Ellen Degeneres

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Ellen Degeneres


Ellen Degeneres

Early Life:

Born: January 26, 1958 in Metairie, Louisiana Age: 57

Ellen DeGeneres was born in Metairie, Louisiana. Her father, Elliot Degeneres was an, insurance salesman and hermother, Betty was a real-estate agent. They both divorced when Ellen was 16 years old. Later, her mother remarried salesman Roy Gruessendorf. Her new husband moved their family to Atlanta, Texas.

In 1976 Ellen graduated from Atlanta High School, then she attended the University of New Orleans as a communication major. Later, she dropped out after one semester. She held a wide variety of jobs such as waiting tables, selling vacuum cleaners, painting houses, and working as a legal secretary until she turned to stand-up comedy.

Before her Fame:

At age 23, she made her money by doing stand-up comedy at small clubs and coffeehouses until she made her way up to emcee Clyde's Comedy Club by 1981. She soon developed her own distinctive comedy style that was quirky, with observational humor with long pauses. One year into her career, she won a contest sponsered by the cable network Showtime and received the title of the "Funniest Person in America.”

Occupation Comedian, Talk show host, Animal Rights Activist

Early Career:In 1986, she got her big debut when acting on a tip from Jay Leno, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson sent a booking agent to catch her act at the Improv in Hollywood. As a result, DeGeneres was invited onto The Tonight Show and earned the distinction of being the only female comic to be invited by Johnny Carson to sit on the famed "couch" during her first visit. Instantly, she then began making regular appearances on all the talk shows, including performances on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Later with Greg Kinnear, Larry King Live, and Good Morning, America. She was also profiled in detail on ABC's PrimeTime Live.

Her comedy won over audiences, and DeGeneres finally found success as an actress with her own prime-time sitcom called Ellen. The series was originally titled These Friends of Mine, but was renamed in 1994. The show faced strong criticism when, in April 1997, DeGeneres's character became the first to admit their homosexuality on air. Throughout the remainder of the season, DeGeneres and ABC executives faced a storm of criticism. But the show also received rounds of applause from gay-friendly activists, including her mother Betty Degeneres. Her show Ellen was canceled in 1998.

Ellen: The Talk Show

In 2003, Ellen DeGeneres became a big hit with daytime viewers with her self-titled talk show, Ellen. Since its beginning, the show has won an Emmy, nearly a dozen Daytime Emmy Awards, and numerous People's Choice Awards. Also in 2003, DeGeneres lent her voice to Finding Nemo, the following year she received two Emmy Award nominations for her stand-up comedy special Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now. She has hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards twice, and the Academy Awards for the first time in 2007. In September of 2009, Ellen was chosen to be a judge on the ninth season of American Idol. Degeneres is also the author of several books, including My Point ... and I Do Have One (1995) and The Funny Thing Is... (2004).

"Most comedy is based on getting a laugh at somebody else's expense. And I find that that's just a form of bullying in a major way. So I want to be an example that you can be funny and be kind, and make people laugh without hurting somebody else's feelings."


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