After last year’s Golden Globes marked the inaugural Carol Burnett Award for lifetime achievement in television, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the first non-Carol Burnett recipient.
News arrived Monday that Ellen DeGeneres will be the next to receive the honor. Lorenzo Soria, president of the HFPA, noted the comedienne’s work through sitcoms, stand-up comedy, and her current daytime television talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
“She is a pioneer who has captivated audiences for nearly 25 years with her undeniable charm and wit,” Soria said in a statement. “In addition to her television success, she’s an advocate and philanthropist, lending her voice to those who don’t have one, and spreading kindness and joy through the power of her platform. We look forward to celebrating her achievements at this year’s ceremony.”
The Carol Burnett Award was established as the television equivalent to the Golden Globes for the Cecil B. DeMille Award, which recognizes lifetime achievement in films and will go to Tom Hanks in 2020.
DeGeneres appeared on TV shows like Open House, Laurie Hill, Coneheads, Roseanne, The Dana Carvey Show, and Mad About You before starring on the Ellen sitcom from 1994-1998. On the show’s famous “The Puppy Episode,” the titular character came out of the closet and DeGeneres followed suit shortly after.
The moment threatened to dismantle DeGeneres’ career at a time when homophobia was the predominant attitude in America towards LGBTQ people. “It was the hardest thing that I ever had to do in my life and I would not change one moment of it because it led me to be exactly where I am today — standing in front of all of you, which is a joy,” DeGeneres said on her talk show in 2017, marking the 20th anniversary of “The Puppy Episode.” “And the fact that all of you and everyone at home is watching me and willing to accept me into your homes every day when no one thought that would ever happen again, it means the world to me.”
DeGeneres came back after Ellen with The Ellen Show from 2001-2002, continuing her stand-up comedy, and becoming the voice of Dory in Pixar’s Finding Nemo and the sequel Finding Dory. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is now currently secured to run through 2022. She’s also developing multiple programs for the HBO Max streaming platform.
The HFPA also made note of DeGeneres’ philanthropic achievements, through giveaways on her talk show, The Ellen Fund for endangered species, and her anti-bullying “Be Kind” campaign.
The Golden Globes, during which DeGeneres will receive the Carol Burnett Award, will be televised Sunday, Jan 5 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. PT/8:00-11:00 p.m. ET on NBC.