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Kathie Lee Gifford

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Subject: Today (U.S. TV program), Top 25 Report/August 9 to 15, Frank Gifford, Celebrity Jeopardy! (Saturday Night Live), Regis Philbin
Collection: 1953 Births, 20Th-Century American Actresses, 20Th-Century American Singers, 20Th-Century American Writers, 20Th-Century Composers, 20Th-Century Women Writers, 21St-Century American Actresses, 21St-Century American Singers, 21St-Century American Writers, 21St-Century Composers, 21St-Century Women Writers, Actresses from Maryland, American Evangelicals, American Female Singer-Songwriters, American People of English Descent, American People of French-Canadian Descent, American People of German Descent, American People of Native American Descent, American People of Russian-Jewish Descent, American Performers of Christian Music, American Television Actresses, American Television Reporters and Correspondents, American Television Talk Show Hosts, American Women Journalists, Beauty Pageant Hosts, Broadway Theatre People, Christian Religion-Related Songwriters, Christians of Jewish Descent, Converts to Christianity, Converts to Christianity from Judaism, Living People, Military Brats, Nbc News, Olympic Games Broadcasters, Oral Roberts University Alumni, People from Bowie, Maryland, Songwriters from Maryland
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Kathie Lee Gifford

Kathie Lee Gifford
Kathie Lee Gifford at the 2008 Emmy Awards
Born Kathryn Lee Epstein
(1953-08-16) August 16, 1953
Paris, France
Alma mater Oral Roberts University
Occupation TV presenter
Talk show host
Actress
Singer-songwriter
Years active 1970–present
Spouse(s) Paul Johnson (m. 1976; div. 1983)
Frank Gifford (m. 1986; his death 2015)
Children 2 including; Cassidy Erin (b. 1993)
Website .com.kathieleegiffordwww

Kathryn "Kathie" Lee Gifford (née Epstein; August 16, 1953) is an American television host, singer, songwriter, comedian, and actress, best known for her 15-year run (1985–2000) on the talk show Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, which she co-hosted with Regis Philbin. She has received 11 Daytime Emmy nominations and won her first Daytime Emmy in 2010 as part of the Today team.

Gifford's first television role was that of Tom Kennedy's singer/sidekick on the syndicated version of Name That Tune, from 1974 to 1978.

She also appeared in television advertisements for Carnival Cruise Lines beginning in 1984.

On April 7, 2008, Gifford began co-hosting the fourth hour of Today alongside Hoda Kotb. She also occasionally appears on the first three hours of Today and is a contributing NBC News correspondent.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • 1970s 2
  • Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee 3
    • 1996 labor rights efforts 3.1
  • Current career 4
  • Musical theatre 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Gifford was born Kathryn Lee Epstein in Paris, France, to American parents, Joan (née Cuttell; born January 20, 1930), a singer, and Aaron Epstein (March 19, 1924 – November 19, 2002), a musician and former US Navy Chief Petty Officer. Aaron Epstein was stationed with his family in France at the time of Gifford's birth.[1] Gifford grew up in Bowie, Maryland, and attended Bowie High School.[2] During high school, Gifford was a singer in a folk group, "Pennsylvania Next Right", which performed frequently at school assemblies. After high school graduation, Gifford attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, studying drama and music.

Gifford's paternal grandfather was Russian Jewish from Saint Petersburg and her paternal grandmother was of Native American ancestry. Her mother, a relative of writer Rudyard Kipling, was of French Canadian, English and German descent.[3][4] After seeing the Billy Graham-produced film The Restless Ones at age 12, Gifford became a born-again Christian. She told interviewer Larry King, "I was raised with many Jewish traditions and raised to be very grateful for my Jewish heritage."[5]

1970s

During a summer in the early 1970s, she was a live-in secretary/babysitter for Anita Bryant at her home in Miami. Gifford's career took off in the 1970s (during her first marriage to Christian composer/arranger/producer/publisher Paul Johnson) as a vocalist on the game show Name That Tune with Tom Kennedy. In 1978, she joined the cast of the short-lived Hee Haw spinoff, Hee Haw Honeys.

Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee

Following her divorce from Johnson in 1983, Gifford met sports commentator Frank Gifford during an episode of ABC's Good Morning America; they married in 1986. By that time she was several months into her most famous television role, as a full-time morning talk show personality. On June 24, 1985, she replaced Ann Abernathy as co-host of The Morning Show on WABC-TV with Regis Philbin. The program went into national broadcast in 1988 as Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, and Gifford became well-known across the country. Throughout the 1990s, millions of morning-TV viewers watched her descriptions of life at home with her sportscaster husband and their son and daughter, Cody Newton Gifford (b. March 22, 1990) and Cassidy Erin Gifford (b. August 2, 1993). She appeared as a spokesperson for Slim Fast diet shakes after Cody was born. She also was the face of Carnival Cruise Lines in the late 1980s and early 1990s, singing "If my friends could see me now!"

