Multiple Emmy Award-winning talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is known for her wit, dance moves and her LGBT activism. Here are some facts about the comedienne’s life and career so far.
Born on Jan. 26, 1958, in Metairie, Louisiana, U.S., DeGeneres was raised as a Christian Scientist until her parents divorced when she was a teen. Growing up, her older brother Vance was the funny man in their house.
Before finding fame as a stand-up comedian, she waited tables, worked as a bartender, painted houses and even worked as a legal secretary.
She started her stand-up career at small clubs and in 1982 was named by Showtime as the “Funniest Person in America.” DeGeneres made her breakthrough on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” (pictured) in 1986 and became the first female comedian to be invited by Carson on the show.
Her self-titled television series “Ellen” was first called “These Friends of Mine” when they started in March 1994. The name was changed to avoid any confusion after the NBC series “Friends” premiered in September 1994. (Pictured, Clockwise from L) DeGeneres, David Anthony Higgins, Joely Fisher and Arye Gross.
DeGeneres has authored several books such as “My Point…And I Do Have One” (1995), “The Funny Thing Is..” (2003) and “Seriously…I’m Kidding” (2011).
In a 1997 interview on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” DeGeneres came out as a lesbian. In April of the same year, she made television history by becoming the first title character to come out as a lesbian on-screen during “The Puppy Episode” (pictured) on her show, “Ellen” where she professes her love for Susan (Laura Dern).
Her multiple-Emmy winning comedy talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” debuted on Sept. 8, 2003. The immensely popular show hosts celebrities and other famous people, organizes games involving both the celebrity and the audience and even sees DeGeneres showing off her dance moves.
She was one of 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2016. While bestowing DeGeneres with the medal, then-U.S. President Barack Obama said, “It’s easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far, where now marriage is equal under the law, just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago. Just how important it was not just for the LGBT community, but for all us to see somebody so full of kindness and light.”
In January 2017, DeGeneres became the most decorated People’s Choice Awards winner with 20 wins, including Favorite Daytime TV Host, Favorite Humanitarian and Favorite Animated Movie Voice for “Finding Dory.”
(Pictured) DeGeneres with her various People’s Choice Awards in the background on Jan. 18, 2017.
Her 2014 star-studded selfie at the Academy Awards has been retweeted more than 3.3 million times to date. Within 40 minutes of being posted, it had become the most retweeted image.
(Pictured L-R) Jennifer Lawrence, Channing Tatum, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, DeGeneres, Kevin Spacey, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Lupita
Nyong’o and her brother, and Angelina Jolie.
She started her own record label
eleveneleven in 2010 that focuses on, and promotes, lesser-known artists and is known to launch musicians such as Greyson Chance (pictured), Charlie Puth, Tom Andrews, Emily Luther and Savannah Robinson. DeGeneres also launched her lifestyle brand called ED by Ellen in 2015.
A well-known animal lover, she had dreamed of becoming a veterinarian growing up. She was named PETA Woman of the Year in 2009.
She has also inspired a show at Disney’s Epcot Attractions in Bay Lake, Florida, U.S. The show was called “Ellen’s Energy Adventure” and ran from September 1996 until August 2017.
Other than voicing the amnesiac fish Dory in “Finding Nemo” (2003) and “Finding Dory” (2016), she has also given voice to the dog in the prologue of the 1998 movie “Doctor Dolittle” and several video games.
In 2006, she became the first openly gay or lesbian person to host the 79th Academy Awards Ceremony (pictured). During the show, she said, “… If there weren’t blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars, or anyone named Oscar, when you think about that.”
She celebrated the 10th anniversary of her talk show with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in September 2012. She attended the ceremony with her wife Portia de Rossi (L), mother Betty (C), brother Vance (2nd R) and his wife Joanna (R). On the occasion, she said, “It is amazing. I spent my entire career trying to conduct myself in a certain way making sure no one walks all over me only to get to a point where people are going to walk all over me.”
“Ellen’s Game of Games” is a reality show that premiered on Dec. 18, 2017, on NBC. It features high-energy, fun games such as Blindfolded Musical Chairs and Dizzy Dash.
The three-time Golden Globe nominee received the Carol Burnett Award at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards in January 2020. The award is presented to a person who has made “outstanding contributions to the television medium on or off the screen.”
