Before they were famous, many truly influential men and women started by serving their country in the US military or grew up in military families.

More than Military

Singer, TV Personality, Actress

Kathryn Lee "Kathie Lee" Gifford (born Kathryn Lee Epstein; August 16, 1953) is an American television hostess, singer, actor, noted 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 Emmy nominations.

Before all that, Kathie Lee was a GI Kid.

Kathie Lee Gifford was born in Paris, France, the daughter of Joan, a singer, and Aaron Epstein, a musician and U.S. naval officer stationed in France at the time. She grew up in Bowie, Maryland, attended Bowie High School and was a singer in a folk group, Pennsylvania Next Right, which performed frequently at school assemblies. Gifford attended Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, studying drama and music.

Gifford's career began in the 1970s as a vocalist on the game show Name That Tune.

By 1983, she was several months into her most famous television role, as a full-time morning talk show personality. On June 24, 1985, Kathie Lee became co-host of The Morning Show on ABC with Regis Philbin. The show went into national broadcast in 1988, as Gifford became the most well-known female TV talk show host across the country and a household name.

From there, her career blossomed. Gifford has made guest appearances in films and television series, and has several independently released albums.

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

In September 2005 she became a special correspondent on The Insider, a syndicated entertainment magazine television show.

Gifford appeared as Miss Hannigan in a concert performance of Annie at in New York City in December 2006.

In 2007, she premiered Saving Aimee, a play about evangelist Aimee McPherson, at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia.

Today, Kathie Lee is a celebrity ambassador for the non-profit organization Childhelp. She regularly makes appearances at fund raisers and events for the child abuse prevention and treatment organization and is an ardent supporter.

Gifford and her husband raised the money to build and continue to financially support two shelters in New York City for babies born with HIV or crack cocaine addiction.

On March 31 2008, Gifford joined NBC's Today show as co-host marking her return to morning television; in many markets, she now airs directly after her old show, now called Live with Regis and Kelly.

Kathie Lee is a recipient of the "Mousecar" Award, a silver Mickey Mouse statue award that was personally designed by Walt Disney himself; only five had been given out previously.

All in all, quite a bright career for this US Navy GI kid.

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