1996 labor rights efforts

In 1996 the National Labor Committee, a human rights group, reported that sweatshop labor was being used to make clothes for the Kathie Lee line, sold at Wal-Mart.[6] The group reported that a worker in Honduras smuggled a piece of clothing out of the factory, which had a Kathie Lee label on it.[7] One of the workers, Wendy Diaz, came to the United States to testify about the conditions under which she worked. She commented, "I wish I could talk to [Kathie Lee]. If she's good, she will help us."[8]

Labor activist Charles Kernaghan spoke to the media and accused Gifford of being responsible for the sweatshop management activity. Gifford addressed Kernaghan's allegations on the air during Live, explaining that she was not involved with hands-on project management in factories.[9]

Gifford later contacted Federal authorities to investigate the issue and worked with U.S. Federal legislative and executive branch agencies to support and enact laws to protect children against sweatshop conditions. She appeared with President Bill Clinton at the White House in support of the government's initiatives to counter international sweatshop abuses.[10]

Current career

Since Live, Gifford has made guest appearances in films and television series, and has several independently released albums on CD, including 2000's The Heart of a Woman, featuring the single "Love Never Fails".[11][12]

In September 2005 she became a special correspondent on The Insider, a syndicated entertainment magazine television show, ending her relationship with that program upon her co-hosting role with Today.[13]

She played the role of Miss Hannigan in a concert performance of Annie at Madison Square Garden in December 2006.[14]

On March 31, 2008, NBC announced that Gifford was to join its morning show, Today, as co-host of the fourth hour, alongside Hoda Kotb. This marked her return to morning television; in many markets, she now airs directly after her old show, now called Live! with Kelly and Michael. Because the fourth hour of Today airs live at 10:00am ET, and Live! with Kelly and Michael airs live at 9:00am ET, Gifford's hour does not compete directly with her former show in most markets.[15] Kotb and Gifford replaced Ann Curry and Natalie Morales. In the weeks prior to Gifford's arrival, ratings indicated 1.9 million viewers of the fourth hour of Today.[16] As of 2014, the fourth hour of Today with Gifford and Kotb has averaged 2.148 million total viewers, an increase of 26 percent over the 2008 ratings.[17][18]

On an episode that aired March 27, 2010, she guest starred on The Suite Life on Deck, along with her real-life daughter, Cassidy.

Gifford is a celebrity ambassador for the non-profit organization

Media offices
Preceded by
Phyllis George
Miss America Pageant host
1991-1995 (co-host with Regis Philbin)
Succeeded by
Eva LaRue and John Callahan

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "What's Next for Kathie Lee?", Transcripts.cnn.com
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Zoned for Slavery: The Child Behind the Label", 1995; a Crowning Rooster Production
  8. ^
  9. ^ Kathie Lee Gifford's clothing line and its connection to sweatshop work
  10. ^ "Companies agree to meet on 'sweatshops'. The Washington Post, John F. Harris, Peter McKay. August 3, 1996, Page A10. "Pres Clinton stood side-by-side at the White House August 2, 1996 with talk show host Kathie Lee Gifford and a delegation of leading executives from the apparel industry to announce ..."
  11. ^ Love Never Fails video on YouTube
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Forthright or Clueless? Kathie Lee Draws Fire"
  17. ^ "TODAY is the No. 1 Morning Program for 797 Weeks Straight and Counting"
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ [1]. Internet Broadway Database.
  26. ^ Tony Awards Official Website. Tony Award Nominees 2013. tonyAwards.org. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  27. ^ "Celebrating the Stars at the Helen Hayes Awards".
  28. ^
  29. ^ www.tradingmarkets.com
  30. ^

References

Gifford is currently working on a musical adaptation of It's a Wonderful Life with John McDaniel; McDaniel is composing music while Gifford is writing lyrics.[30]

In 2008, Gifford and David Friedman wrote a junior high school musical entitled Key Pin It Real.[28] The play depicts a coming-of-age story about a young girl named Key Pin. The first production took place in December 2008 in Kendallville, Indiana, at East Noble High School.[29]

On April 16, 2007, Gifford was a guest presenter at the Washington, D.C. Helen Hayes Award Ceremony, honoring contributions and professional accomplishments in theatre.[27]

In 2007, she premiered Saving Aimee, a stage musical about evangelist Aimee McPherson, at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia.[22][23] The premiere starred actress Carolee Carmello in the lead role.[24] The show, now titled Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson, ran on Broadway from November 15, 2012, through December 9, 2012,[25] with Carmello reprising her role as McPherson. On April 30, 2013, Carmello received her third Tony Award nomination for the performance.[26]

In the late 1990s, Gifford began working in musical theatre. She contributed a number of musical numbers to Hats, and wrote and produced Under The Bridge,[21] based upon the children's book The Family Under The Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson.

Musical theatre

She appeared as herself in the 2015 television film Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford raised the money to build and continue to financially support two shelters in New York City for babies born with HIV or a congenital crack cocaine addiction. These shelters were named in honor of her children, Cody and Cassidy.[20] Frank and Kathie Lee also shared a birthday, August 16.

[19]

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