Born: January 26, 1958
Emmy-winning talk show host Ellen Lee DeGeneres was born in Metairie, Louisiana, a New Orleans suburb. She is the daughter of Betty DeGeneres (née Elizabeth Jane Pfeffer), a speech therapist, and Elliott Everett DeGeneres, Jr., an insurance agent. Her brother is musician and producer Vance DeGeneres. Her parents divorced when she was 16 years old. Her mother remarried, and her new husband, salesman Roy Gruessendorf, moved the family to Atlanta, Texas.
After graduating from Atlanta High School in 1976, Ellen attended the University of New Orleans as a communications major, but she dropped out after one semester. She held a wide variety of jobs until she turned to stand-up comedy, making her bones at small clubs and coffeehouses before working her way up to emcee Clyde’s Comedy Club by 1981. Her comedy was described as a distaff version of Bob Newhart’s. Beginning in the early 1980s, she toured nationally and was named the funniest person in America after winning a competition sponsored by the cable network Showtime. This led to better gigs, including her first appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) in 1986.
Ellen DeGeneres’s 5 most popular quotes
- It’s our challenges and obstacles that give us layers of depth and make us interesting. Are they fun when they happen? No. But they are what make us unique.
- True beauty is not related to what color your hair is or what color your eyes are. True beauty is about who you are as a human being, your principles, your moral compass.
- While I was doing stand-up, I thought I knew for sure that success meant getting everyone to like me. So I became whoever I thought people wanted me to be. I’d say yes when I wanted to say no, and I even wore a few dresses.
- We’re all supposed to be different. I want so badly to encourage everyone to say, “Who am I and how do I want to live my life?
- Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth, and everything else will come.
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