Ellen DeGeneres on Monday received the
2012 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
The 54-year-old DeGeneres, the host of
The Ellen DeGeneres Show, was presented with the 15th
annual award at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in
Washington D.C., the AP reported.
“I never could have imagined my life
would end up this way,” DeGeneres said in accepting the award. “I
only thought I'd be a positive gay comedian wearing parachute pants.”
Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel
called DeGeneres the “original Modern Family.”
“In 1998, I mustered the courage to
come out of the closet, despite the fact that I'm not gay,” he
The Mark Twain Prize honors “people
that have spent one season or less as a judge on American Idol,”
Celebrities attending the event
included Sean Hayes, Jane Lynch, Kristin Chenoweth and John
DeGeneres' wife, Portia de Rossi, said
on the red carpet: “I am very, very proud of Ellen. She's not only
the funniest person I know, but she's such a good person.”
DeGeneres is the second openly gay
woman to receive the prize. Lily Tomlin was honored in 2003.