A Brief Biography of Ellen Degenres

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Of French, English, German, and Irish descent, Emmy-winning talk-show host Ellen Lee DeGeneres was born into a family of four in Metairie, Louisiana. At age 16 in 1973, Ellen DeGeneres's father, insurance salesman Elliot Everett DeGeneres, divorced her mother, speech therapist Elizabeth Jane "Betty" Pfeffer.1 Shortly after, however, DeGeneres's mother married salesman Roy Gruessendorf, whom moved the family (which included DeGeneres's brother Vance) to Atlanta, Texas.
Ellen DeGeneres graduated from Atlanta High School in 1976. Then, she continued her education at the University of New Orleans as a communication major; she dropped out after one semester. Ellen DeGeneres claimed that that she was "not book smart."2
After college, Ellen DeGeneres subsisted on a variety of jobs; she became a clerk, a salesperson, a waitress, a housepainter, a hostess, and a bartender. The origin of DeGeneres's stand-up comedy started in small clubs and coffee houses. However, Ellen DeGeneres's career was not jumpstarted until 1981, when she performed as the emcee for Clyde's Comedy Club in New Orleans. In the early 1980s, Ellen began to tour around America; she was named as Showtime's Funniest Person in America by 1982.3 Consequently in 1986, DeGeneres appeared on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, whom compared her to Bob Newhart.4 Furthermore, DeGeneres was the first comedienne to be summoned to an onscreen chat with Carson after her performance.5
Ellen DeGeneres's first appearance

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