American comedian who makes not only an Americans laugh but an entire world was born on January 26, 1958. Apart from being a comedian, she is also a television host, actress, writer, and producer Ellen Lee DeGeneres is the soul of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003. DeGeneres was born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana. She is the daughter of Betty DeGeneres (née Elizabeth Jane 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. In 1973, her parents filed for separation and were divorced the following year.
After graduating from Atlanta High School in 1976, Ellen attended the University of New Orleans as a communication major, but she dropped out after one semester. She held a wide variety of jobs until she turned to stand-up comedy, making her bones at small clubs and coffeehouses before working her way up to emcee Clyde’s
Comedy Club by 1981. Her comedy was described as a distaff version of Bob Newhart. Beginning in the early 1980s, she toured nationally and was named the funniest person in America after winning a competition sponsored by the cable network Showtime. This led to better gigs, including her first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) in 1986. Thus her stand-up career started in the early 1980s, culminating in a 1986 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Though DeGeneres’s early forays into series television were not successful (she appeared as a supporting player in two short-lived TV situation comedies in the period 1989-92, Open House (1989) and Laurie Hill (1992)), she scored a hit headlining her own 1994 sitcom on ABC “These Friends of Mine” (later renamed Ellen (1994) after its first season). She made TV history in April 1997 when her character, and DeGeneres herself personally, revealed that she was a lesbian. However, the show was canceled the following season due to declining ratings, after which DeGeneres returned to the stand-up circuit. In 2001, DeGeneres launched a new series, The Ellen Show (2001), on CBS, but it suffered from poor ratings and was canceled. Redemption as a television artiste came in 2003, when DeGeneres’s daytime talk show, Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003) proved to be both a critical hit and a commercial success. Along with good ratings, the show has won unprecedented kudos from the industry, winning 15 Emmy Awards in its first three seasons on the air and becoming the first talk show in TV history to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show in its first three seasons.
In 2015, she was named the 50th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes and number two on the World Pride Power list. 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.
Since the year 1997, when DeGeneres came out as lesbian. The disclosure of her sexual orientation sparked intense interest by American tabloids. The contentiousness of the media coverage stunted DeGeneres’ professional career and left her “mired in depression”. In her book Love, Ellen, DeGeneres’ mother, Betty DeGeneres describes being initially shocked when her daughter came out, but she has since become one of her strongest supporters; she is also an active member of Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign’s Coming Out Project.
The same year she came out, DeGeneres started a romantic relationship with actress Anne Heche that lasted until August 2000. From 2000 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 media. Since 2004, DeGeneres has had a relationship with Portia de Rossi. After the overturn of the same-sex marriage ban in California, DeGeneres and de Rossi were engaged, and married on August 16, 2008 at their home in Beverly Hills, California, where they live with their four dogs and three cats. 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. 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, 2010. In November 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named her a Special envoy for Global AIDS Awareness. On December 3, 2011, DeGeneres opened the show at the David Lynch Foundation’s 3rd annual “Change Begins Within” gala at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to raise funds to bring Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations suffering from epidemic levels of chronic stress and stress-related disorders. She says: “TM is the only time I have that stillness… it gives me this peaceful feeling, and I love it so much. I can’t say enough good things about it. All the benefits that you can achieve from sitting still and going within—it really is a beautiful experience. David Lynch is such a wonderful man to start this foundation to help people.”
DeGeneres has also made a name for herself as a host of awards shows. She hosted the Grammy Awards in 1996 and 1997, as well as the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2001 and 2005. In February 2007, she had the ultimate TV awards show gig, hosting the Oscars, which she hosted again in 2014. Degreneres is definitely one of the most powerful
women celebrity in present days.