Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: . Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Ellen, Finding Nemo, Edtv
Currently Known For:
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
1984 - Present
January 26, 1958
Ellen, Finding Nemo, Edtv
To view another celebrity please click the next celebrity button below or read the full article by scrolling further below.
She’s been considered one of the best comedians of her generation, and has been able to parlay it into a massive career as a television personality that has made her one of the wealthiest entertainers in the world. Of course, we’re referring to Ellen DeGeneres, the former stand-up that became an actor and now hosts the most popular daytime television talk show since Oprah Winfrey retired. Thanks to her viral clips and A-list friends that appear on her show, DeGeneres isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
DeGeneres comes from just outside of New Orleans in the suburb of Metairie where she was born on January 26, 1958. After her parents divorced while DeGeneres was a teenager, she found herself in Texas where she finished high school. She then headed back to Louisiana for college and was working odd-jobs while at night performing stand-up comedy at any place that would take her.
DeGeneres didn’t finish school as she was more focused on her work and developing her stand-up act, and that leap of faith ended up being the right choice. After a couple of years in the New Orleans stand-up scene, DeGeneres was able to branch out and was touring the United States. Rather quickly, DeGeneres picked up a big audience and was being featured on television, with stand-up specials and appearances on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. “I wanted to have money; I wanted to be special; I wanted people to like me; I wanted to be famous,” DeGeneres said of the start of her career.
While most comedians were loud and brash at the time, often picking on other people, that wasn’t the case for DeGeneres. “Most comedy is based on getting a laugh at somebody else’s expense,” DeGeneres said. “And I find that that’s just a form of bullying in a major way. So I want to be an example that you can be funny and be kind, and make people laugh without hurting somebody else’s feelings.”
Throughout the rest of the 1980s, DeGeneres became one of the most popular stand-up comedians out there. Like many popular comedians, DeGeneres branched out into acting, making her debut in 1989 as Margo Van Meter on the show “Duet” for a guest spot and a starring role in the short-lived spin-off “Open House”.
The series ended in 1990, and two years later she had another starring role on TV with “Laurie Hill”. This series was also cancelled quickly, and DeGeneres made her feature film debut in 1993 with “Coneheads”. DeGeneres had her big break as an actor when she was given the reigns of her own ABC primetime series called “Ellen” that aired for more than 100 episodes throughout the rest of the 1990s.
It was during the show’s run that DeGeneres revealed herself to be gay, which garnered a lot of attention at the time. She used her own show to talk about it, with her character also coming out of the closet. “Obviously, we have come a long way in the past 20 years,” DeGeneres said on the episode’s anniversary. “But we still have a long way to go to make sure everybody has the right to be who they are.”
Shortly after her reveal, DeGeneres began a relationship with Anne Heche, an actress from “Another World” and “Donnie Brasco”. The two split up in 2004, and since then DeGeneres has been in a relationship with Portia de Rossi of “Arrested Development” and “Ally McBeal” fame and have been married since 2008.
During this time, DeGeneres began her time as a host, emceeing the Emmy Awards in 1994 and later a pair of Grammy Award hosting duties. DeGeneres also added more films with a voice in “Dr. Dolittle”, as well as the movies “EDtv” and “The Love Letter”. Since then, DeGeneres has been more involved with TV, but her handful of film appearances have been rather memorable. In 2003 she voiced the forgetful fish Dory in “Finding Nemo”, and reprised the role for the 2016 sequel “Finding Dory”.
After hosting another Emmy Award show and having her own stand-up special, DeGeneres got her chance at another primetime sitcom with “The Ellen Show”. When it was cancelled after one season, DeGeneres went back to hosting, this time with her own daytime series “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”. The rest is history as the popular show has now lasted for more than 15 years with no slowing down. A lot of other celebrities have tried their hand at daytime talk shows, only to be dominated in the ratings by DeGeneres’ juggernaut of a show.
DeGeneres has been tabbed multiple times to add to her hosting duties since her show started. She’s hosted a pair of Oscars in 2007 and 2014, and in 2017 landed a game show with “Ellen’s Game of Games” on NBC. This has made DeGeneres one of the hardest working people in show business, which is why she’s now worth nearly half a billion dollars. “I like being busy and juggling a lot of things at the same time,” DeGeneres said. “I get bored easily, so I need to do a lot.”
It’s been a long career with a path that’s been a rather unique one. As for advice that she’d give, DeGeneres says “The only thing I really recommend, if you’re starting out in stand-up, is to not try to copy anybody else. You can be influenced by people. I was influenced by Steve Martin and Bob Newhart and Woody Allen, but I never tried to be someone else. I always tried to be myself. And the reason people are successful is they’re unique.”