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15 Dec 2008

Louisianians Famous Eltonites

Ellen Lee DeGeneres (born January 26, 1958) is an eleven-time Emmy Award-winning American stand-up comedienne, television hostess and actress. She hosts the award winning syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show. DeGeneres started performing stand-up comedy at small clubs and coffeehouses before working her way up to emcee Clyde's Comedy Club by 1981. DeGeneres' comedy material became the basis of the successful 1994-1998 sitcom Ellen, named These Friends of Mine during its first season. The ABC show was popular in its first few seasons due in part to DeGeneres' style of quirky observational humor. Ellen reached its height of popularity in February 1997, when DeGeneres made her homosexuality public on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

How Ellen selected the music on the show? "I've adopted the philosophy of Socrates: "If it sounds good in my car, it'll sound good on the show." And audience could see her laying on Elton John's piano while he's singing, in one of the many times she invited him. Also, Ellen DeGeneres attend the 16th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party at the Pacific Design Center on February 24, 2008 in West Hollywood, California.

Tim McGraw was born Samuel Timothy McGraw in Delhi, Louisiana, a town in Richland Parish, the son of a waitress, Elizabeth (Betty) Ann D'Agostino, and a relief pitcher for the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, Frank Edwin McGraw Jr., also known as Tug McGraw. He grew up listening to a variety of music: country, pop, rock, and R&B. He attended Northeast Louisiana University on a baseball scholarship, studying sports medicine, and it was only then that he started playing guitar to accompany his singing. McGraw's fortunes changed with the lead single from his 1994 "Not a Moment Too Soon" album. McGraw's follow-up, 1995's "All I Want", immediately consolidated his stardom with the number one smash "I Like It, I Love It." The album topped the country charts, reached the pop Top Five, and sold over two million copies. Over 1996, McGraw supported the album with an extensive tour, accompanied by opening act Faith Hill. In October, after the tour was over, McGraw and Hill married.

In 2002, Tim McGraw bucked country music traditions by recording his album "Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors", which also featured a a startlingly faithful cover version of Elton John's classic "Tiny Dancer". "I've always loved the feel and the vibe of Elton John's original version of the song, and when I heard it in Almost Famous it really jumped out at me and I felt like I could do something with it," says McGraw. "It was a challenge to record such a well-known, classic song, but I think we did a pretty good job."

Anne Rice (born Howard Allen O'Brien on October 4, 1941) is a best-selling American author of gothic and religious-themed books. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history. "My birth name is Howard Allen because apparently my mother thought it was a good idea to name me Howard. My father's name was Howard, she wanted to name me after Howard, and she thought it was a very interesting thing to do." Rice became "Anne" on her first day of school, when a nun asked her what her name was. She told her "Anne", having felt it was a pretty name.

She completed her first book, Interview with the Vampire, in 1973 and published it in 1976. This book would be the first in Rice's popular Vampire Chronicles series, which includes 1985's The Vampire Lestat and 1988's The Queen of the Damned. On April 25, 2006, the musical Lestat, with music by Elton John and lyrics by Bernie Taupin, it was based on Rice's Vampire Chronicles books and opened at the Palace Theatre on Broadway. Despite Rice's own overwhelming approval and praise, the show received mostly poor reviews by critics and disappointing attendance.

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