Ellen DeGeneres is an American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and producer. When she was growing up, DeGeneres dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, but she gave up the idea because she was “not book smart.” Instead, she took odd jobs and worked her way from underground clubs to the spotlight. Perhaps her humble beginning is the reason for her genuine likability – real recognize real after all. Enjoy these little known facts about Ellen DeGeneres.
30. The path to success
Before her big break in comedy, Ellen worked a number of odd jobs. She was a bartender, a paralegal, a vacuum saleswoman, TGI Friday’s waitress and an oyster shucker in New Orleans.
29. Start small
She began performing stand-up in 1980 in small coffee shops and comedy clubs. By 1981 she was an MC at Clyde’s Comedy Club in New Orleans. Just one year later she was named Showtime’s “Funniest Person in America”.
In 2012, Ellen won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. “It’s such an honor to receive the Mark Twain Prize. To get the same award that has been given to people like Bill Cosby, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell, it really makes me wonder… why didn’t I get this sooner?”
27. I could get used to this
Ellen has proven herself to be a strong real-estate player. Her former home she purchased for $17.4 million and sold for $21 million, making a tidy $4 million in profit. Her latest LA estate is valued at $40 million, and spares no luxury including a pool, gym, spa, and tennis court.
Ellen certainly does not have the celebrity complex. In fact, she is know for her punctuality. Interviewers at magazines like Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine said she always arrived early for interviews and for the photo shoots.
25. Easy, breezy, beautiful
In 2008, she became a CoverGirl and has been featured in a series of hilarious commercials with fellow covergirl, Sofia Vergara. CoverGirl has done an amazing job showing CoverGirls come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
24. Never heard of it
Her talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has been a massive success. The show has won a total of 33 Daytime Emmy Awards, including four for Outstanding Talk Show (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) and three for Outstanding Talk Show Entertainment (2010, 2011, 2013).
23. She loves her Mama
The best seat in the studio audience where “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is recorded is reserved for Ellen’s mom, Betty.
22. Watch out, Serena
Ellen DeGeneres loves tennis. Her home has a tennis court and she is an avid player.
21. Out with the old
Ellen has her very own ride at Disney called Ellen’s Energy Adventure which is a very popular and original attraction of the Epcot Future World park. This ride consists of a series of films about forms of energy featuring Ellen and Bill Nye. Sadly, Ellen’s Energy Adventure is rumored to be closed in 2017 to make room for a new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction
20. The Puppy Episode
The sitcom, Ellen, reached its height of popularity in February 1997, when DeGeneres came out as a lesbian on The Oprah Winfrey Show. That April her character on the sitcom came out of the closet to her therapist, played by Oprah Winfrey. The coming-out episode, titled “The Puppy Episode”, was one of the highest-rated episodes of the show.
19. What can’t she do
Ellen DeGeneres became an author in 1995 when she penned the comical, “My Point… and I Do Have One.”The book climbed to the number one slot on the New York Times bestsellers list. It also stayed on the “Publishers Weekly” bestseller list for 24 weeks.
18. Sia later
Ellen DeGeneres voices Dory from Finding Nemo and the sequel Finding Dory. Ellen personally asked her good friend Sia to sing the theme song for Finding Dory which she did. The song is called Unforgettable which suits the movie perfectly.
17. And it begins
In 1986 Ellen performed on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Carson later invited Ellen to the hot seat for an interview. DeGeneres was the first female comedian invited by the iconic host to join him for such a discussion, at a time when such an invitation was widely regarded as one of the most influential endorsements available for a comic.
16. Who am I?
DeGeneres was born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana, the daughter of Betty DeGeneres a speech therapist, and Elliott Everett DeGeneres, an insurance agent. She has one brother, Vance, a musician and producer. She is of French, English, German, and Irish descent.
15. She’s shy
Was initially reluctant to do a love scene with Sharon Stone in If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000), but Ellen’s then-girlfriend Anne Heche, who was directing this particular segment of the film, encouraged her to do it. Ellen eventually gave in.