Ellen DeGeneres wants to stop dancing and be “an ally fighting for change”.
The 62-year-old star wants to use her platform more constructively amid the Black Lives Matter movement, and she called on other white people to do better when it comes to equality.
In a video posted to Instagram, she said: “I’ve tried to use my platform to raise awareness on different issues over the years.
“I like to think I’m doing my best, but I think it’s time that we have to look out ourselves and we have to say we have not done enough.
“I want to learn how to be a better person, how to do better. I was the dancing lady for a little while and now I want to help educate my audience. I want to educate myself.”
© Bang Showbiz
The daytime talk show host also again voiced her support for protesters “exercising their rights”, and insisted such important issues have “been ignored for far too long”.
She added: “I stand with the protesters who are exercising their rights and I want to be an ally fighting for change. As a white person, I don’t always know what to say.
“I think right now, white people have to just sit in our discomfort We have to admit that there’s a lot we don’t know about black people’s lives and a black person’s experience.
“And there is horrible injustice towards black people that has been ignored for far too long.”
Related Slideshow: #BlackLivesMatter- Anti-racism protests across the world (Provided by Photo Services)
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African American man, died while in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. In a video that went viral, police officer Derek Chauvin can be seen pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck to restrain him while he was pinned to the ground. The action, which lasted several minutes, was marked by Floyd’s call for help, repeating the phrase “I can’t breathe.” He was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center but was declared dead.
While protests against police brutality in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul region were peaceful at first, they soon turned violent as several public and private properties were vandalized, resulting in violent clashes between the police and the demonstrators. The demonstrations in the U.S. have since spiraled into global outrage, with supporters gathering publicly to protest police violence against people of color, and deep-seated racism in society more generally.
Take a look at photos of the ongoing protests in the U.S. and around the world.
(Pictured) People chant slogans, raise their fist and hold placards as they demonstrate in Nantes, France on June 8.
Two people hold hands in the air as they they demonstrate in Nantes, France on June 8.
An Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporter raises their fist in front of the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa on June 8.
A group of children hold up their fists in front of a Black Lives Matter sign as people gather to protest near the White House in Washington D.C., U.S., on June 7.
Protesters participating in a Black Lives Matter rally march to Downtown Pittsburgh from Mount Washington in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., on June 7.
A demonstrator gestures as she stands in front of police officers during a protest against racial inequality in Brussels, Belgium, on June 7.
A protester is seen during a demonstration that also opposes Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Sao Paulo, Brazil on June 7.
Protesters attend a rally in Rome, Italy, on June 7.
Protesters march against police brutality and racism in Montreal, Canada, on June 7.
An artist puts finishing touches to a Floyd mural in Toronto, Canada, on June 6.
Maxar satellite imagery of the Black Lives Matter painted road captured from space on 16th Street in Washington, D.C., on June 6.
Members of the Austin Police Department kneel in front of demonstrators who gathered in Austin, Texas, U.S., on June 6.
A man stands next to a Black Lives Matter sign on a traffic light post at the newly named “Black Lives Matter Plaza” on 16th Street, near the White House, during a protest in Washington D.C., U.S., on June 6.
People wearing masks hold placards during a protest march over the alleged police abuse of a Turkish man, echoing a Black Lives Matter protest, in Tokyo, Japan, on June 6.
People march in solidarity with protests in the U.S. in Adelaide, Australia, on June 6.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wears a mask as he takes a knee during a rally against the death of George Floyd, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, on June 5.
Protesters kneel in Trafalgar Square during a “Black Lives Matter” demonstration in London, England, on June 5.
Several hundred doctors, nurses and medical professionals came together to protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd in St Louis, Missouri, U.S., on June 5.
South Korean activists gather to mourn the death of George Floyd and show solidarity with the “Black Lives Matter” movement near the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on June 5.
People join hands as they gather in Barcelona, Spain, during a demonstration over the death of George Floyd, on June 4.
A man protests during a rally in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., on June 4.
Demonstrators march across Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, New York, U.S., on June 4.
A portrait of Floyd is displayed as demonstrators gather to mourn his death during a vigil at Catalunya Square in Barcelona, on June 4.
Protesters react at a memorial for Floyd in Minneapolis on June 4.
