Born Kathryn Lee Epstein in 1953, Kathie Lee Gifford is a singer and television personality best-known for co-hosting Live with Regis and Kathie Lee with Regis Philbin.Throughout the 1970s, as Kathie Lee Johnson, Gifford gained notoriety as a singer on the game show Name That Tune, and in the early '80s, she could be seen as a correspondent on ABC's Good Morning America. In 1984, her profile was raised significantly when she became the spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines in a number of TV ads. In 1985, she began co-hosting a New York morning show with Regis Philbin that would eventually become Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. The show began airing nationally on ABC in 1989, and Gifford remained as host until 2000. She was eventually replaced by Kelly Ripa. In 2008, she returned to the morning talk show scene as the co-host of the fourth hour of the Today show on NBC. In addition to her television and recording career, Gifford received a good deal of press for her long marriage to sportscaster Frank Gifford, which spanned from 1986 until Frank's death in 2015.
Biography by Matthew Tobey
- Represented Maryland in the 1970 Junior Miss Pageant, but was disqualified for befriending a member of the pageant's staff.
- Worked as a nanny to Anita Bryant's children for a year.
- Was hired to play Nurse Callahan on Days of Our Lives while visiting a friend on the set; the gig turned into a nine-month job.
- Filled in on the A.M. Los Angeles radio show for a few days in 1981 after its host, Regis Philbin, left to pursue other opportunities. Good Morning America's executive producer happened to hear her, and sought her out to do occasional reporting and fill-in work for the morning show.
- First met future husband Frank Gifford when they cohosted GMA together in the early 1980s, but it would be several years before they began dating.
- Shares the same birthday as husband Frank.
- Her other famous partner, Regis Philbin, pursued her as cohost for The Morning Show, a local WABC-TV talk program, after spotting her on GMA in 1985. Three years later it went national as Live With Regis & Kathie Lee. During its run, she was nominated for 11 Daytime Emmys.
- Campaigned to strengthen sweatshop laws after learning that her Wal-Mart clothing line was being manufactured by child laborers in Honduras.
- Founded (with Frank) the Cody House and Cassidy's Place charitable foundations, which are run by the Association to Benefit Children.
- Published an autobiography, I Can't Believe I Said That!, in 1992.
- Has written several musicals, including Saving Aimee and Under the Bridge; and appeared on Broadway in Putting It Together.