Ellen DeGeneres

Born:January 26, 1958 (age 66)

Comedian, actress, and activist, Ellen DeGeneres is an advocate for a number of causes, including supporting orphans, disadvantaged children, gay and lesbian rights, women’s rights, abuse victims and those suffering from AIDS and HIV.

After coming out as gay in 1997, DeGeneres became an advocate for the gay rights movement. This is evident in her speech at the vigil of Matthew Shepard who died as a result of a hate crime because of his sexual orientation-- and in her campaigns against Proposition 8 in California, which made same-sex marriage illegal in California but was later ruled unconstitutional.

DeGeneres created an anti-bullying PSA called “Be Kind” which raised money for organizations dedicated to anti-bullying efforts, such as the Trevor Project and Pacer Center. She also created the Halo Pet Foundation, whose goals are to help pets in need, eliminate animal abuse and promote responsible pet ownership.

In 2016, DeGeneres was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama for her actions to bring to light the issue of gay rights.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica (n.d.) "Ellen Degeneres" Britannica. Retrieved September 26, 2022. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Ellen-DeGeneres