Terrence (C), Floyd’s brother, speaks as he attends a public memorial in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on June 4.
A man lights a candle during a demonstration in Mexico City, Mexico, on June 4.
Demonstrators lie on the ground during a protest in front of the U.S. embassy in Warsaw, Poland, on June 4.
Protesters march during a solidarity rally in New York City on June 4.
Protesters hold umbrellas at the front line of a barricade guarded by Seattle police and the National Guard in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on June 3.
Protesters hold placards during a demonstration organized by the Black Lives Matter movement in London on June 3.
A protester waves a banner emblazoned with the acronym BLM for Black Lives Matter, outside City Hall in Batavia, Illinois, U.S. on June 3.
Children hold up a sign as people and surfers gather at Moonlight Beach for the “Paddle out for Unity” event in Encinitas, California, U.S., on June 3.
People begin to gather ahead of the Black Lives Matter protest rally at Hyde Park in London, on June 3.
Demonstrators and police during a face-off in Washington, D.C., U.S. on June 3.
Protesters in Sydney, Australia, on June 2.
A small group of protesters gather to protest against police violence, at the gates of the South African Parliament in Cape Town on June 3.
A police officer takes a knee in front of protesters near Downing Street in London, England, on June 3.
LGBTQ community members join in support with Black Lives Matter protesters holding signs and chanting slogans on an intersection in West Hollywood, California, U.S., on June 3.
Demonstrators participate in a Black Lives Matter rally outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on June 3.
Protesters shout during a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park in London on June 3.
Demonstrators including British actor John Boyega (C) stand in Parliament Square during an anti-racism protest in London on June 3.
Protesters at Trump International Hotel in New York City, New York, U.S., on June 2.
Protesters lie down for a minute of silence in the position George Floyd was in when he died, during a rally in Seattle Washington, U.S., on June 2.
Demonstrators greet members of the National Guard as they march along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, on June 2.
Protesters at a rally in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., on June 2.
Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, is surrounded by family members as he speaks at a protest rally in Houston, Texas, U.S., on June 2.
Demonstrators protest against police brutality at the Tribunal de Paris courthouse in Paris, France, on June 2.
Protesters scuffle with riot police during a rally in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 2.
People march during a protest in Miami, Florida, U.S., on June 2.
Terrence Floyd looks at a mural near the site where his brother George was taken into police custody and later died, in Minneapolis, on June 1.
Actor and activist Jamie Foxx speaks during a rally in San Francisco, California, on June 1.
Officers take a knee along with protesters during a rally in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., on June 1.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., on June 1.
Syrian artists Aziz Asmar and Anis Hamdoun finish a mural depicting Floyd in the town of Binnish, Syria, on June 1.
Liverpool soccer players take a knee as a tribute to Floyd in England on June 1.
A protester fist bumps a policeman during a standoff in Atlanta on June 1.
Police detain demonstrators in Oakland, California, U.S., on June 1.
Protesters gather in the Manhattan borough of New York City on June 1.
Demonstrators gather for a rally in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on May 31.
A protester shows a message on his cap in Long Beach, California, on May 31.
A protester dressed up in traditional Aztec attire during a protest in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on May 31.
A protester writes a message on the street in Washington, D.C., on May 31.
A memorial for Floyd is seen in front of the U.S. Consulate in Kraków, Poland, on May 31.
A protester kneels in front of a line of police officers in London, on May 31.
A protester holds up a message in Manchester, England, on May 31.
Protesters seen in Miami, Florida, U.S., on May 31.
Soccer player Jadon Sancho shows off a message in support for Floyd after scoring a goal for Borussia Dortmund during a game in Paderborn, Germany, on May 31.
A protester shouts slogans in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, on May 31.
Protesters seen in front of the American Embassy in London on May 31.
Protesters march down to the White House from the Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on May 30.
A graffiti piece pays tribute to Floyd in Berlin, Germany, on May 30.
Ellen recently spoke out after Minneapolis native George Floyd died after a police officer – who has since been sacked from the force, and has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter – knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
She said: “People have gotten away with murder and that’s what is happening. So, we’ve gotta see fairness and we’ve gotta see justice for all, because right now, this is not a fair world.
“Not at all… Sign a petition. Make a donation. Get informed. Make a phone call. Do it all from the link in my bio.”