Valentina Cortese (born January 1, 1925) is an Italian actress.
She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in La Nuit américaine. She also appeared in the Franco Zeffirelli miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (movie).
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The film went on to become the biggest grossing animated film of all time and also won the Academy Award for best Animated Feature that year. DeGeneres' lent her voice to the role of "Dory," in the 2003 hit animated film Finding Nemo. Finding Nemo relaunched DeGeneres into the limelight. She memorably delivered the following line: "We're told to go on living our lives as usual, because to do otherwise is to let the terrorists win, and really, what would upset the Taliban more than a gay woman wearing a suit in front of a room full of Jews?". DeGeneres delivered, receiving several standing ovations for her performance that evening.
Hosted following three cancellations due to terror threats following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the show required a newer, more somber tone that at the same time allowed viewers to forget the tragedy of their daily lives. However, in 2002 DeGeneres redeemed herself as hostess of the 2002 Emmy Awards. Some speculated that DeGeneres's star had faded. It received critical praise but low viewership and was cancelled after one season.
Though her character was again lesbian, it was not the central theme of the show. DeGeneres returned to television in 2001 with a new sitcom, The Ellen Show. She reportedly is now living with American television actress Portia de Rossi. In 2000, DeGeneres began a relationship with photographer Alexandra Hedison, which ended in December 2004.
DeGeneres returned to the stand-up comedy circuit, and several years later her relationship with Heche dissolved when Heche suffered a psychotic break before beginning an affair with a male lover (to whom she is now married.). Finally, suffering from sinking ratings, the show was cancelled. Even lesbian activist Chastity Bono stated that she found the show to be "too gay". DeGeneres's sitcom seemed to turn entirely into a show about homosexuality.
Soon the public tired of seeing the two interviewed about homosexuality incessantly, and they were tagged as obsessive gay rights activists who pushed their agenda on a jaded public. Though not an entirely uncommon belief, Heche was known to have only had relationships with men prior to DeGeneres, and thus it was rumored that Heche feigned love for DeGeneres in order to feed off of her success. Part of this was due to Heche's insistence that sexuality was fluid and that humans have the capacity to love regardless of gender. Although a willing participant at first, the publicity about her relationship with former Another World actress Anne Heche turned into gossip and negative tabloid press.
Because she was one of the first openly gay performers playing an openly gay character on television, she was forced into activism for gay rights. In spite of the controversy, or maybe because of it, the outing episode was one of the highest-rated episodes of the show, before or after. Known in fairly limited circles, DeGeneres's lesbianism became subject for major news coverage when she, along with her character, outed themselves on her show, Ellen. She is currently a spokeswoman for American Express.
The show was hugely popular for its first few seasons due in part to DeGeneres's quirky observational humor. Like many successful stand-up performers, her material was turned into the subject matter for her successful 1990s sitcom, Ellen (initially called These Friends of Mine). Ellen DeGeneres (born January 26, 1958 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is a popular American actress and stand-up comedian. Wrong (1996).
Mr. Edtv (1999). The Love Letter (1999). If These Walls Could Talk 2 (2000).
Finding Nemo (2003). Ellen Degeneres: Taste This. The Funny Thing Is.... and I do Have One.