After almost 20 years of being a fixture on daytime TV, the one and only Ellen DeGeneres took a final bow last week. The 64-year old Emmy winner has been called “the queen of kindness.”
She has welcomed more than 4,000 guests including many local pals. Her show has been on the air for nearly two decades and from Cher to Tom Hanks to Adam Sandler and Howie Mandel, many familiar Malibu faces have had a seat in her guest chair.
Her first local “friend” and guest was Jennifer Aniston, who talked about moving from New York City to LA due to a lack of work. She started as a telemarketer before nailing the part of Rachel on her hit prime-time series “Friends.”
That led to a mob of followers hitting the hair salon and clamoring for “The Rachel” after her popular haircut. Rom-coms, commercials and specials followed and the rest is history. Jen was her first guest and was also her last.
On one of the last episodes, the blond-haired beauty talked about moving to Laurel Canyon, where she found a bond with neighboring friends, which made her the perfect fit for the iconic TV show.
Aniston told Ellen she “changed television forever. I love you and can’t wait to see what you do in your next chapter.”
In this chapter, Ellen has changed people’s lives for those in need. She has given away everything from homes, to cars to big money checks.
In fact, she has given nearly half a billion dollars for folks who were scraping by and needed a helping hand. In fact she gave away a multitude of $10,000 cash checks, sleek new rides and even big-screen TVs for everyone in her entire audience.
Ellen says a lot has changed over the nearly 20 years she has been on the air. At first, network execs pulled her popular prime-time TV show “Ellen” and then she became a hit on daytime with “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Back in those days, she was banned from saying the word “gay” or “wife” because same-sex marriage was illegal, but today she has been married to her wife Portia de Rossi for 15 years. A teary-eyed Portia told Ellen on one of her last shows, “I married an icon.” Ellen replied, “when we started this show, there was no iPhone, no internet as we know it, no gay marriage — look how times have changed.”
Her final shows included guests like first lady Michelle Obama, David Letterman, Kim Kardashian and, of course, Anniston. Kardashian said, “Ellen, you have changed TV forever. I love you and I can’t wait for what you are going to do on your next chapter.” Her next chapter may be a little rest and diving into her work preserving African wildlife.
She also brought back the “lucky 13” who got a leg up thanks to Ellen and decided to pay it forward. They each got another check for $10,000.
Ellen received 32 Daytime Emmy awards, hosted the Oscars and was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In the end, there was more laughter than tears.
As always Ellen ended with her daily goodbye: “I feel the love in this room, back at ya, take it and spread it around.”