2009, DeGeneres celebrated her 1000th episode, featuring
celebrity guests such as Oprah Winfrey, Justin Timberlake, and Paris Hilton,
On September 9, 2009, it was confirmed that DeGeneres would replace Paula Abdul
as a judge of the ninth season of American Idol. Her role started after the
contestant auditions, at the beginning of "Hollywood Week". It is reported that
DeGeneres also signed a contract to be a judge on the show for at least five
seasons. She made her American Idol debut on February 9, 2010. However, on July
29, 2010, DeGeneres and Fox executives announced that the comedienne would be
leaving American Idol after one season. In a statement, DeGeneres said that the
series "didn't feel like the right fit for me".
DeGeneres received wide exposure on November 4, 2001, when she hosted the
televised broadcast of the Emmy Awards. Presented after two cancellations due to
network concerns that a lavish ceremony following the September 11 attacks would
appear insensitive, the show required a more sombre tone that would also allow
viewers to temporarily forget the tragedy. DeGeneres received several standing
ovations for her performance that evening, which included the line: "What would
bug the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?"
In August 2005, DeGeneres hosted the 2005 Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony held on
September 18, 2005. This was three weeks after Hurricane Katrina, making it the
second time she hosted the Emmys following a national tragedy. She also hosted
the Grammy Awards in 1996 and in 1997.
On September 7, 2006, DeGeneres was selected to host the 79th Academy Awards
ceremony, which took place on February 25, 2007. This makes her the first openly
gay or lesbian person to have hosted the event. During the Awards show,
DeGeneres said, "What a wonderful night, such diversity in the room, in a year
when there's been so many negative things said about people's race, religion,
and sexual orientation. And I want to put this out there: If there weren't
blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars, or anyone named Oscar, when you
think about that." Reviews of her hosting gig were positive, with one saying,
"DeGeneres rocked, as she never forgot that she wasn't just there to entertain
the Oscar nominees but also to tickle the audience at home." Regis Philbin said
in an interview that "the only complaint was there's not enough Ellen."
DeGeneres was nominated for an Emmy Award as host of the Academy Awards
DeGeneres, like many actors who are also writers, is a member of both the
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the Writers
Guild of America (WGA).
Thus, although DeGeneres verbally supported the 2007 WGA strike, she did not
support it when she crossed the picket line the day after the strike began. Her
representatives said she was competing with other first-run syndicated shows
during the competitive November sweeps period, and that she could not break her
contracts or risk her show's losing its time slot. As a show of solidarity with
the strikers, DeGeneres omitted her monologue during the strike, typically
written by WGA writers. The WGA condemned her while the AFTRA defended her.
DeGeneres lent her voice to the role of Dory, a fish with short-term memory
loss, in the summer 2003 hit animated Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo. The film's
director, Andrew Stanton, claimed that he chose Ellen because she "changed the
subject five times before one sentence had finished" on her show. For her
performance as Dory, DeGeneres won the Saturn Award from the Academy of Science
Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for "Best Supporting Actress"; "Favourite Voice
from an Animated Movie" from the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards; and the Annie
Award from the International Animated Film Association for "Outstanding Voice
Acting". She was also nominated for a Chicago Film Critics Association Award in
the "Best Supporting Actress" category. She also provided the voice of the dog
in the prologue of the Eddie Murphy feature film Dr. Dolittle. Her win of the
Saturn Award marked the first and only time the Academy of Science Fiction,
Fantasy & Horror Films has given the acting award for a voice performance.
In November 2004, DeGeneres appeared, dancing, in an ad campaign for American
Express. Her most recent American Express commercial, a two-minute
black-and-white spot in which she works with animals, debuted in November 2006
and was created by Ogilvy & Mather. In 2007, the commercial won the Emmy Award
for Outstanding Commercial.
DeGeneres began working with Cover Girl Cosmetics in September 2008, for which
she has been criticized, as her animal-friendly values clash with Procter and
Gamble's (the maker of Cover Girl Cosmetics) animal testing. Her face is the
focus of new Cover Girl advertisements starting in January 2009. The beauty
campaign will be DeGeneres's first.
