Biography

Championed by late-night TV legend Johnny Carson, DeGeneres initially came to prominence as a stand-up comedian, making numerous appearances on The Tonight Show in the 1980s before landing her own eponymous sitcom in 1994. Although there was a lot of gossip surrounding DeGeneres' sexual orientation, she was silent on the subject until 1997, when she---and her small-screen alter ego---came out, along with her then-lover Anne Heche. The episode sparked controversy and kicked open the closet door for lesbian actresses, though the series was canceled the next season. After a handful of poorly received movies and a short-lived second sitcom (The Ellen Show), DeGeneres found her niche when she began hosting a hugely successful daytime talk show in 2003. Around that time, she also started dating small-screen siren Portia de Rossi, whom she married in 2008 after the overturn of the gay marriage ban in California. DeGeneres' affable nature and widespread appeal have led to several high-profile hosting gigs, including the Emmys, the Grammys and the Academy Awards, as well as a spot on the American Idol judging panel, which she joined in 2010, filling the seat left vacant by Paula Abdul.

Fast Facts

  • Before entering show business, bar tended, sold clothes, shucked oysters, peddled vacuums, waited tables and worked as a paralegal.
  • Dropped out of the University of New Orleans after one semester.
  • At a 1982 Showtime stand-up competition, was voted the Funniest Person in America for her "conversation with God" monologue.
  • Named Best Female Comedy Club Stand-Up at the 1991 American Comedy Awards.
  • Was offered Sandra Bullock's role in the 1994 action smash Speed, but turned it down; also passed on NBC's offer to be one of the regulars on Friends.
  • Penned the best-selling books The Funny Thing Is... and My Point... And I Do Have One.
  • Landed her first beauty campaign in 2008, when she began working with CoverGirl cosmetics.

Awards

  • 1995, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1996, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress for a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2000, Emmy — Outstanding Made for Television Movie: Nominee
  • 1995, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 1998, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 2001, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special: Nominee
  • 1996, Emmy — Outstanding Performance for a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Winner
  • 2015, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Daytime TV Host: Winner
  • 2008, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Talk Show Host: Winner
  • 2012, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Daytime TV Host: Winner
  • 2013, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Daytime TV Host: Winner
  • 2014, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Daytime TV Host: Winner
  • 1996, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2006, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Funny Female: Winner
  • 2005, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Daytime Talk Show Host: Winner
  • 2001, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1994, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2009, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Talk Show Host: Winner
  • 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2008, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Funny Female Star: Winner
  • 2006, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Talk Show: Winner
  • 2004, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special: Nominee
  • 2007, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Talk Show Host: Winner
  • 2005, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Funny Female: Winner
  • 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1995, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Series: Winner
  • 2014, Emmy — Outstanding Special Class Program: Nominee
  • 2007, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Funny Female Star: Winner
  • 2004, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1997, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2007, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1996, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee

Relationships

  • Anne Heche — Ex-significant Other
  • Elliott DeGeneres — Father
  • Portia de Rossi — Wife
  • Betty DeGeneres — Mother
  • Vance DeGeneres — Brother

College

  • Attended University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA

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Details

  • Birth Name: Ellen Lee DeGeneres
  • Birth Place: New Orleans, LA
  • Birthday: January 26, 1958, Aquarius
  • Profession: Talk-show host, Actor, Writer, Comedian
  • User Rating:3.68 out of 5 (975 ratings)
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