Ellen DeGeneres, Comedian
Ellen DeGeneres on her father's reaction when she spoke about her desire to be a standup comic, publicly embracing her sexuality, and the odds stacked against her success.
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 JCPenney, Covergirl and American Express.