On December 3, 2011, DeGeneres headlined the third annual �Change Begins Within�
gala for the David Lynch Foundation held at the Los Angeles County Museum of
Art. In Spring 2012, DeGeneres becomes the spokesperson for J. C. Penney in a
tour and advertising campaign.
On May 26, 2010, Ellen announced on her show that she was starting her own
record label entitled "eleven eleven". Ellen explained her choice of name,
claiming that she often sees the number 11:11 when looking at her clocks, that
she found Greyson on the 11th, and that the singer's soccer jersey has the
number 11. She mentioned that she had been looking for videos of performances on
YouTube to start her label. The first act she signed to the label is Greyson
In 2007, Forbes estimated DeGeneres's net worth at US$65 million. She is a fan
of the National Football League, and has shown particular support for the New
Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers. In 2011, she attended a Saints
practice dressed as Packers Hall of Famer Don Hutson.
In 1997, DeGeneres came out as a lesbian. The bold disclosure of her sexual
orientation sparked clamorous interest by American tabloids. The contentiousness
of the media coverage stunted DeGeneres' professional career and left her "mired
in depression". That same year, she began a romantic relationship with bisexual
actress Anne Heche; they broke up in August 2000. In her book Love, Ellen,
DeGeneres's mother Betty DeGeneres describes being initially shocked when her
daughter came out as a lesbian, but has become one of her strongest supporters,
an active member of Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and
spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign's Coming Out Project.
From 2001 to 2004, DeGeneres maintained a close affair with
actress/director/photographer Alexandra Hedison. The couple appeared on the
cover of The Advocate after their separation had already been announced to the
Since 2004, DeGeneres has had a relationship with Portia de Rossi. After the
overturn of the same-sex marriage ban in California, DeGeneres announced on a
May 2008 show that she and de Rossi were engaged and gave de Rossi a three-carat
pink diamond ring. They were married on August 16, 2008, at their home, with
nineteen guests including their mothers. The passage of Proposition 8 cast doubt
on the legal status of their marriage, but a subsequent California Supreme Court
judgment validated it because it occurred before November 4, 2008.
DeGeneres and de Rossi live in Beverly Hills, with three dogs and four cats, and
both are vegan. On August 6, 2010, de Rossi filed a petition to legally change
her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres The petition was granted on September 23,
DeGeneres is an ethical vegan who calls herself a "big animal lover". The talk
show host currently co-ordinates a vegan outreach website titled 'Going Vegan
with Ellen' and has opened a vegan tapas bar, Bokado, in Los Angeles.
The site for The Ellen DeGeneres show contains a section called "Going Vegan
With Ellen," in which she promotes Meatless Mondays and features vegan recipes.
She has invited Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle to speak
on her show several times about the organization's efforts in animal protection
legislation. In April, 2013, she donated $25,000 to stop Ag-Gag legislation in
Tennessee, which would prohibit undercover investigators from recording footage
animal abuse on farms.
DeGeneres served as campaign ambassador to Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-A-Turkey
Project in 2010, asking people to start "a new tradition by adopting a turkey
instead of eating one" at Thanksgiving. In November 2011, Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton named her a Special Envoy for Global AIDS Awareness.
Daytime Emmy Awards
Outstanding Talk Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show � 2004, 2005, 2006,
Outstanding Talk Show Host, The Ellen DeGeneres Show � 2005, 2006, 2007,
Outstanding Special Class Writing, The Ellen DeGeneres Show � 2005,
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, Ellen: "The Puppy Episode" �
Mark Twain Prize for American Humor by the John F. Kennedy Center for
the Performing Arts
2012 People's Choice Awards
Favorite Funny Female Star � 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Favorite Talk Show Host � 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013
Favorite Yes I Chose This Star � 2008
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards
Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie � 2004
Tulane University President's Medal 2009
Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards
2000 Lucy Award, actor, If These Walls Could Talk 2, in recognition of
her excellence and innovation in her creative works that have enhanced the
perception of women through the medium of television.
Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Becoming a poster child for the gay movement may never have been part of Ellen
DeGeneres' lifelong to-do list, but the snappy one-liner queen created a media
whirlwind when she came out on the cover of Time in 1997.
