Betty DeGeneres

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Betty DeGeneres
Betty DeGeneres LA Pride 2011.jpg
DeGeneres supporting PFLAG at the Los Angeles LGBT pride parade in 2011
Born Elizabeth Jane Pfeffer
(1930-05-20) May 20, 1930 (age 86)
Violet, Louisiana, U.S.
Spouse(s) Elliot DeGeneres (m. 1952; div. 1971)
Roy Gruessendorf
Children Vance DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres

Elizabeth Jane "Betty" DeGeneres (née Pfeffer; born May 20, 1930) is an American LGBT rights activist. She is the mother of Ellen and Vance DeGeneres and the first straight spokeswoman for the Human Rights Campaign's National Coming Out Project[1] and an active member of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). She gained notability following her daughter Ellen's highly publicized coming out in 1997.

Life and career[edit]

DeGeneres (right) in 1997

DeGeneres was born in Violet, Louisiana. She attended Louisiana State University for two years and married Elliott DeGeneres in 1952 (now divorced). She is now married to Roy Gruessendorf.

DeGeneres is the author of two books: Love, Ellen: A Mother Daughter Journey and Just a Mom. In Love, Ellen: A Mother Daughter Journey, Betty describes her reaction to her daughter coming out as a lesbian, and her path from passive acceptance to becoming a passionate advocate for LGBT rights. She also describes the media scrutiny she received after Ellen came out. Her second book, Just a Mom, continues these themes. She also wrote a column for the (now defunct) website PlanetOut called "Ask Betty."[2]

DeGeneres appeared as an extra in the episode "The Puppy Episode" of the television sitcom Ellen, in which her daughter Ellen's character comes out. DeGeneres appears in many episodes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, sitting in the audience.

DeGeneres is a breast cancer survivor and discusses this during public appearances.


  1. ^ "Yep, I'm an activist: Betty DeGeneres, Ellen's mom, agrees to serve as spokeswoman for HRC's coming-out project", The Advocate, October 28, 1997
  2. ^ "PlanetOut Gay and Lesbian Internet Site and Betty DeGeneres, Author And Spokesmom, Launch New Online Advice Channel 'Ask Betty' to Celebrate Gay Pride Weekend 1999". Retrieved 2012-02-21. 

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