How Ellen Degeneres Made Her $330 Million Fortune

By on September 14, 2016 in ArticlesEntertainment

It seems impossible to remember a time when Ellen Degeneres wasn't everywhere. From her standup career to her 1994-1998 sitcom Ellen, to her daytime talk show The Ellen Degeneres Show, to her voice over work as Dory in Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, the actress, comedienne, writer, producer, and television host is pretty much the new Queen of All Media. She has multiple endorsement deals, her own clothing line through the Gap, and a red hot mobile game called Heads Up. For all of this work, Ellen has earned a $330 million net worth.

Long before Ellen was a multi-millionaire, she was a stand up comedian working small comedy clubs and coffee houses. She began touring nationally in the early 1980s and in 1982, was named Showtime's Funniest Person in America. By the late 1980s, Ellen was branching out into film with appearances in films including Coneheads, Mr. Wrong, and EdTV.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

In 1992, Ellen was cast in a short-lived sitcom called Laurie Hill. It was cancelled after four episodes, but Ellen had made her mark on the producers, and they cast her in a sitcom called These Friends Of Mine, which was renamed Ellen for its second season. Ellen was loosely based on her standup. It was a hit.

In February 1997, Ellen came out as a lesbian on The Oprah Winfrey Show. That April, she made history when her character on her sitcom came out to her therapist, played by Oprah. The coming out episode was one of the highest-rated episodes of the show.

After Ellen was cancelled at the end of the 1997-98 television season, Ellen returned to stand up comedy for a few years, commanding much more money for her appearances than she did back in her coffee house days.

In the fall of 2003, Ellen launched her daytime television talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen personally has been nominated for 56 daytime Emmy Awards and won 27 of those. Ellen, the talk show, has won more than 36 Emmy Awards. The show has launched or played a roll in launching a number of stars including Justin Bieber, who made one of his first appearances on Ellen's show. Ellen's mom is also prominently featured on the show.

In May 2013, Ellen debuted the mobile game Heads Up!, based on a game she played with guests on her show. The game has been downloaded more than 25 million times – 650,000 of those were during its first month of release. Between 300,000 and a million games are played a day. Over the holidays that number goes up: on Thanksgiving 3 million games are played, on New Year's Day 4.5 million; and Christmas Day sees 5.5 million games played. Three years after its release, Heads Up! remains among on of the top-paid apps in iTunes and a fun way for Ellen to supplement her already amazing 2016 earnings of $75 million.

Articles Written by Amy Lamare
Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based writer covering business, technology, entertainment, philanthropy, and pop culture. She spent 8 1/2 years covering the entertainment industry for www.hsx.com. She attended the University of Southern California where she majored in Creative Writing. An avid long distance runner, weekends she can be found running the streets of Los Angeles training for 1/2 and full marathons. Follow her on Facebook.
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