Portia Gives Ellen One of the Best Birthday Presents Ever


OK, I’m being told there’s
someone else here who wants to say happy birthday. I don’t know who it
is but come on out. [CHEERING] OK, I was wondering why
you weren’t over there and I don’t know why you’re
here because you can’t talk, you don’t have a voice. I can’t talk. Actually this is your
birthday gift, a sexy voice. [LAUGHTER] I am here to give you your gift. Oh my gosh, I really can’t talk. So it’s your 60th
birthday and this gift had to be really special. And it had to
represent who you are and what you really care about. Not just now, but what
you’ve always cared about. What you were
influenced by and what has made you the amazing
person that you are today. So I combined that and questions
when we first met like, who’s your idol? And what would you do if you
weren’t a talk show host? So I combined that with the
fact that, literally guys, for like the last two
years Ellen has said to me, I feel like I’m
not doing enough. Every day, almost. So I put all that together
and I got you this gift. Let’s see it. Happy birthday. When people ask my wife, who is
the person living or dead you most want to interview, her
answer is always Dian Fossey. Ellen remembers reading
“National Geographic” at home as a little girl and
remembers Dian on the cover of the January 1970 magazine. Ellen was struck by
Dian’s dedication to animals, her mind,
and her bravery. Ellen read how in 1967,
Dian Fossey set up a camp she called Karisoke
in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda. This is where Dian
began studying several dozen gorillas. And at that time, Dian was
alone in protecting them. Fast forward 18
years and the world was sad to learn that Dian was
murdered in 1985 in her cabin at Karisoke. Most of us know Dian’s work
from her book “Gorillas in the Mist,”
which is legendary, and carried on her story. Her story is also carried on
through the work of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. The Fossey Fund exists
to ensure the survival and thriving of wild
gorillas in close partnership with the government of Rwanda. But unfortunately, today there
are only 880 mountain gorillas alive on earth. Thus, the work of the
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund remains vitally important
to ensuring their future. In “Gorillas in the
Mist,” Dian wrote, “little did I know then that
by setting up two small tents in the wilderness
of the Virungas, I had launched the
beginnings of what was to become an internationally
renowned research station, eventually to be utilized
by students and scientists from many countries.” So for your birthday,
Ellen, I am bringing you and your hero Dian together,
by building the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian
Fossey Gorilla Fund. Ellen, you will carry
on Dian’s legacy by giving them a
permanent home in Rwanda. Now, you will join Dian as
a protector and champion of these amazing animals,
the mountain gorillas. Happy birthday. [CHEERING] Oh my god. Happy birthday. [CHEERING] But that’s not all. Oh my god. So, in summer– Is this in Burbank? Where is it? [LAUGHTER] Well that’s the thing. So it’ll be a most incredible
center for tourism, education, and for further
scientific research. [APPLAUSE] Here’s actually kind
of the best bit. I have also set up a foundation
in your name called the Ellen Degeneres Wildlife Fund. So this is the first
initiative for the fund. But you can take this and do
whatever you want with it. You’ve done amazing
work for elephants. And you can just
continue and support whatever you want to do. It’s the best gift. I’ve always said, when we got
married, Portia’s line was, “it’s good to be loved, it’s
profound to be understood.” And she understands
me because that is the best gift that
anybody could have given me. I love you.

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