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MAIN Arrow to Art & Culture Art & ... Arrow to Pop Culture Pop Culture Arrow to Pop Icons TV Stars Arrow to Ellen DegeneresEllen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneresThe stand-up comedian and hugely successful U.S. TV talk show host was born Ellen Lee DeGeneres in Metairie, Louisiana on January 26, 1958.

DeGeneres' comedic talent was said to have been evident early on - as she tried to cheer her mother through a bout of depression and relocation to New Orleans, following her parent's divorce.

Following high school in 1976, DeGeneres spent a semester at the University of New Orleans, but dropped out to pursue a career in stand-up, working her way from local clubs and TV shows to win Showtime's Funniest Person in America contest in 1982.

What really sealed her reputation was a famous debut on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show in 1986, when she became the first female comic to be honored with a "couch" interview following her routine.

Afterward, her career exploded with a cross-country tour, a handful of cable TV specials, followed by small roles on the short-lived sitcoms, Duet and Open House.

By the early 90's, DeGeneres starred in her own sitcom, These Friends of Mine which was later revamped as Ellen, a big hit that ran for four seasons and garnered the actress two Emmy nominations.


The rise and fall and rise of Ellen


Ellen on the cover of TIME magazine, April 14, 1997.

The show reached its height In 1997, when DeGeneres made national headlines after publicly declaring that she was a lesbian and announced that in an upcoming episode, her television character would also do the same.

In a move that was still very controversial at the time, DeGeneres became a pioneer of the modern gay community as one of the first celebrities to declare her sexual orientation publicly

In April 1997, the "outing" episode became one of the highest rated of the season.

At the same time, her relationship with former Another World actress Anne Heche turned into fodder for the tabloid press. The backlash from her announcement and openly gay lifestyle resulted in Ellen being canceled the following year. (DeGeneres tried again a few years later with The Ellen Show, a sitcom that was also quickly canceled.)

Despite the controversy, Ellen remained open about her sexuality and waited as public attitudes changed with the times -- and, by 2003, Ellen was back, this time with a celebrated talk show that was an almost "overnight" success.


"Keep swimming, keep swimming"
As the voice of Dory in the animated
hit "Finding Nemo" in 2003.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show was nominated for 11 and won four Daytime Emmys in its first year, including Best Talk Show in 2003. More praise was heaped upon DeGeneres that year for a signature stand-up performance on cable TV entitled Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now, and for her role as the memory-challenged "Dory" in the animated film Finding Nemo, a worldwide hit.

DeGeneres took the international spotlight again the following year when she took over hosting duties at the 79th Annual Oscar Awards. Traditionally panned by TV critics, the Oscar presentation that year won reviews that heaped praise upon its host. ( In short, there simply " wasn't enough Ellen".)

In yet another surprise move in 2009, Ellen made the startling announcement that she would be replacing Paula Abdul in the 9th season of American Idol, becoming the much-anticipated 4th judge on the full-time panel.

While keeping night hours on the popular FOX mega-hit, DeGeneres continued to keep her day job. The judging gig lasted all of one season before the popular talk show host went back to her daytime duties.



Ellen on the set of the award-winning daytime hit, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.


In 2014, Ellen returned to primetime when she took center stage as host of the Oscar Awards for the second time. Hollywood beckons again as DeGeneres reprises her voice role as Dory in "Finding Dory", the sequel to the original Disney animated film, "Finding Nemo", due for release in 2016.


On a personal note

Off the set, Ellen has been in a relationship with actress Portia de Rossi whom she married following a state Supreme Court ruling making gay marriage legal in California in 2008. The wedding took place on August 16th that same year with Ellen wearing white trousers and tux vest while Portia was decked out in a flowing white wedding dress. The ceremony was held in the couple's Beverly Hills home attended only by close friends and family.

 


More about Ellen DeGeneres around the Web:



Ellen DeGeneres Show
- The official site featuring video clips, pictures, episode guide, fun stuff, and ticket information on attending the live taping in Burbank.

Ellen DeGeneres - Wikipedia - The online encyclopedia with a hyperlinked autobiography, photos, and related resources.

 

also see in TV -> Oprah Winfrey

 

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