14. Questionable choice…
Auditioned for the role of Jody in Pulp Fiction (1994), but Rosanna Arquette was cast instead.
13. I can see your halo
Animal advocate and co-owner of Halo. Halo’s mission is to provide people and their pets with honest information and wholesome products to better the lives of animals and the people who love them.
12. Humble beginnings
Ellen lived in the apartment used in Annabelle (2014). While promoting the movie in her show she explained that: “The apartment in the movie was my first apartment that I moved to in L.A. That was the building I lived in; where they shot the movie. I was watching it going: ‘That looks familiar’ and it was my building. It was scary back then too.”.
11. Make a wish
In 2010 Ellen founded her record label “eleveneleven” with her TV production company “A Very Good Production.” The first artist signed to the label was teen sensation Greyson Chance after he developed a huge following on YouTube. The genesis of Ellen’s company name resulted from her frequent sightings of 11:11 on digital timepieces, her chance discovery of the singer on the 11th of the month and the fact that his soccer jersey number was 11.
10. Deservedly so
On November 22, 2016, Ellen was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, by President Barack Obama.
9. It runs in the family
Madonna and Ellen are eleventh cousins. They share the same 10th great-grandfather: Martin Aucoin from France. Both Madonna and Ellen’s families stayed in Nova Scotia after immigrating from France. In the late 1700s, Ellen’s family left for Louisiana, while Madonna’s family left Canada in the 1870s to head to Michigan.
8. Who needs Aspirin anyways
Ellen and her brother were both raised in a family of Christian Scientists, and Ellen associated with the religion until she was 13 years old. Followers of this sect of Christianity do not believe in seeing doctors or using medication, and Ellen herself has said that she never had aspirin until she was a teenager.
7. Escape within
DeGeneres opened the show at the David Lynch Foundation’s 3rd annual “Change Begins Within” gala at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to raise funds to bring Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations suffering from epidemic levels of chronic stress and stress-related disorders. She says: “TM is the only time I have that stillness… it gives me this peaceful feeling, and I love it so much. I can’t say enough good things about it. All the benefits that you can achieve from sitting still and going within—it really is a beautiful experience. David Lynch is such a wonderful man to start this foundation to help people.”
6. It’s official
Since 2004, DeGeneres has had a relationship with Portia de Rossi. After the overturn of the same-sex marriage ban in California, DeGeneres and de Rossi were engaged, and married on August 16, 2008 at their home in Beverly Hills. They live happily with their four dogs and three cats.
5. Don’t mess
Forbes estimated DeGeneres’ 2015 earnings at US$75 million. In 2010 she was named the 10th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. In 2015, she was named the 50th most powerful woman in the world and also number two on the World Pride Power list.
4. The black and gold
She is a fan of the National Football League and has shown particular support for the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers. In 2011, she attended a Saints practice dressed as Packers Hall of Famer Don Hutson.
3. Most likely to…
DeGeneres celebrated her thirty-year class reunion by flying her graduating class to California to be guests on her show in February 2006. She presented Atlanta High School with a surprise gift of a new electronic LED marquee sign.
2. Objectification… Or?
In 2017, Ellen faced backlash over an allegedly objectifying comment she made about Katy Perry’s breasts, where she said, “It’s time to bring out the balloons!” referring to the fact that it was Katy Perry’s birthday, but also clearly making a pun about her breasts (see image below).
People claimed that, in the current cultural climate of sexual objectification and assault cases in Hollywood, this kind of comment was highly inappropriate. Some people even used this as an example of ‘double standards’ between men and women.
However, other people responded to this criticism by saying that Katy and Ellen are good friends, and that it was a lighthearted joke between two people who knew each other well.
1. Stand up
When Ellen came out as a lesbian on her show in April 1997, ABC’s affiliate in Birmingham, Alabama, refused to air the landmark episode. As a result, some of the show’s sponsors, including Chrysler, withdrew their advertisements.