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Ellen DeGeneres

Comedian

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Ellen DeGeneres on her sheltered youth, forging her way as a female comedian, and her history-making decision to come out on TV.
Ellen DeGeneres is a daytime TV juggernaut and entertainment pioneer.  Her hit syndicated talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, is a haven for discussion, deadpan comedy, and a collector of over 30 Daytime Emmys.  She’s been included in Forbes’s "100 Most Powerful" and Time’s "100 Most Influential" lists and has hosted the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Grammys to wide acclaim. She is the best-selling author of Seriously…I’m Kidding, The Funny Thing Is…, and  My Point…And I Do Have One. Her many humanitarian efforts include anti-bullying campaigns and support for Hurricane Katrina victims, as well as animal rescue, global warming and breast cancer awareness organizations.    DeGeneres’s comedy career began as an emcee at a local comedy club in her hometown of New Orleans. She got her start acting on Fox’s sitcom Open House and ABC’s Laurie Hill, before being offered, what would become her trailblazing role, on These Friends of Mine, renamed Ellen after the first season. The popular sitcom made history when Ellen’s character came out of the closet in 1997, becoming the first-ever gay lead character on television.  The episode garnered Ellen a coveted Peabody Award and played to a record 46 million viewers. DeGeneres went on to star in hit HBO specials, the critically acclaimed CBS sitcom The Ellen Show, and to voice the beloved Dory in Finding Nemo.  She served as the fourth judge on “American Idol” in 2010 and, in May of that year, announced eleveneleven, a record label created in partnership with Telepictures to discover new acts and platform them on her talk show. She has also become a sought after spokesperson featured in highly popular campaigns including JCPenny, Covergirl and American Express.

More From Ellen

A Better Society
DeGeneres's hope for a less conformist society and the courage to be oneself.

Saying "I'm Gay"
DeGeneres describes rehearsing for the coming out scene on Ellen and the emotions it unleashed.

A TV First
DeGeneres on her fight with the network to come out on Ellen and making television history.

Deciding to Come Out
How did DeGeneres finally overcome her feelings of shame and decide to come out publicly?

Landing "Ellen"
DeGeneres explains how she landed her sitcom Ellen and her fears of exposing her sexuality.

Funny Women
DeGeneres jokes about her sheltered upbringing and how she gradually noticed the biases faced by female comedians.

Getting on Carson
How did DeGeneres land her first appearance on Johnny Carson?  Bombing for Letterman and a plug from Leno helped paved the way.

Modest Start, Big Plans
Despite stumbling into comedy, DeGeneres knew from the start that she would make it big.

Making A Life As A Comedian
On her father's reaction to her desire to be a stand-up comic and the odds stacked against her success.