Kathryn Lee Gifford/Kathie Lee Gifford is an American television host, comedian, actress, singer, and songwriter. She became famous as the co-host of ‘Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee,’ a talk show on WABC-TV. She remained the co-host of the show for 15 years, from 1985 to 2000.
Gifford has been nominated for Daytime Emmy awards 11 times. She won her first Daytime Emmy award in 2010 as a member of the program ‘Today.’
Kathie was born on 16th August 1953 as Kathryn Lee Epstein in Paris, France. Her father, Aaron Epstein was working as a US Navy Chief Petty Officer and stationed in the country during the time of her birth. Her mother Joan Epstein was a singer. The family lived in Bowie, Maryland after returning to America.
Kathie attended Bowie High School. At school, she was a singer in a folk band named Pennsylvania Next Right. She later went to Oral Roberts University at Tulsa, Oklahoma and graduated in music and drama.
Gifford’s first job was as a secretary and babysitter for Anita Bryant. Kathie used to live and work at her Miami home.
In 1974, she got work as a singer, vocalist, and sidekick on Tom Kennedy’s game show ‘Name That Tune.’ Thus began her career in TV. She worked as a cast member on a short-lived show called ‘Hee Haw spinoff, Hee Haw Honeys’ in 1978. She started doing TV ads for Carnival Cruise Lines from 1984.
In 1985, Gifford was offered a co-host slot for a show called ‘The Morning Show with Regis Philbin’ telecast on WABC-TV. She replaced former co-host Ann Abernathy. The show went national after 3 years and was renamed as “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee.” The show was very popular and brought a lot of attention and fame to Kathie.
While co-hosting the talk show, Gifford also worked as a musical contributor and writer for musical theater shows in the 1990s. After leaving the talk show, she appeared in varied films and TV programs. She also independently released many CD albums.
In Sep 2005, the 1. 65 meter tall Kathie worked for the show ‘The Insider’ as a special correspondent. In 2008, she left this job and began co-hosting the fourth hour of Today show with Hoda Kotb. Gifford also makes occasional appearances during the initial three hours of the show. Additionally, she works as an NBC News contributing correspondent.
- Gifford married Paul Johnson, a Christian composer, publisher, arranger, and producer, in 1976. They divorced after 7 years.
- Kathie married Frank Gifford, a sports commentator in 1986. The couple have two children Cassidy and Cody. Frank died in 2015.
- In 1996, Gifford was accused by social and human rights activists of using child labor in sweatshops that made apparels for her clothing line sold at Wal-Mart. She subsequently took the help of Federal authorities to protect children from child labor.
- Even though Kathie was brought up as a Jew, she became a born-again Christian at age 12 after watching producer Billy Graham’s film called ‘The Restless Ones.’
Kathie Lee Gifford – Salary and Net Worth
Her net worth is estimated to be about $20 million. Kathie Lee Gifford earns an estimated salary of $2 million per year.