Ellen DeGeneres is an American female standup comedian who has proven that whatever a man can do, a woman can also do. Since her journey as a standup comedian started in 1981, she has held swirl as one of the finest comedians America and the world at large has seen. She is often referred to as ‘Seinfeld in female skin’. But she is not just a comedian; she is also a television host, writer, producer, LGBT activist, actress, and the lead character in Ellen, a self-named popular sitcom of the 90s. Since 2003, she has been the host of her syndicated TV talk show, The DeGeneres Show.
Ellen DeGeneres’ Bio and Ethnicity
January 26, 1958, saw the birth of Ellen Lee DeGeneres in Metairie, Louisiana, United States. She is of mixed ethnicity, French, English, German and Irish descent. The talented show host’s journey to success was not all rosy as she had so many traumatic experiences growing up. She attended Grace King High School in Metairie, Louisiana where she completed just one year before graduating from Atlanta High School in May of 1976. During her High school days, at the age of 15, her parents filed for divorce and parted ways the following year. Her mum got remarried to Roy Grussendorf and would take Ellen DeGeneres along to her new home in Atlanta, Texas.
When she moved into her mum’s new home with the new husband, she was sexually molested by the step Dad when the mum was out on breast cancer treatment. Her ordeal didn’t end there, she moved back to New Orleans and enrolled in the University to major in Communication studies, unfortunately, she spent just a semester before quitting the school to do menial jobs to fend for herself. She did clerical work in a law firm alongside her cousin, Laura Gillen, she would serve as a waitress at T.G.I Friday and other restaurants, she painted houses and served as a hostess and bartender among other things.
Ellen DeGeneres started her journey into comedy in her early 20’s drawing inspiration from the likes of Woody Allen and Steve Martin. She started performing stand-up comedy at small clubs and coffee houses, by 1981, she became the emcee at Clyde’s Comedy club in Orleans and would later embark on a national tour soon after. By 1984, Showtime named her the funniest person in America.
In 1986, Ellen DeGeneres got her big debut when she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, becoming the first female comedian to be asked to sit on the “hot seat”. She has gone on to feature in well over sixteen films since then.
As a versatile entertainer, she made her first Television debut in an American sitcom, titled Open House where she played the role of Margo Van Meter, an office worker at the Juan Verde Real Estate company. Moreso, she was featured in yet another sitcom titled Laurie Hill in 1992, she would make many more appearances before creating her own sitcom titled The Ellen Show in 2001 and subsequently launching The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2003. The show was widely received in its first season and was nominated for 11 Daytime Emmy Awards eventually winning four including one for the Best Talk Show. By 2017, the show had garnered 59 Daytime Emmy Awards.
As a music lover, Ellen has featured in two music videos including Girls Like You with Maroon 5 and Cardi B. But she took it up a notch on May 26, 2010, when she announced her record label entitled Eleveneleven, explaining the inspiration behind the choice of name to be the 11:11 which she often sees when looking at the clock. She signed American singer, writer, and Pianist, Greyson Chance to the label.
Being a public figure equally made Ellen a humanitarian. In November of 2011, former US Secretary of States and former US presidential aspirant, Hillary Clinton named her a special envoy for Global AIDS Awareness.
Ellen as a writer, she has authored several books including My Point….. and I Do Have One (1995), Seriously…. I’m Kidding (2011) and Home (2015).
With her contributions to the entertainment industry, Ellen DeGeneres is perhaps the only person that has garnered 30 Emmys, 20 People’s Choice Awards, as well as other numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom medal from President Barrack Obama in 2016.
Her Net Worth
Ellen DeGeneres has enjoyed a successful career in showbiz and media since her early 20s. According to Forbes, she has earned up to $87.5 million in 2018 which makes her the 15th highest-paid entertainer in the world. With several endorsements and her Brand named ED Ellen DeGeneres which she established and added to her chain of businesses, the media guru’s net worth is estimated at $450 million.
Ellen DeGeneres was born to a speech therapist mother, Elizabeth Jane, and an insurance agent father, Elliott Everett. Although they divorced in 1974 when Ellen was around 16, she joined her Mum who got remarried to Roy Gruessendorf who molested the young Ellen sexually. Ellen has an only brother named Vance DeGeneres, he stayed with the father upon their official divorce. According to the show host, Vance her brother had a good sense of humor when they were growing up and would have been a better comedian, however, he is currently a musician and producer.
Her Wife – Portia de Rossi
The 5 ft 7 inches tall entertainer, Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian in 1997. Many referred to her as someone who ‘lifted spirits’ and ‘brought joy’ but ironically she fell into temporary depression, due to the negativity that accompanied her sexuality revelation.
In the course of her career, she has dated ladies like Anne Heche and Alexandra Hedison. She is currently married to Portia de Rossi whom she started dating in 2004. When the same-sex marriage ban was overturned in California, Ellen and Portia got engaged and married in August of 2008. On August 6, 2010, Portia filed a petition to have her name changed to Portia Lee James DeGeneres, the petition was favorably granted on September 23, 2010. With over a decade as a couple, they have remained very strong together giving many fans relationship goals to live by.
Portia is an Australian and American actress and philanthropist, born Amanda Lee Rogers on January 31, 1973, in Horsham, Victoria, Australia to parents Margaret and Barry Rogers. She attended Melbourne Girls Grammar School and the University of Melbourne. Her journey into acting began in 1994 when she had her significant role as a young and receptive model in a movie titled Sirens. She has successfully appeared in well over 14 films and about 19 Television shows. Her artistry has earned her about nine nominations, 3 of which she won.