Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres was born in Metairie, Louisiana. She started as a local stand-up comic and achieved national recognition when, in 1982, she was honored by Showtime as the “Funniest Person in America.” In 1984, she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. She then began an acting career as the star of the sitcom These Friends of Mine, which was changed to Ellen after the first season. In April 1997, her character Ellen Morgan, as well as DeGeneres herself, came out on the air. Although the show was later cancelled due to declining ratings, her coming out was widely covered in the national news media and is considered by many a turning point in the visibility of lesbians and gays in popular culture. In 2003 she made a comeback as the host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a popular daytime talk show which has won many Emmy awards. In addition to her success in show business, DeGeneres has been an advocate of breast cancer and AIDS awareness, animal rights, and LGBT rights.