1. She has received 11 Daytime Emmy nominations and won her first Daytime Emmy in 2010 as part of the Today team.
2. 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.
3. She also appeared in television advertisements for Carnival Cruise Lines beginning in 1984.
4. On April 7, 2008, Gifford began co-hosting the fourth hour of Today alongside Hoda Kotb.
5. She also occasionally appears on the first three hours of Today and is a contributing NBC News correspondent.
6. Gifford was born Kathryn Lee Epstein in Paris, France, to American parents, Joan (ne 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.
7. Aaron Epstein was stationed with his family in France at the time of Gifford’s birth. During high school, Gifford was a singer in a folk group, “Pennsylvania Next Right”, which performed frequently at school assemblies.
8. After high school graduation, Gifford attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, studying drama and music.
9. Gifford’s paternal grandfather was Russian Jewish from Saint Petersburg and her paternal grandmother was of Native American ancestry.
10. Her mother, a relative of writer Rudyard Kipling, was of French Canadian, English and German descent. After seeing the Billy Graham-produced film The Restless Ones at age 12, Gifford became a born-again Christian.
11. She told interviewer Larry King, “I was raised with many Jewish traditions and raised to be very grateful for my Jewish heritage.”
12. During a summer in the early 1970s, she was a live-in secretary/babysitter for Anita Bryant at her home in Miami.
13. 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.
14. In 1978, she joined the cast of the short-lived Hee Haw spinoff, Hee Haw Honeys.
15. 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.
16. By that time she was several months into her most famous television role, as a full-time morning talk show personality.
17. The program went into national broadcast in 1988 as Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, and Gifford became well-known across the country.
18. 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.
19. She appeared as a spokesperson for Slim Fast diet shakes after Cody was born.
20. She also was the face of Carnival Cruise Lines in the late 1980s and early 1990s, singing “If my friends could see me now!”
21. 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. One of the workers, Wendy Diaz, came to the United States to testify about the conditions under which she worked.
22. Labor activist Charles Kernaghan spoke to the media and accused Gifford of being responsible for the sweatshop management activity.
23. Gifford addressed Kernaghan’s allegations on the air during Live, explaining that she was not involved with hands-on project management in factories.
24. 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.