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Leeza Gibbons

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Also Known As: Leeza Kim Gibbons Died:
Born: March 26, 1957 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Hartsville, South Carolina, USA Profession: TV host, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Attractive, flaxen-haired television personality Leeza Gibbons first came to national attention as a correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight" (syndicated, 1981- ), before going on to greater fame as a talk-show host in the 1990s. As the star and producer of the long-running, eponymous talk program, "Leeza" (syndicated, 1994-2000), Gibbons steered her show to three Daytime Emmy victories. Always under the radar - but never out of the public eye - Gibbons made a splashy return to prime time in Spring 2007 when she was announced as a celebrity contestant on the highly rated competitive reality show, "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ).Born on March 26, 1957 in Hartsville, SC, Leeza Kim Gibbons was the eldest of two daughters born to Carlos and Jean Gibbons. A former high school cheerleader, Gibbons graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in journalism and mass communication. Career-focused from college, the personable Gibbons first found employment as an anchor on WLTR, a National Public Radio affiliate in Columbia, SC. She broke into TV as a news anchor at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC, eventually leaving her home state to host "PM Magazine" at KFDM in Beaumont, TX, and WFAA-TV...

Attractive, flaxen-haired television personality Leeza Gibbons first came to national attention as a correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight" (syndicated, 1981- ), before going on to greater fame as a talk-show host in the 1990s. As the star and producer of the long-running, eponymous talk program, "Leeza" (syndicated, 1994-2000), Gibbons steered her show to three Daytime Emmy victories. Always under the radar - but never out of the public eye - Gibbons made a splashy return to prime time in Spring 2007 when she was announced as a celebrity contestant on the highly rated competitive reality show, "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005- ).

Born on March 26, 1957 in Hartsville, SC, Leeza Kim Gibbons was the eldest of two daughters born to Carlos and Jean Gibbons. A former high school cheerleader, Gibbons graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in journalism and mass communication. Career-focused from college, the personable Gibbons first found employment as an anchor on WLTR, a National Public Radio affiliate in Columbia, SC. She broke into TV as a news anchor at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC, eventually leaving her home state to host "PM Magazine" at KFDM in Beaumont, TX, and WFAA-TV in Dallas. By the early 1980s, Gibbons was in the major markets, as co-host of the short-lived "Two on the Town" at WCBS in NYC. In 1984, the 27-year-old Gibbons' career took off when she was hired as a field correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight." A popular fill-in host, Gibbons frequently substituted for "E.T." anchor Mary Hart throughout the 80's and 90's. Gibbons also co-hosted the weekly, "Entertainment This Week." While she would spent a decade affiliated with these programs, she also accepted a number of other assignments, ranging from contributing segments to "Good Morning, Australia" to hosting such programs as ABC's "Home" and NBC's "George Schlatter's Funny People" (both 1988).

In 1993, Gibbons inked a deal with Paramount to host her own daily talk-show. "Leeza" premiered in January of 1994, during the height of the TV talk show wars. Thrust onto a crowded playing field, the fledgling show competed against a gaggle of more established and/or more outrageous talk-show competitors including Geraldo Rivera, Jenny Jones, Tempesst Bledsoe, Charles Perez, Marilyn Kagen, and Jerry Springer. Much to its credit, however, "Leeza" withstood the test of time far better than expected; even managing to stand out amid the glut of gabfests by marketing itself as a higher-brow alternative to the carnival sideshow antics of its competitors. With a style, studio set and audience demographic much closer to Oprah Winfrey's than Ricki Lake's, "Leeza" focused prominently on women's issues. Committed to making a show that could empower women, Gibbons used her clout as host - and executive producer - to steer the show's topics toward a feminist point of view.

Following the cancellation of her talk show, Gibbons landed back into entertainment journalism as the anchor for the newsmagazine "Extra" (syndicated, 1994- ) from 2000-02. In 2000, Gibbons was briefly considered as a replacement for Kathie Lee Gifford when the latter left her hostessing duties on the wildly popular morning gabfest "Live with Regis & Kathie Lee" (ABC, 1989- ). Her reluctance to relocate to New York, however (where "Live" was taped), resulted in Gibbons' name being pulled from consideration early in the running.

An occasional actress, Gibbons had small roles in a handful of commercially popular ventures. Among her most notable roles was that of the satirically bubbly news anchor, Jess Perkins, in both "Robocop" (1987) and its sequel, "Robocop 2" (1990), as well as playing herself in the campy film, "Soapdish" (1991). Her most high-profile gig in years, however, was arguably as a contestant in 2007's spring edition of "Dancing with the Stars," in which she described herself among the younger contestants as " the woman of a certain age."

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Man of the Year (2003) Reporter
2.
 Bless the Child (2000) Herself
3.
 Last Action Hero (1993) Herself (Cameo Appearance)
4.
 The Player (1992) Herself
6.
7.
 Soapdish (1991) Herself (Special Appearance)
8.
9.
 Robocop 2 (1990) Jesse Perkins
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Started out as a news anchor for WLTR in Columbia, SC
:
Co-hosted "PM Magazine" in Dallas and Beaumont, TX
1983:
Co-hosted CBS' "Two on the Town" in NYC
1984:
Became a correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight" (Syndicated)
1985:
Appeared as an "Entertainment Tonight" reporter in the film, "Maxie"
1987:
Began providing Hollywood segments to "Good Morning, Australia"
1987:
Played Jesse Perkins in "Robocop"
1988:
Hosted "Home" (ABC)
1988:
Hosted "George Schlatter's Funny People" (NBC)
1990:
Reprised role of Jesse Perkins in "Robocop 2"
1991:
Appeared as herself in the film, "Soapdish"
1993:
With John Tesh, co-hosted the short-lived NBC talk show, "John & Leeza"
:
Formed Leeza Gibbons Enterprises (LGE)
1994:
Hosted and executive produced her own talk shoe, "Leeza" (NBC, 1994-1999; syndicated 1999-2000)
1998:
Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (May 7)
1999:
Signed by E! Entertainment TV to produce and host documentaries on pop culture
2000:
Returned to hosting duties, succeeding Maureen O'Boyle on "Extra" (Syndicated)
2003:
Hosted the Lifetime reality series, "What Should You Do?"
2007:
Joined the ABC reality series, "Dancing with the Stars"
2009:
Published the book, <i>Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss</i>, which tells the story of Leeza's family's personal struggle with Alzheimer's disease after her mother's diagnosis
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Irmo High School: Irmo , South Carolina -
University of South Carolina: Columbia , South Carolina -

Notes

Gibbons was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame and also received the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor given a civilian by the state.

"The only time I was ever intimidated was when I interviewed Ted Koppel. He's the best in the business, and he taught me something I carry around with me and pull out when I need. He said, 'Don't ever forget that these people are on your turf. You are in control.' And he's right. No matter who I am talking with, they look to me to set the tone." --Leeza Gibbons

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
John Hicks. Married in 1980; divorced.
husband:
Christopher Quinten. Married in 1988; divorced in 1990.
husband:
Stephen Meadows. Actor, architect. Born c. 1951; married on February 14, 1991.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Jean Gibbons. Homemaker. Born c. 1935; diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 2002.
father:
Carlos Giboons. Former state superintendent of education, antique shop owner. Born c. 1930.
daughter:
Alexandra Quinten. Born c. 1989.
son:
Troy Meadows. Born c. 1992.
son:
Nathan Daniel Meadows. Born on October 3, 1997.
brother:
Carlos Giboons Jr. Attorney. Born c. 1955.
sister:
Cammy. Hairdresser. Born c. 1964.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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