Kathie Lee Gifford Recalls Being Told She Wasn’t ‘Pretty Enough’ To Be a Charlie’s Angel

Live with Regis and Kathie Lee Kathie Lee Gifford, 1999, 1988-2000
Dana Fineman/ABC/Everett Collection

Kathie Lee Gifford is opening up about some of the harsh realities of show business. Gifford is best known for hosting TODAY for many years but prior she was trying to make it in Hollywood. She got her first gig in an episode of the soap opera Days of Our Lives and made a splash in the Hee Haw spinoff series Hee Haw Honeys. Before she joined Regis Philbin for Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, she was still going to castings and recalls one particularly negative experience.

She said that she was actually home sick when her casting agent told her to get out of bed and head to the studio because they were looking to replace one of the stars of Charlie’s Angels. She believes it was probably Kate Jackson because of the timing as Jackson left after season three.

Live with Regis and Kathie Lee Kathie Lee Gifford, 1988-2000

Buena Vista/Everett Collection

Gifford said that once she got there, the casting agent was very cruel to her. She explained, “She goes, ‘Let me tell you right now, you’re not right for Charlie’s Angels.'” When she pressed to find out why, they responded that they were “looking for a pretty girl,” and continued, “You know, like Jaclyn Smith pretty, gorgeous, gorgeous.”

Charlie's Angels Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, Jaclyn Smith, 1976-81

Everett Collection

Gifford added, “It was like kicking me to the gut. I started to think it was funny. I really did. And as I’m walking out, I looked at her and I said, ‘Okay, well, thank you so much.’ I said, ‘When you’re casting a cartoon,’ and I threw up my leg. ‘When you’re casting a cartoon, let me know.’ I left thanking God that I could laugh about it.”

Live with Regis and Kathie Lee Kathie Lee Gifford, Regis Philbin, 1989 -.

Buena Vista Television/Everett Collection

Gifford would not name the agent but she said she remembers her to this day because she went out of her way to be so cruel and how it was “unnecessary.” Charlie’s Angels began starring Jackson, Smith and Farrah Fawcett and eventually, replacements included Cheryl Ladd, Tanya Roberts and Shelley Hack. Find out what happened to all of the ladies below.

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