Kathie Lee Gifford 1985: On ‘The Morning Show,’ Kathie Lee Gifford wowed viewers with her on-screen chemistry with co-anchor Regis Philbin. For more than a decade, she co-anchored the fourth hour of the ‘Today’ show with Hoda Kotb.
What is Kathie Lee Gifford’s background? | Kathie Lee Gifford 1985
Kathie Lee Gifford 1985 Lee Gifford pursued a career as a Christian singer for numerous years. When a producer heard her broadcast an A.M. radio show, she was requested to appear on Good Morning America.
In 1985, she joined Regis Philbin on The Morning Show, and the two became immediate celebrities thanks to their humor and chemistry. For more than a decade, she co-hosted the fourth Today show with Hoda Kotb.
Early Years | Kathie Lee Gifford 1985
Kathryn Lee Epstein was born in Paris, France, on August 16, 1953. Aaron Leon Epstein, her father, was an American naval officer and weekend jazz saxophonist, and Joan (née Cuttell), her mother, was a former maritime secretary who became a radio vocalist.
Kathie Lee, David, and Michelle, Kathie Lee’s two siblings, grew up in France and other European nations, where their father was stationed. Aaron Epstein worked as a newspaper distributor and insurance agent in Bowie, Maryland, after returning to the United States in 1957. Later in life, he and his wife opened a resort hotel.
Kathie Lee grew up in a culturally Jewish setting, as one of her grandparents was Jewish. However, she attended Methodist Sunday school in Bowie. She became a born-again Christian at the age of 12 after seeing the Christian film The Restless Ones, which highlighted the sad consequences of a young girl abusing drugs and having sex.
Christian Musician | Kathie Lee Gifford 1985
Kathie Lee Gifford 1985 won her state Junior Miss pageant at the age of 17 and represented Maryland in the national competition in Mobile, Alabama. She met Anita Bryant, a well-known Christian singer and pageant co-host, there. Gifford’s talent as a Christian entertainer was instantly recognized by Bryant, who invited her to live and work with her and her husband, Bob Green, in Key Biscayne, Florida.
Gifford consented and spent the next year babysitting, doing secretarial work, and singing in Southern Baptist churches. She recognized that the couple’s loveless marriage was just a façade for their careers and that their personal lives were in disarray. Gifford chose to quit because he didn’t want to be a part of the hypocrisy.
On the other hand, Bryant had already secured Gifford a full scholarship and a spot in Roberts’ World Action Singers at the evangelical Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Gifford began singing on Oral Roberts’ television show, which was broadcast from Burbank, California, in 1972, and went throughout the Bible Belt, attending revival meetings. Gifford immediately saw the manipulation beneath Roberts’ charismatic facade and walked out of school during her junior year.
Kathie Lee Gifford 1985 used the remaining of her scholarship money to rent an apartment in Tulsa after experiencing her spiritual awakening. She scribbled down her spiritual musings for a few weeks there, which she finally published as The Quiet Riot in 1976. In April of that year, Gifford married Paul Johnson, the leader of her Bible study group and the owner of a Christian music publishing company.
She then revealed that it was merely a “contract with the state of California” and that it was a showbiz marriage. Even though the marriage barely lasted six years, it was fruitful professionally. Between 1976 and 1978, Gifford released three gospel albums, and the couple frequently appeared on evangelical television shows such as The 700 Club.
‘Live With Regis and Kathie Lee’ is hosted by Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford 1985 began working on her own, more secular career at the same time. She was hired to play Nurse Callahan for nine months while visiting a friend on the NBC soap series Days of Our Lives. She also created several TV pilots and worked on commercial jingles. Gifford was the main singer on Name That Tune from 1977 to 1978, replacing song lyrics with “la- la’s.”
This exposure led to several changes, including a role in the TV series Hee Haw Honeys and opening slots at Reno and Lake Tahoe casinos for comedians like Bill Cosby, Shecky Green, and Rich Little.
Regis Philbin resigned as host of the radio show A.M. Los Angeles in 1981, and Gifford filled in for two days. A Good Morning America (GMA) executive producer, Susan Winston, happened to be listening and was immediately captivated by Gifford’s talent and freshness.
