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ELLEN DEGENERES (Dory) voices a regal blue tang with short-term memory loss and an endlessly optimistic outlook who joins Marlin on his quest to rescue his son. A good Samaritan who would gladly stop to tell you her life story if she could only remember it, Dory's sunny point of view helps Marlin overcome seemingly impossible odds.

DeGeneres observes, "I think most people know that when I play any part in a movie, I really do a lot of research and become the character. So for this role, I lived in the ocean for six months, painted myself blue, and just swam around like a fish. Imagine my embarrassment when they told me this was an animated film and I wouldn't be on camera.

"I played the character of Dory almost like she was a seven-year-old,” she adds. "She's so naïve and childlike, which is a beautiful thing because she never expects anything bad or dangerous to happen. She's happy all the time and very positive. She doesn't see things as really ever being bad. An adventure is always good and something that could be a new experience. And since she doesn't remember things, every experience is new to her. Marlin is the extreme opposite. He's a character who's paralyzed with fear.

"One of the fun things about doing Dory is that she speaks whale,” continues DeGeneres. "That was actually really fun coming up with and interesting for the throat too. I don't recommend it and apologize right now to all the parents who have kids trying to speak whale at home. That's going to be an obnoxious thing if it catches on, with kids running around speaking whale.

"I love the strong themes in ‘Finding Nemo',” she concludes. "It's a wonderful thing to know that your father or mother or someone would go the end of the Earth to find you. I think that the film also reminds us that fish have feelings and little families. It gives you something to think about and tells us we need to protect our oceans and pay attention to how precious everything is down to the coral reefs.”

A pioneer and a television icon, DeGeneres made history in April 1997 with her on-screen persona, ‘Ellen Morgan' from the series "Ellen.” Her groundbreaking legacy began in 1986 during her first appearance on "The Tonight Show” when she became the first and only woman to be summoned by Johnny Carson to sit down with him after her first performance.

DeGeneres spent 2003 traveling the United States for her "Here and Now” standup tour, culminating in New York City in May. HBO plans to air a taping of her live performance in a special broadcast in June.

Preparations are underway for her to launch her own syndicated daytime talk show this Fall. The show is being produced in association with Telepictures Productions and will be distributed by Warner Brothers Television. Also in late Fall, Simon & Schuster will publish her latest book of comedic short stories and essays.

DeGeneres hosted the 2001 Primetime Emmy telecast and garnered rave reviews for a performance unequivocally combining her signature wit with heartfelt emotion, giving the post-September 11th audience a reason to laugh.

She began her career as an emcee at a local comedy club in her hometown of New Orleans, which led to national recognition in 1982 when her videotaped club performances won Showtime's award for "Funniest Person In America.” When she moved to Los Angeles she filmed her first HBO Special, "Young Comedians Reunion,” then "Women of the Night” (1986) and "Command Performance: One Night Stand” (1989), for which she received a Cable Ace nomination. She was also named "Best Female Stand-Up” at the 1991 American Comedy Awards.

DeGeneres began her career in television on Fox's "Open House,” then moved on to ABC's "Laurie Hill” until being offered "These Friends of Mine” by ABC, which transformed into "Ellen” after its first season. The show garnered record ratings, with DeGeneres receiving


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