Friday, August 30, 2013
There is something about Ellen DeGeneres -- a glow?
The moment she appears you like her; the moment she opens her mouth, you like her.
What is it? Is it the way she relates to everything that you see around her -- be it a chair, pillow, glass, or the hoots, the applause from her audience, and the guests entering? It's never the same but I feel -- yes, feel -- Ellen reacting to whatever she's seeing.
Why do I invariably -- even when I briefly glimpse her as I'm tuning to the news -- pause and watch her, hear what she's saying?
Okay, I've wondered if this indefinable something has to do with her coming-out as a lesbian. Back in 1997, when she was in the television series, "Ellen," she came-out on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" -- told the world "I am a lesbian," just after an episode in which her character in the television sitcom came-out to a therapist played by Winfrey.
It was a big WOW. In those days, it could have caused her to be dropped from the show, or caused DeGeneres to fade as a popular TV personality. It didn't. Her series went on to explore more lesbian things. And since those days, Ellen DeGeneres has received more than a dozen Emmys and many other awards for her television work, and her support of many lesbian and gay issues
But that is NOT why I'm writing about her.
You can Google her, and be amazed at the number of shows, films, important events she's hosted, and performed in, but that indefinable something about her -- perhaps it really is a glow -- her eyes, smile, posture, the way she moves, the way she phrases a sentence -- makes you feel you know her. And whether or not what she says, spur-of-the-moment, is funny, or even seriously serious, it always seems as if what Ellen says is right, the right thing to say.
Maybe it's Ellen DeGeneres's background? Born and raised in Louisiana; a Christian Scientist till she was age 13; Mom a speech therapist, Dad a insurance agent; parents divorced. Ellen moved with Mom to Texas; graduated high school; briefly attended the University of New Orleans where she briefly studied communication; worked as clerk, saleslady, waitress, house painter, hostess, bartender -- used all of that as material when she was doing comedy at coffee houses and small clubs, inspired by Woody Allen and Steve Martin. She toured nationally, starred on TV's "Newhart" and "Carson," and was the first comedienne on Carson's show to be asked to sit down and chat with him.
On goes this good luck story, but it wasn't just luck -- there was, and is, that something -- that glow -- since 80's and 90's, one job breeding the next and the next. And since 2000, busier, more famous than ever, the 55-year-old Ellen is glowing more than ever.
I can't compare her to anyone else. I can't evaluate Ellen DeGeneres as an actress; or performer, or famous woman, or a starry star.
Why? Because there's no one like her. She's somehow become an American personality with whom you want to visit, like our Statue of liberty -- she's OUR Ellen.