On occasion, Gifford was invited to do some reporting and fill in for Joan Lunden on GMA in New York. Gifford moved to New York City after divorcing her first husband in 1982 and began appearing on the nationally televised show.
Meanwhile, Philbin, who is currently co-host of WABC-The TV’s Morning Show in New York, aggressively hunted for a new partner. Philbin was charmed by Gifford’s vigor and energy while watching GMA and eventually invited her to join him on his show.
Gifford decided to take a break from the stiffly scripted news program and was inspired by the new wave of “reality” shows such as Geraldo! and Sally Jessy Raphael to jump into a lighter venue.
In June 1985, she took her position next to Philbin, and the two quickly developed a connection that would go on to become legendary on daytime television. In the first week, Gifford called Philbin a “jerk,” setting off a fun cat-and-mouse game that proved the vinegar-tongued Philbin had finally met his equal.
The Morning Show knocked Phil Donahue out of first place in the tri-state area two months after their first show aired. Live With Regis & Kathie Lee became nationally syndicated in 1988, thanks to WABC and Buena Vista Television. Thanks to the live 15-minute “host chat” that kicked off each episode, Gifford and Philbin became immediate celebrities. Gifford soon rose to prominence as America’s TV sweetheart.
Personal Life and Controversies
After meeting him on the GMA, Gifford married ABC’s Monday Night Football sports announcer and former NFL great Frank Gifford on October 18, 1986. Cody Newton, born in 1990, and Cassidy Erin, born in 1993, were the Giffords’ children.
Child laborers in Honduras were making Kathie Lee’s apparel line for Walmart, according to the National Labor Committee in 1996. She denied any knowledge of Walmart’s production methods and immediately set out on a quest to fight for stricter sweatshop labor rules.
She further justified herself by stating that all proceeds from her clothing brand went to Cassidy’s Place, a home for AIDS and cracked kids that she founded. Despite her best attempts, Gifford became the brunt of jokes for months, her pristine innocence tainted by the media’s focus on her misfortunes.
After ten years of marriage, Kathie Lee Gifford 1985 was dealt another devastating blow in 1997 when images of her husband with Trans World Airlines flight attendant Suzen Johnson in a New York City hotel room were published in The Globe tabloid. (It was later revealed that The Globe paid the flight attendant $75,000 to seduce Frank.)
Gifford went endured personal agony and public humiliation, but her husband stuck her. Kathie Lee Gifford 1985 reputation had been shaped in part by her portrayal as the lady with it all: a good job and a loving family.
Her continual references to Frank and their children had made her famous. Her critics branded her musings as painfully self-righteous, while her followers praised her sincerity and intimacy. Gifford learned the hazards of exposing her personal life to the world as a result of this affair.
The image of the immaculate family had been dissected in public, and she had gone mute and guarded when discussing her family.
On February 29, 2000, Gifford revealed that when her contract with Live With Regis & Kathie Lee, the nation’s fourth-highest-rated syndicated talk show, concluded in July, she would resign. Gifford wanted to spend more time with her family and focus on her musical career after 11 years on the show.
On July 28, 2000, she made her final appearance on Live. Years later, Gifford revealed that one of the reasons she left Live was because her father was dying. On November 19, 2002, Aaron Epstein passed away.
Albums and other projects
Kathie Lee Gifford 1985 went on to work as a spokesperson for the Home Furnishings Council, Carnival Cruise Lines, Ultra Slim-Fast, and Revlon after her meteoric ascent to prominence. She also wrote an autobiography; I Can’t Believe I Said That! (1992), led charity organizations, and performed at locations across the country.
Following his departure from Live, Gifford recorded several albums, including The Heart of a Woman (2000), Born for You (2000), and Party Animals, a collection of children’s music (2002).
Return to TV on ‘Today’ | Kathie Lee Gifford 1985
Kathie Lee Gifford 1985 joined Hoda Kotb on morning television as a co-anchor of the Today show in April 2008. The two made an excellent team, enjoying glasses of wine while discussing current events.
Meanwhile, Gifford suffered a personal loss when her spouse died in August 2015. Frank had appeared on both Live and Today on occasion as a co-host with Kathie Lee.
Gifford revealed in December 2018 that she will be departing Today, the following year, months after celebrating her 10th anniversary as co-host.