Worked With:

Nancy O'Dell

Mark McGrath

Tom Bergeron

John Ritter

Peter Krause

David Spade

Geena Davis

Dan Castellaneta

Kim Basinger

Leeza Gibbons Biography

Home > Actresses > G > Gibbons, Leeza > Biography

Birth Name: Leeza Gibbons
Born: 03/26/1957
Birth Place: Hartsville, South Carolina, USA

Born on March 26, 1957 in Hartsville, SC, Leeza Kim Gibbons was the eldest of two daughters born to Carlos and Jean Gibbons. A former high school cheerleader, Gibbons graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in journalism and mass communication. Career-focused from college, the personable Gibbons first found employment as an anchor on WLTR, a National Public Radio affiliate in Columbia, SC. She broke into TV as a news anchor at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, SC, eventually leaving her home state to host "PM Magazine" at KFDM in Beaumont, TX, and WFAA-TV in Dallas. By the early 1980s, Gibbons was in the major markets, as co-host of the short-lived "Two on the Town" at WCBS in NYC. In 1984, the 27-year-old Gibbons' career took off when she was hired as a field correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight." A popular fill-in host, Gibbons frequently substituted for "E.T." anchor Mary Hart throughout the 80's and 90's. Gibbons also co-hosted the weekly, "Entertainment This Week." While she would spent a decade affiliated with these programs, she also accepted a number of other assignments, ranging from contributing segments to "Good Morning, Australia" to hosting such programs as ABC's "Home" and NBC's "George Schlatter's Funny People" (both 1988).

In 1993, Gibbons inked a deal with Paramount to host her own daily talk-show. "Leeza" premiered in January of 1994, during the height of the TV talk show wars. Thrust onto a crowded playing field, the fledgling show competed against a gaggle of more established and/or more outrageous talk-show competitors including Geraldo Rivera, Jenny Jones, Tempesst Bledsoe, Charles Perez, Marilyn Kagen, and Jerry Springer. Much to its credit, however, "Leeza" withstood the test of time far better than expected; even managing to stand out amid the glut of gabfests by marketing itself as a higher-brow alternative to the carnival sideshow antics of its competitors. With a style, studio set and audience demographic much closer to Oprah Winfrey's than Ricki Lake's, "Leeza" focused prominently on women's issues. Committed to making a show that could empower women, Gibbons used her clout as host - and executive producer - to steer the show's topics toward a feminist point of view.

Following the cancellation of her talk show, Gibbons landed back into entertainment journalism as the anchor for the newsmagazine "Extra" (syndicated, 1994- ) from 2000-02. In 2000, Gibbons was briefly considered as a replacement for Kathie Lee Gifford when the latter left her hostessing duties on the wildly popular morning gabfest "Live with Regis & Kathie Lee" (ABC, 1989- ). Her reluctance to relocate to New York, however (where "Live" was taped), resulted in Gibbons' name being pulled from consideration early in the running.

An occasional actress, Gibbons had small roles in a handful of commercially popular ventures. Among her most notable roles was that of the satirically bubbly news anchor, Jess Perkins, in both "Robocop" (1987) and its sequel, "Robocop 2" (1990), as well as playing herself in the campy film, "Soapdish" (1991). Her most high-profile gig in years, however, was arguably as a contestant in 2007's spring edition of "Dancing with the Stars," in which she described herself among the younger contestants as " the woman of a certain age."