Mittwoch, 27. Juni 2007

Ellen Degeneres - Her Life

Ellen Lee DeGeneres (born January 26, 1958) is an American actress, stand-up comedian, and currently the Emmy Award-winning host of the syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Early life

DeGeneres was born in Metairie, Louisiana to Elliot DeGeneres, a salesman, and Elizabeth (Betty) Jane. She is of French, English, German and Irish descent.

Along with her brother Vance DeGeneres, actor and guitarist for the rock band Cowboy Mouth, Ellen was raised as a Christian Scientist until the age of 13. Ellen's mother, Betty and her father, Elliot, filed for separation on December 4, 1973. The divorce was finalized in January 1974. Shortly after the divorce, Betty Jane married Roy Gruessendorf, who also worked as a salesman. Betty Jane and her children moved away with Gruessendorf from the New Orleans area to Atlanta, Texas, where DeGeneres graduated from Atlanta High School on May 21, 1976. DeGeneres moved back to New Orleans to attend the University of New Orleans, where she majored in communications. After one semester, she left school to do clerical work in a law firm. She also held a job selling clothes at the chain-store the Merry-Go-Round at the Lakeside Shopping Center in New Orleans. Other working experiences included being a waitress at TGI Friday's and another restaurant, a house painter, a hostess, a bartender, a part-time dancer and an oyster shucker. Finally, DeGeneres realized she didn't want to "answer to a boss" and started to figure out what she really wanted to do.

In February 2006, Ellen celebrated her 30 year class reunion by flying her graduating class to California to guest on her show. She presented Atlanta High School with a surprise gift of a much needed new electronic LED marquee sign provided by AdsLED, Inc. of Austin, Texas


Ellen sitcom

Ellen's comedy material was turned into the subject matter of the successful 1994-1998 sitcom Ellen (called These Friends of Mine during its first season). The ABC show was popular in its first few seasons due in part to DeGeneres's style of quirky observational humor; it was often referred to as a "female Seinfeld."[1][2]

Ellen reached its height of attention in February 1997, when DeGeneres made her homosexuality public on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Subsequently her character on the sitcom literally came out of the closet in April of that same year; admitting she was gay to her therapist (portrayed by Oprah Winfrey). The outing episode, entitled "The Puppy Episode," was one of the highest-rated episodes of the show, but later episodes of the series would fail to match its popularity, and after sinking ratings, the show was canceled. DeGeneres returned to the stand-up comedy circuit, and would later re-establish herself as a successful talk show host.

Ellen's Energy Adventure

DeGeneres starred in a series of films for a show named Ellen's Energy Adventure, which is part of the Universe of Energy attraction and pavilion at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center. The film also featured Bill Nye (the science guy), Alex Trebek, Michael Richards and Jamie Lee Curtis. The show revolved around DeGeneres falling asleep and finding herself in an energy-themed version of Jeopardy!, playing against an old rival (portrayed by Curtis) and Albert Einstein. The next film had DeGeneres hosting an educational look at energy - co-hosted with Nye. The ride first opened on September 15, 1996, as Ellen's Energy Crisis but was quickly renamed to the more positive-sounding Ellen's Energy Adventure.

The Ellen Show sitcom

DeGeneres returned to series television in 2001 with a new CBS sitcom, The Ellen Show. Though her character was again a lesbian, it was not the central theme of the show. The Ellen Show received critical praise but low viewership and was canceled after one season.

Although her second sitcom was not a commercial success, Ellen did receive 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 delivered the goods, receiving several standing ovations for her performance that evening. She memorably delivered the following 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 gay woman wearing a suit in front of a room full of Jews?"

Voice acting

DeGeneres lent her voice to the role of Dory, a fish with short-term memory loss, in the summer 2003 hit animated Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo. The film's director, Andrew Stanton, claimed that he chose her because she "changed the subject five times before one sentence had finished" on her show. The movie returned DeGeneres to the limelight, with critics giving her rave reviews. She also provided the voice of the dog in the prologue of the Eddie Murphy film Dr. Dolittle.

Talk show

In September 2003, DeGeneres launched a daytime television talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Amid a crop of several celebrity-hosted talk shows surfacing in 2003 (including Sharon Osbourne and Rita Rudner), DeGeneres' show has consistently risen in the Nielsen Ratings and received widespread critical praise. It was nominated for 11 Daytime Emmy Awards in its freshman season, winning four, including Best Talk Show. The show has won 15 Emmy Awards in its first three seasons on the air. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is the first talk show in television history to win the Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show for its first three seasons on the air. DeGeneres is known for her dancing and singing with the audience at the beginning of the show and during commercial breaks. She often gives away free prizes and trips to her studio audience with the help of her sponsors. On November 17, 2005, the show was played in reverse.

In November 2004, DeGeneres appeared, dancing, in an ad campaign for American Express. Her most recent American Express commercial, a two-minute black-and-white spot where she works with animals, debuted in November 2006 and was created by Ogilvy and Mather.

In August 2005, DeGeneres was selected once again as host of the 2005 Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony, which was held on September 18, 2005. (The awards show came three weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, making it the second time Ellen hosted the Emmys following a national tragedy.) Because Ellen is from New Orleans, the tragedy hit close to home. When she announced that she would again host the Emmys, she joked, "You know me, any excuse to put on a dress." She also hosted the Grammy Awards in 1996 and in 1997.

