Kathie Lee Gifford
- Category : Entertainer
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Revolution 2
American entertainer, writer, and delightful TV show co-host, described as an “unabashed optimist.” She is the wife of Frank Gifford, noted athlete and football commentator.
Born in France to a naval officer and his wife, she and her two siblings were raised in a loving family with solid Christian values and a love of music. Her family moved back to the US when she was four. At age 12 she had a religious awakening, and her faith as a Christian was strengthened, a faith that sustains her today.
In 1971, she won a beauty pageant, and the following year was given a full scholarship to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa as one of Oral's World Action Singers. In 1976, she did her first commercial, for Knott's Berry Farm. She landed a regular role as a gospel singer on CBS's faith healing show, "I Believe in Miracles," and a recurring bit part on "Days of Our Lives" soap opera. Kathy Lee did her first gospel album in 1976 with Paul Johnson, whom she married that year. She sang on the gospel circuit and by 1981-82, began appearing on "A.M. Los Angeles" as a guest host. She and Johnson separated after six years together and divorced in 1983. Regis Philbin welcomed Kathy Lee to co-host his show in 1985 and by 1988, the show entered first-run syndication as "Live with Regis and Kathy Lee."
Her second marriage was to sportscaster Frank Gifford in 1986 and they have two children, son Cody born in 1990 and daughter Cassidy on August 2, 1993. A third pregnancy ended in miscarriage in August 1992.
Her professional career has had ups and downs. She’s had great popularity for her TV morning show series and great success as spokesperson for a cruise line and as businessperson in the fashion industry. However, in the mid- and late '90s, after an exposé claimed that her clothing line used underpaid labor in sweatshops, she endured bad publicity and public scorn despite her denial that she had any knowledge of the practice. She suffered further hurt and unwanted publicity after her husband was accused of having an affair with an airline attendant, a scandal that was crowed about in the gossip rags when it headlined on May 13, 1997.
Gifford’s creative talents have many outlets. In addition to recording her own music, Gifford is the author of two autobiographies, scripts and songs for musical theatre and a noted series of children's books and videos. Her first book was a spiritual diary published in 1976, "The Quiet Riot" and her autobiography was released in 1992, "I Can't Believe I Said That." She is also active in children's charities, originating and helping to maintain a home for children called "Cody's House." To counter the negative criticism she received over her clothing line, she has been a spokesperson for better treatment of workers in overseas manufacturing. In January 1997, the singer/talk show host/ clothier/ cruise line pitchwoman/ writer signed a five-figure deal with Random House Children's Publishers to pen five kiddies books based on her Rock and Tots videos. She and her husband filed a libel suit against the tabloid "National Enquirer" on April 6, 2000 over an article claiming their son Cody was behaving badly on several occasions.
Throughout the ordeals of heavy criticism, negative publicity and having her life subject to public scrutiny, Kathie Lee has maintained a quiet calm, riding through all her adversity with dignity. After 15 years together with Regis Philbin on "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee," she stepped away, leaving the show on July 28, 2000. She is happy to have more time to devote to her family, her causes, and her creative works. She periodically appears as a guest on TV and radio shows. In 2005 she became a correspondent for the entertainment TV show, “The Insider.”
After a break of nearly eight years, she resumed her career as TV personality on April 7, 2008. Her new job is co-host of the fourth hour of the popular “Today” show.