Born: March 26, 1957
Birthplace: Hartsville, South Carolina, United States
Leeza Kim Gibbons (born March 26, 1957) is an American talk show host. She is best known as a correspondent and co-host for Entertainment Tonight (1984-2000) as well as for having her own syndicated daytime talk show, Leeza (1993-2000). In 2013, her book Take 2 became a New York Times bestseller and she won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Host in a Lifestyle or Travel program for the PBS show, My Generation. On February 16, 2015, Leeza was named the winner of Celebrity Apprentice, having raised $714,000 for her charity Leeza's Care Connection.
Gibbons was born in Hartsville, South Carolina, the daughter of Jean and Carlos Gibbons, a former state superintendent of education and antique shop owner. Gibbons has two siblings - a brother, Carlos Jr., and a sister, Cammy. Leeza and her family also adopted a young chimpanzee from a traveling circus they named Martha.When Martha was older, it became difficult to manage her care and she was sent to a Great Ape sanctuary in Florida where she still lives to this day. Gibbons grew up in Irmo, South Carolina, a suburb of Columbia, and graduated from Irmo High School. After completing high school, Gibbons graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina's school of journalism and mass communication, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.
Gibbons television career started in her home state of South Carolina, at WSPA-TV in Spartanburg. Her next stop was as the co host of PM Magazine for KFDM-TV in Beaumont, Texas, and later moved up to then-sister station WFAA-TV in Dallas.
In 1983 Gibbons joined WCBS-TV in New York City, where she became a host on Two on the Town, a program modeled after PM Magazine; her co-host was Robb Weller. The following year, they would both join Entertainment Tonight, with Gibbons as a reporter and co-anchor of the program's weekend edition. Concurrently hosted, Leeza was her own NBC/syndicated talk show, which ran from June 1993 to September 2000. The show originated as John & Leeza from Hollywood, a talk show with former Entertainment Tonight co-host John Tesh. Tesh was dropped from the show after seven months, and Gibbons hosted solo for the remainder of the series. From 2001-2003, Gibbons was the host and managing editor of the television show 'Extra'. In 2011, she pulled down double duty (again) as the host of the PBS show My Generation (2011-2014) and as co-host and executive producer of the syndicated newsmagazine show America Now (2011-2015).
In addition to her television and radio career, Gibbons has received the Congressional Horizon Award for her work on children's issues.
In the 1990s, Gibbons hosted the radio countdown show Blockbuster Top 25 Countdown with Leeza Gibbons. The show was created for Adult Contemporary and Hot Adult Contemporary formats. Gibbons counted down the hits in the respective formats and included entertainment news and pre-recorded interviews. When Blockbuster Video stopped sponsoring the program in 1999, the show's name was changed to Leeza Gibbons' Top 25 Countdown. The Adult Contemporary version was cut to a top 20. In January 2001, the countdown aspect of the show was dropped and was renamed Leeza Gibbons' Hollywood Confidential, which focused more on entertainment news. The change in format brought new life to the show, as the show continued on for another 12 years (ending in 2013).
In the early to mid-1990s, Gibbons partnered with Guthy Renker and became a trailblazer in the world of direct response. She was the first television star on a daily show to be featured in an infomercial as she starred in back-to-back blockbusters (Personal Power 2 and Get the Edge) with a young Tony Robbins.
In early 2000s, Gibbons launched her mineral makeup line, Sheer Cover Studio, with Guthy-Renker. Gibbons said, "Sheer Cover is not just a makeup product, it's a transformative experience for women who have serious skin issues like sun damage, birth marks, scars and acne or just for any woman who wants natural looking skin that glows with a healthy radiance." Presently, Sheer Cover continues to be sold around the world.
In 2015, Gibbons received the Icon award from the Electronic Retailing Association, where it was announced that Leeza had crossed the $1 billion mark in sales. Her partnership with Guthy-Renker is the longest studio/talent relationship in infomercial history.
In 2016, Gibbons and Guthy-Renker launched their latest infomercial together, Dr Denese Skinscience.
On November 14, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the appointment of Gibbons to the board that oversees California's stem cell research agency. Gibbons fills a slot designated for a patient advocate for Alzheimer's as the result of her nonprofit group, Leeza's Place, which is aimed at caregivers for persons with memory disorders. Gibbons' efforts with memory disorders grew out of her own family's experience with her mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and died in May 2008.
Gibbons replaced Meredith Vieira for a week of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire shows on June 23-27, 2008.
In May 2009 Gibbons' new book, Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss, tells the story of Leeza's family's personal struggle with Alzheimer's disease after her mother's diagnosis. She provides practical advice on how caregivers and their families can (and must) take care of their own physical, emotional and spiritual needs in order to give better care to their loved ones who may be suffering with a memory loss disorder.
In 2013, Gibbons won her first Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lifestyle/Travel Host for the PBS series My Generation.
She began co-hosting the Rose Parade on January 2, 2017.
Gibbons has been married four times; she was married to John Hicks from 1980 to 1982. From 1989 to 1991, she was married to British actor Christopher Quinten, with whom she has a daughter, Jordan Alexandra (Lexi) Gibbons. She was married to actor Stephen Meadows from 1991 to 2005, and they had two sons, Troy and Nathan Daniel. In 2011, she married New York Times best selling author, Steven Fenton, in Beverly Hills. Fenton is the son of the former mayor of Beverly Hills, Frank M. Fenton.
Gibbons is a member of Hollywood United Methodist Church, and had all her children baptized there.
Leeza Gibbons supports the following charitable causes: Dementia, Animals, Alzheimer's, Red Cross.