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Kathie Lee Gifford

Kathie Lee Gifford

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Also Known As: Kathie Epstein-Johnson, Kathie Lee Johnson, Kathryn Lee Epstein Died:
Born: August 16, 1953 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Paris, FR Profession: talk show host, singer, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Loved and pilloried with equal fervor by the general public and the media throughout the many phases of her career, Kathie Lee Gifford was a singer and nightclub entertainer who rose to prominence in the late 1980s as the co-host of "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" (WABC/syndicated, 1983- ). Her upbeat personality and frequent references to her husband, NFL star-turned-broadcaster Frank Gifford, and their two children, Cassidy and Cody, earned her the admiration of countless daytime television viewers - but more than a few brickbats from pundits and comics who found her stories and attitude unbearably saccharine and self-indulgent. The bubble burst on Gifford's rise to icon status with back-to-back allegations about sweatshop labor being used to create her clothing line, and her husband's affair with an airline stewardess. She beat a hasty retreat from the daily airwaves, but through it all, maintained a sunny presence on television series and live performances before returning to regular hosting duties on "The Today Show" (NBC, 1952- ) in 2008.

Loved and pilloried with equal fervor by the general public and the media throughout the many phases of her career, Kathie Lee Gifford was a singer and nightclub entertainer who rose to prominence in the late 1980s as the co-host of "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" (WABC/syndicated, 1983- ). Her upbeat personality and frequent references to her husband, NFL star-turned-broadcaster Frank Gifford, and their two children, Cassidy and Cody, earned her the admiration of countless daytime television viewers - but more than a few brickbats from pundits and comics who found her stories and attitude unbearably saccharine and self-indulgent. The bubble burst on Gifford's rise to icon status with back-to-back allegations about sweatshop labor being used to create her clothing line, and her husband's affair with an airline stewardess. She beat a hasty retreat from the daily airwaves, but through it all, maintained a sunny presence on television series and live performances before returning to regular hosting duties on "The Today Show" (NBC, 1952- ) in 2008.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Spinning Out of Control (2001) Amanda Berkeley
3.
 Model Behavior (2000) Dierdre Adams
4.
 Dudley Do-Right (1999) Herself
5.
 First Wives Club, The (1996) Herself
6.
 Personal Assistant (2002) Personal Assistant
7.
 Frank Gifford (2002) Interviewee
8.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Family lived in France and Germany before settling in Maryland
1964:
Became a Born-Again Christian
:
In the late 1960s, performed with sister in the folk group Pennsylvania Next Right
1970:
Won Maryland's Junior Miss Contest
1970:
Competed in America's Junior Miss Pageant; disqualified for talking to a male but not before winning Kraft Hostess Award; made first TV commercial for Kraft products
1971:
Moved to Florida and worked for singer Anita Bryant for one-year as a live-in secretary/babysitter
:
While in college, toured with gospel group World Action Singers
:
After college moved to Los Angeles
:
Worked in Las Vegas briefly as a singer
1976:
Feature acting debut alongside sister Michie in the religious-themed "Jana"
1976:
Had brief stint as a nurse on the NBC soap opera "Days of Out Lives"
1977:
As Kathie Lee Johnson, became featured singer on the syndicated game show "Name That Tune"
1978:
Appeared regularly on the syndicated variety series, "Hee Haw Honeys"
:
Guest hosted "A.M. Los Angeles"
1982:
Became correspondent for "Good Morning America" (ABC); also substituted for Joan Lunden as host
1982:
Met future husband Frank Gifford when they co-hosted the Thanksgiving broadcast of "Good Morning America" (ABC)
1984:
Became commercial spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines
1985:
Joined Regis Philbin as co-host of the "The Morning Show" (NYC only)
1988:
Co-hosted the nationally syndicated "Live With Regis and Kathie Lee"
1993:
First primetime network special, "Kathie Lee Gifford's Celebration of Motherhood"
1995:
Introduced the Kathie Lee Gifford collection clothing line in Wal-Mart stores
1996:
Made dramatic guest appearance on the CBS series "Touched By an Angel"
1999:
Broadway debut as Carol Burnett's replacement in the revue "Putting It Together"
2000:
Announced (February 29) she would be leaving "Live With Regis & Kathie Lee" in July
2000:
Acted in the ABC movie "Model Behavior"
2001:
Had leading role of a drug and alcohol addicted TV star in the E! movie "Spinning Out of Control"
2001:
Hosted the annual telecast of the Daytime Emmy Awards
2005:
Joined the syndicated entertainment magazine television show "The Insider" as a special correspondent
2005:
Wrote the book and lyrics for the musical "Saving Aimee" about the life and times of evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson; premiered at the White Plains Performing Arts Center
2008:
Join NBC's "Today" for the program's fourth hour (10 a.m.) teaming with Hoda Kotb
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Bowie High School: Bowie , Maryland -
Oral Roberts University: Tulsa , Oklahoma -
Oral Roberts University: Tulsa , Oklahoma -

Notes

"Most of our audience is women. Most of them are mothers and they don't live in an urban environment, they're out there in middle America. I think I understand a little bit better the kind of guest they might want to see." --Kathie Lee Gifford

Gifford's paternal grandfather was Jewish, thus her birth name, Epstein. She often jokes about being an undergraduate at the Christian Oral Roberts University with that surname. Although raised a Christian and ultimately describing herself as 'Born-Again', Gifford has also been quoted as referring to herself as a "completed Jew", the phrase usually reserved for those raised in Jewish homes who decide to embrace "Yeshua" as their messiah yet retain their Jewish heritage and identity.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Paul Johnson. Composer. Met in Bible class; married in April 1976; separated in 1982; divorced in 1983.
husband:
Frank Gifford. Sportscaster. Former football player; born on August 16, 1930; married in October 1986; his third marriage.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Aaron Epstein. Naval petty officer, musician, salesman.
mother:
Joan Epstein. Singer. Daughter of British-born parents; became Born-Again Christian in 1962.
brother:
David Epstein. Baptist minister. Older.
sister:
Michie Mader. Singer. Born c. 1955; became a Born-Again Christian with her mother in 1962.
son:
Cody Newton Gifford. Born on March 22, 1990; father, Frank Gifford.
daughter:
Cassidy Erin Gifford. Born on August 2, 1993; father, Frank Gifford.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Quiet Riot"
"I Can"t Believe I Said That!"
"Cooking with Regis and Katie Lee"
"Entertaining with Regis and Kathie Lee"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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