The resulting controversy put pressure on her relationship with actress Anne
Heche, contributed to the cancellation of her popular sitcom, Ellen, and left
her mired in depression for three years. But, she rebounded as the daffy voice
of Dory in Disney's Finding Nemo and topped the ratings and the Emmys with her
hit talk show.
DeGeneres, who is the face of CoverGirl and served as a judge on American Idol,
married longtime girlfriend, actress Portia de Rossi in 2008.
Interesting facts about Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres turned down a role in Friends before starring in Ellen.
Before she got her start in comedy, Ellen DeGeneres worked as a vacuum cleaner
saleswoman, TGIFriday's waitress and an oyster shucker in New Orleans.
There is a ride featuring Ellen DeGeneres at Walt Disney World's Epcot park �
Ellen's Energy World.
Oprah Winfrey played Ellen DeGeneres' therapist on the 1997 "coming out" episode
of Ellen. DeGeneres' friends Laura Dern, Demi Moore, Melissa Etheridge, k.d.
lang and Billy Bob Thornton also made cameos.
Ellen DeGeneres used to love Hot Sox � tall, glittery socks popular in the early
'70s. But after moving to small-town Texas, she decided to give them away: "I'm
going to a place where they have gun racks on the back of the pickup trucks�I
just have to get rid of anything weird," she told The New York Times in 2001.
DeGeneres becomes the first female comedian Johnny Carson invites for a chat on
the couch on The Tonight Show. "I'm sitting on this mattress infested with fleas
in 1980, and I thought, 'I'm going to do this on Johnny Carson, and I'm going to
get called over to the couch, and I'll be the first woman in history ever to get
called over,'" she says on Today.
"I had created that experience because I wanted it."
After her parents� divorce, DeGeneres, 13, uses her comedic talents to help her
mother Betty recover. "I was helping my mother cope with a broken heart. It
brought us closer together and made me realize the power of humour," DeGeneres
tells Teen People in 2006.
Brother Vance hits New Orleans' New Wave rock scene and attracts the attention
of local girls. "Everybody knew who he was," DeGeneres later tells PEOPLE.
"That's what motivated me to do something, because I watched him get all this
attention and glory." After a semester at the University of New Orleans, she
drops out to pursue comedy.
DeGeneres publicly comes out on the cover of Time, making her TV's first openly
gay star. Conservative Rev. Jerry Falwell proclaims her "Ellen DeGenerate,"
while the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation later gives her a special
honour. "I didn't choose to be anything other than a comedian," she tells Time.
"I just happen to be gay, and I didn't feel like keeping it a secret, so I
announced it. It all turned into this whole big political thing."
A record 42 million people tune in as DeGeneres' TV persona "comes out" on Ellen
that features Oprah Winfrey. After religious groups protest the show, ABC
cancels Ellen in 1998.
"I tried to incorporate educational things about what people actually go through
when they're coming out, and it wasn't funny," DeGeneres tells the New York
Times. "Because it's not funny."
Actress Anne Heche, 27, and DeGeneres, 39, who met at the Vanity Fair
post-Oscars party in March, announce their relationship to PEOPLE. "When I saw
Ellen across the room, I just, like, swung across on the chandelier, and dropped
down beside her. Our souls connected," Heche tells Oprah. "I don't feel like I'm
gay," adds Heche, who has been with men in the past. "I just feel.
DeGeneres appears in two movies � Ron Howard's Edtv, and The Love Letter. Edtv,
starring Matthew McConaughey, is a critical success, but The Love Letter is
DeGeneres quickly finds new love. Her mother Betty tells the New York Post that
DeGeneres has a new girlfriend: 31-year-old actress/photographer Alexandra
Hedison. "As a mother, I'm just happy to see my child happy," Betty says, "so
much has happened to Ellen, she's been so devastated."
DeGeneres voices Dory, a neurotic fish with a memory problem, in Disney's
Finding Nemo. The movie grosses more than $860 million worldwide and wins Best
Animated Feature at the Oscars. "I wrote it completely with Ellen in mind," Nemo
director Andrew Stanton tells the Chicago Sun-Times.
