Ellen DeGeneres Biography

Ellen DeGeneres

 

Name: Ellen DeGeneres
Profession: Actress, Producer
Birth Date: January 26, 1958
Height: 5' 7 ½"

Ellen DeGeneres was born in Metairie, La. to Elliot (a salesman) and Elizabeth DeGeneres.  DeGeneres has a brother named Vance, who is a guitarist for the rock band Cowboy Mouth, and also works as a writer and producer.

When her parents divorced in 1974, DeGeneres moved to Atlanta, Texas with her mother, while her brother remained with their father in New Orleans.  DeGeneres graduated from Atlanta High School in 1976 and moved back to New Orleans to attend the University of New Orleans.  She left college after one semester and started working a variety of odd jobs before making her stand-up debut at a local coffee shop's amateur hour in 1981.  One year later, she participated in a Showtime stand-up comedy competition and was voted "Funniest Person in America.”

DeGeneres then moved to moved to San Francisco and continued to perform her comedy. Her big break came in 1986 when she was invited to perform on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.  At the end of her performance, Carson invited her over to sit on the set’s couch — a boost to any performer.

In 1994, DeGeneres landed another break when her sitcom "Ellen" (originally titled "These Friends of Mine") debuted.  The show was a success and three years later, in February 1997, DeGeneres made her homosexuality public on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Subsequently, her character on the sitcom came out of the closet two months later on the highly-watched episode entitled “The Puppy Episode.” With ratings on the decline, the show was cancelled the following year.

DeGeneres returned to her stand-up career with concert tours and TV specials.  She also voiced the character “Dory” in the 2003 movie "Finding Nemo." That same year, she began hosting her wildly-successful daytime talk show" The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

DeGeneres began dating actress Portia de Rossi in 2005.  They married in August 2008 after the California Supreme Court overturned a state ban on gay marriage.