In May 2006, Degeneres made a surprise appearance at the Tulane University commencement in New Orleans. Following George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to the podium, she came out in a bathrobe and furry slippers. "They told me everyone would be wearing robes," she said.

In March 2007, Degeneres continued her talk show with a week at Universal Studios Orlando with guests Jennifer Lopez and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Ellen did skits with the Hulk Roller Coaster Ride and the Jaws Boat Ride.

In May 2007, Degeneres was placed on bed rest due to a torn ligament in her back. She continued to host her talk show in a hospital bed, tended to by a male nurse, and declaring "the show must go on, as they say." Guests sat in hospital beds as well.

Academy Awards

On September 7, 2006, DeGeneres was selected to host the 79th Academy Awards ceremony, which took place on February 25, 2007.[3] This makes her the first openly gay or lesbian person to have hosted the event. During the Awards show DeGeneres said, "What a wonderful night, such diversity in the room, in a year when there's been so many negative things said about people's race, religion and sexual orientation. And I want to put this out there: if there weren't Blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars, or anyone named Oscar, when you think about that."[4] Reviews of her hosting gig were positive, with one saying, "Degeneres rocked, as she never forgot that she wasn't just there to entertain the Oscar nominees but also to tickle the audience at home."[5] In fact, Regis Philbin said in an interview was that "the only complaint was there's not enough Ellen."[6]


In 2007, Forbes ranked her personal net worth to be $65 million


Daytime Emmy Awards

2007 Outstanding Talk Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
2007 Outstanding Talk Show Host, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
2006 Outstanding Talk Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
2006 Outstanding Talk Show Host, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
2006 Outstanding Special Class Writing, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
2005 Outstanding Talk Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
2005 Outstanding Talk Show Host, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
2005 Outstanding Special Class Writing, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
2004 Outstanding Talk Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Ellen DeGeneres at the 1997 Emmy AwardsEmmy Awards

1997 Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, Ellen (for the "puppy episode")
People's Choice Awards

2007 Favorite Daytime Talk Show Host
2007 Favorite Funny Female Star
2006 Favorite Daytime Talk Show Host
2006 Favorite Funny Female Star
2005 Favorite Daytime Talk Show Host
2005 Favorite Funny Female Star
Kids Choice Awards

2004 Favorite Voice from an animated movie, Finding Nemo

Personal life
DeGeneres' relationship with former Another World actress Anne Heche turned into material for the tabloid press. After several years in the spotlight, Heche broke up with DeGeneres and went on to marry male cameraman Coley Laffoon. DeGeneres then had a relationship with actress/director/photographer Alexandra Hedison. They appeared on the cover of The Advocate magazine (ironically, after their split-up had already been announced to the press). Since 2004 DeGeneres has been in a relationship with Arrested Development and former Ally McBeal star Portia de Rossi. DeGeneres and de Rossi currently live in Santa Barbara with 2 dogs and 3 cats.

DeGeneres has one brother, Vance, who made a guest appearance on Ellen in 1994. Vance was also a correspondent for The Daily Show from 1999 to 2001.

In her book, Love, Ellen, DeGeneres' mother, Betty DeGeneres, describes being initially shocked when her daughter came out as a lesbian, but has in fact become one of her strongest supporters. Betty DeGeneres is an active member of PFLAG and spokesperson for the HRC Coming Out Project. She is also a breast cancer survivor.

After Ellen came out as a lesbian, televangelist Jerry Falwell referred to her in a sermon as "Ellen DeGenerate." Ellen responded: "Really, he called me that? Ellen DeGenerate? I've been getting that since the fourth grade."[8]

On September 1, 2006, at just before 4 pm PT, DeGeneres was mildly injured in a three-car road accident as a 2002 Porsche Carrera rear-ended a 2002 Buick Le Sabre, which subsequently rear-ended DeGeneres' 2006 Porsche Carrera as she was driving on Sunset Boulevard with girlfriend Portia de Rossi. DeGeneres was able to walk away from the scene. Two men in their twenties, later identified as paparazzi, were in the Buick, and the other vehicle was being driven by a 52-year-old woman.[9]

Television work
Women of the Night (1988)
Open House (1989-1990)
Laurie Hill (1992-1993)
Roseanne as Dr. Whitman (1995)
Ellen (1994-1998)
Mad About You as Nancy Bloom (1998)
If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)
Ellen DeGeneres: The Beginning (2000)
Will & Grace as Sister Louise (2001)
On the Edge (2001)
The Ellen Show (2001-2002)
Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now (2003)
The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003-present)
79th Annual Academy Awards (Host) (25 February 2007)
American Idol: Idol Gives Back (Co-host) (April 2007)

Arduous Moon (1990) (short subject)
Wisecracks (1991) (documentary)
Coneheads (1993)
Trevor (1994) (short subject)
Ellen's Energy Adventure (1996) (short subject)
Mr. Wrong (1996)
Goodbye Lover (1998)
Dr. Dolittle (1998) (voice)
EdTV (1999)
The Love Letter (1999)
If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000)
Pauly Shore Is Dead (2003)
Finding Nemo (2003) (voice)
My Short Film (2004) (short subject)

My Point...And I Do Have One (1995)
The Funny Thing Is... (2003)

Ellen DeGeneres: Taste This
The Ellen DeGeneres Show: DVDlicious

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