American Express signs DeGeneres as one of its spokespeople for a global ad
campaign. Photographer Annie Leibovitz shoots the print ads, and humorous TV
commercials feature DeGeneres dancing and working with animal colleagues.
DeGeneres appears on the cover of W, but refuses to wear a dress. "I don't want
to apologize for who I am," she says. "I usually wear Jil Sander, or I wear Marc
Jacobs, or I wear Viktor & Rolf...I love clothes...You know, I'm not wearing
DeGeneres, 50, and girlfriend Portia de Rossi, 35, marry at their L.A. home.
Their intimate ceremony comes after a judicial ruling that struck down
California's laws against gay marriage. "What can I say? I'm the luckiest girl
in the world," says DeGeneres. In November, Californians vote to ban same-sex
marriage, setting the stage for a court battle over the legitimacy of marriages
like DeGeneres. "I was saddened beyond belief," she says of the ban.
When judge Paula Abdul decides to leave American Idol, DeGeneres steps onto the
judges' panel with Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi. "Hopefully
I'm the people's point of view because I'm just like you," she says. "I'm
looking at it as a person who is going to buy the music and is going to relate
to that person."
DeGeneres is tapped to emcee the 79th Annual Academy Awards at Kodak Theatre,
the second woman (Whoopi Goldberg was first) ever to host the show solo � and
the first to do so in pants. Her performance gets mixed reviews.
Her official website is http://www.ellentv.com.
Ellen DeGeneres Diet and Fitness
Ellen DeGeneres leads a healthy lifestyle � which consists of daily yoga and
veganism � keeps her looking and feeling her best. Ellen DeGeneres may be an
outspoken vegan today, but a life without meat or dairy wasn't always easy for
her to, er... digest.
Raised in New Orleans and Texas, the talk show host says she always had a
healthy appetite for sausage-laden red beans and rice, as well as for thick,
juicy steaks. She first tried to quit meat 15 years ago, she said in a telephone
interview, but lasted only six months.
"I've always called myself an animal lover. And yet I ate them," she said.
"Until four years ago I would be driving past these cows on pastures, and think
'What a lovely life that is,' and I'd go and order a steak. It takes a click,
just one light bulb, and you're like 'I can't do that anymore.'"
The click that lit that bulb for DeGeneres came by way of chicken four years
ago. "Someone mentioned 'If you knew what chicken looked like or you knew how
chicken was made, you'd never eat it again,'" said the Emmy award-winning
comedian. "Something snapped."
Since then, DeGeneres and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, have purged their
diet of all animal products, including milk and eggs. It wasn't easy this time
"It's like anybody who's trying to make a change, especially a habit like eating
food every day," she said. "It's hard to make a change."
But this time, she says, she forced herself to watch gruesome video footage and
undercover documentaries shot by opponents of the meat industry, and to read
books on the subject. The images that stuck in her head from the films and the
books helped her stick to her choice. But so did something much simpler � good
It helps that she and De Rossi have a personal chef. Roberto Martin, author of
the new book "Vegan Cooking for Carnivores" (Grand Central Life and Style, 2012)
� which includes many of the recipes he created for the couple � made the
transition easier by serving them dishes such as sliders made with veggie
patties and smoked tempeh, Greek salad with "tofeta" (vegan feta cheese made of
tofu), ceviche made from hearts of palm, and beluga lentil "caviar" complete
with buckwheat blinis. He even recreated DeGeneres' beloved red beans and rice.
"They were over the moon happy," said Martin, who follows a largely plant-based
diet, but is not a strict vegan. "It was vegan food that was completely
different from what they had before. They were living on quinoa and kale salad."
Martin said the key to helping people make the switch � or even simply reducing
their consumption of animal products � is to think about creative substitutions.
Break a recipe down into protein, acids, liquids and fat. Substitute plant
products for the animal products like meat or milk or butter, then apply good
technique, such as stir-frying or sauteing to produce deep flavours.
DeGeneres' own struggle to transition makes her sympathetic toward others
considering a switch. �I know it's hard for people to digest," said DeGeneres,
who wrote the afterward for Martin's book (de Rossi wrote the foreword). "No pun
Dated 13 July 2013