1958-01-26

Today is ELLEN DEGENERES birthday. The Emmy Award-winning American stand-up comedienne, television hostess and actress was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Degeneres started her career as an emcee at a local comedy club in New Orleans. She played the (leading) part of Ellen in the series Ellen. When she came out in 1997 as a Lesbian both in the series as well in real life the popularity of the series diminished. Chrysler bravely withdrew its commercials. But the ‘Puppy episode’, as it was titled, in which Ellen had her coming-out, received an Emmy-award.

She hosts the award-winning syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show and has hosted both the Academy Awards and the Primetime Emmys. She served as one of the judges on the TV reality competition American Idol in the 2014 season.  She starred in two television sitcoms, Ellen from 1994 to 1998 and The Ellen Show from 2001 to 2002.  In 1997, during the fourth season of Ellen, she came out publicly as a Lesbian in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Shortly afterwards, her character Ellen Morgan also came out to a therapist played by Winfrey and the series went on to explore various LGBT issues as well as the coming out process.

DeGeneres received wide exposure on November 4, 2001, when she hosted the Emmy Awards-TV show. Presented after two cancellations due to network concerns that a posh ceremony following the September 11, 2001 attacks would appear insensitive, the show required a more somber tone that would also allow viewers to temporarily forget the tragedy. DeGeneres received several standing ovations for her performance that evening which included the line:

“We’re told to go on living our lives as usual, because to do otherwise is to let the terrorists win, and really, what would upset the Taliban more than a homosexual woman wearing a suit in front of a room full of Jews?”

Her daily talk show is one of the most popular daytime television shows. Now in its 15th year the show has won 59 Daytime Emmy Awards as of 2017, including four for Outstanding Talk Show and six for Outstanding Talk Show Entertainment, surpassing the record held by The Oprah Winfrey Show, which won nine. The show also won 20 People’s Choice Awards. In 2003 DeGeneres lent her voice to the role of Dory, a friendly fish with short-term memory loss, in the 2003 animated Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo.  She reprised the role of Dory in the 2016 sequel Finding Dory.

The talk show’s YouTube channel is currently charted as being in the top 20 most subscribed YouTube channels. On January 20, 2016, it was announced that the show had been renewed for three additional seasons through 2020. In 2015, she was named the 50th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes[ and number two on the World Pride Power list. By July 30, DeGeneres has more than 71 million followers on Twitter and 47 million on Instagram, making her the sixth most followed user on Twitter and the 28th most followed on Instagram. Her salary for her show is $75 million annually and her net worth is estimated to be $400 million.

DeGeneres was in a relationship with the actress Anne Heche and then the actress/director/photographer Alexandra Hedison before meeting her wife the actress PORTIA DE ROSSI in 2004. After the overturn of the same-sex marriage ban in California, DeGeneres announced on a May 2008 show that she and de Rossi were engaged, and gave de Rossi a three-carat pink diamond ring. They were married on August 16, 2008 at their home, with nineteen guests including their respective mothers. The passage of Proposition 8 cast doubt on the legal status of their marriage but a subsequent Supreme Court judgment validated it because it occurred before November 4, 2008. They live in Beverly Hills with three dogs and four cats.