Influential Women – Ellen DeGeneres

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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I believe that Ellen Lee DeGeneres deserves more credit and ovation for what she has done in her life by inspiring men and women all the world. She was born in Metairie, Louisiana, a suburb of New Orleans. Growing up she wanted to become a veterinarian but said she wasn’t “book smart”. Ellen grew up a funny girl, she started doing stand-up comedy at a young age. In a article I read, the author stated “At the age of 23, DeGeneres began performing at a local coffeehouse.

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She got her big debut in 1986 when, acting on a tip from Jay Leno, The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson sent a booking agent to catch her act at the Improv in Hollywood”(para, 12). Ellen then appeared on the tonight show and at the time she was one of the only female comics. She was then invited to be on other shows like, “The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Later with Greg Kinnear, Larry King Live, and Good Morning, America”(para, 13). All this exposure from other shows were starting to get around and she was becoming pretty popular. She then created her own show named “Ellen” in 1997.

The show faced strong criticism when, in April 1997, DeGeneres’ character became the first lead in sitcom history to openly acknowledge her homosexuality on air. An ABC affiliate in Birmingham, Alabama, refused to air the landmark episode. Fearing controversy, some of the show’s sponsors, Daimler Chrysler among them, withdrew advertisements”(para, 14).

Ellen suffered from this decision by losing viewers and interest to some people. I personally have high respect for Ellen for standing up for herself and all those out there who are afraid to speak up when it comes to came sex preference. Ellen was given this platform by Oprah Winfrey on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. Oprah of course gave her wonderful courage, love, and strength while she told the news to everyone on live television.

Ellen DeGeneres often supports people or families who are in need or something very tragic has happened to them. In article by Monique Ellis, she mentions “Some recent examples include a $10,000 contribution for the wedding of a breast-cancer survivor who relied on The Ellen Show to lift her spirits during chemotherapy treatment and surgery recovery”(Ellis, para 4 ). There was another scenario stated by the author, “Ellen spotlighted previously-homeless man, Derek Walton, who set up the restaurant, Rock Power Pizza, that provides a free meal for homeless people and disadvantaged families every Monday”(Ellis, para 4). She then found out his story and invited him on the show and encouraged him to keep being a good person. She then gave him a check for $10,000 that left him speechless. Then a week later she invited him back on the “Ellen” show and gave him another check for $10,000 and a whole home renovation. In the article they add a quote that she has said before: “I don’t think you have to have a talk show to be nice to people, to do what I’m doing. I just think kindness is something that we all should have”(Ellis, para, 13). Ellen just simply does what is deep down to heart right and that meaning, do things for others, love one another, and spread joy. She also is similar to Oprah Winfrey in a way of using their famous platforms to do great things for people and to help others in wonderful ways.

Ellen has achieved a lot in her life, from many personal awards to helping people left and right. Article says, “During the period 2004-14, she has won twenty-five ‘Emmy Awards’. She has also been the recipient of ‘Producers Guild of America Awards’ in two occasions”(para, 26). This proves how many people appreciate her and how she has done so much for others. On November 11, 2016, Barack Obama gifted Ellen Lee DeGeneres with the beautiful medal of freedom. He gave this important medal to her because he realized and respected the major sacrifices she made for herself by her announces her homosexuality on live television in front of millions. She is iconic for this in the most inspiring way. Barack said “just how important it was and not only to the LGBT community but to all of us to see somebody so full of kindness, someone who could be our neighbor, or colleague, or sister to challenge our own assumptions. Remind us that we have more in common than we realize”(Obama). He makes a point when saying “we have more in common than we realize” to tell everyone that we are all human and all equal and need to have the most freedom in this country as possible. He also mentions that she is “helping this country push towards justice”. I respect Barack for noticing Ellen and her wonderful acts and rewards her for all she has done and continues to do so to this day.

By doing this assignment, I have learned more about Ellen DeGeneres and how influential she has been for the past 3 to 4 decades. I feel as if she is not given enough credit as she should be receiving. It’s upsetting but there are still people that don’t respect same sex preferences or same sex marriage. I think that they’re plenty of those people that will not even listen to Ellen because of that which I believe is so utterly wrong. I believe that Ellen Lee DeGeneres is an amazing person and I think she is very influential to all americans and even to other countries.

Works Cited

  1. “Ellen Degeneres Timeline.” Timetoast,
  2. “How Ellen DeGeneres Is Making the World a Better Place.” A Better World Is Possible!, 18 Nov. 2017,
  3. “Ellen DeGeneres.”, A&E Networks Television, 15 Mar. 2018,
  4. “Who Is Ellen DeGeneres? Everything You Need to Know.” Childhood, Life Achievements & Timeline,
  5. “Ellen DeGeneres to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom.”, NBCUniversal News Group,
  6. “Ellen DeGeneres Medal of Freedom Award 11-22-16.” YouTube, YouTube, 22 Nov. 2016,
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Influential Women - Ellen DeGeneres. (2021, Oct 15). Retrieved from