“The only time I was ever intimidated was when I interviewed Ted Koppel. He's the best in the business and he taught me something I carry around with me and pull out when I need. He said, 'Don't ever forget that these people are on your turf. You are in control. And he's right. No matter who I am talking with, they look to me to set the tone.” Leeza Gibbons
Daytime Emmy nominated television personality and occasional actress Leeza Gibbons was shot to national fame in the early 1980s as a correspondent of the top-rated syndicated newsmagazine show “Entertainment Tonight,” where she frequently subbed for anchor Mary Hart, and co-host of “Entertainment This Week.” The appealing Gibbons gained even more recognition and attention when she hosted her own talk-show, “Leeza” (syndicated, 1994-2000). Also serving as executive producer, the founder of Leeza Gibbons Enterprises (LGE) picked up her Daytime Emmy nominations for her hosting and producing duties. The fifty-something, flaxen-haired beauty returned to the limelight in spring 2007 as a contestant on the ABC massively successful show “Dancing with the Stars.” As an actress, Gibbons has acted in such films as “RoboCop” (1987), “RoboCop 2” (1990) and “Man of the Year” (2002). She has also made cameo appearances as herself in Robert Altman's “The Player” (1992) and Kim Basinger's vehicle “Bless the Child” (2000).
For her dedication to television, Gibbons was inducted into The Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 7, 1998. She has also been an inductee in the South Carolina Hall of Fame and has earned the Order of the Palmetto, the most prestigious civilian award given by the state.
She is a member of both the renowned Women in Film and American Woman in Radio and Television.
“My father, who has always been my hero, has emerged as a loving caregiver, faithful fundraiser and vigilant fighter. My husband, sister, brother and sister-in-law are soldiers in the same army.” Leeza Gibbons
A philanthropist, Gibbons, whose mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2002, has actively participated in “Leeza's Place,” a non-profit organization she founded to educate and endow caregivers and those newly diagnosed with memory disorders. The support centers have opened in such places as New York, Florida, Melbourne, Illinois and Joliet.
“I lose a little more of Mom every day. I want so badly to promise my daughter that she will never have to lose me in the same way.” Leeza Gibbons
On a more personal note, Gibbons has been married three times. She has a daughter, Alexandra Quinten (born in 1989) with her second husband, England-born actor Chris Quinten, and two sons, Troy (born in 1992) and Nathan (born in 1997), with her third husband, actor/architect Stephen Meadows. Meadows filed for divorce from his wife of 14 years in February 2005.
Childhood and Family:
Leeza Kim Gibbons was born on March 26, 1957, in Hartsville, South Carolina, to Carlos Giboons and Jean Gibbons. Her father worked as a state superintendent of education and owned an antique shop. She has an older brother named Carlos Gibbons Jr. (born in 1955) and a younger sister named Cammy (born in 1964). Leeza joined the cheerleading squad in high school and later received a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of South Carolina.
In 1980, Leeza married John Hicks, but the marriage ended after only two years in 1982. Six years later, she married British actor Chris Quinten (born in 1957), whom she met at a New Zealand charity fund raiser. She gave birth to her first child, daughter Alexandra Quinten, in 1989, but the couple divorced in 1990. Lezza married actor/architect Stephen Meadows on February 14, 1991. Together they welcomed a son, Troy Meadows, in 1992 and a second son, Nathan Daniel Meadows, on October 3, 1997. On February 11, 2005, husband Meadows filed for divorce by citing “irreconcilable differences.”
South Carolina native Leeza Gibbons began her journalism career as an anchor for WLTR, a National Public Radio affiliate in Columbia, South California, and then moved on to television as a news anchor on WSPA-TV in Spartanburg, South California. After leaving her hometown, Gibbons was hired as a co-host of “PM Magazine” at WFAA-TV in Dallas and KFDM in Beaumont, Texas, and gained further notice in 1983 for her co-hosting gig in the brief “Two on the Town” at WCBS-TV in New York.
However, Gibbons' career did not receive nationwide popularity until the following year when she landed a job as a field correspondent for CBS's “Entertainment Tonight,” the world's No. 1 syndicated entertainment newsmagazine anchored by Mary Hart and Bob Goen. Throughout the 1980s to 1990s, she emerged as a well-liked fill-in host thanks to her frequent substitution of Hart, and further boosted her profile by co-hosting the weekly show, “Entertainment This Week.”
In between these programs, Gibbons still found time to pursue other projects and was seen in “Good Morning, Australia” (1987), hosting NBC's “George Schlatter's 'Funny People'” and ABC's “Home” (both 1988). She also broke into acting as an “E.T.” reporter on “Maxie” (1985), a comedy film starring Glenn Close, and followed it up with a bigger part as Jesse Perkins, a lively news anchor, in director Paul Verhoeven's “RoboCop” (1987) and in the installment “RoboCop 2” (1990), this time directed by Irvin Kershner.
1991 found Gibbons co-hosting CBS' “Miss Universe Pageant” and hosting the family series “Growing Up Together.” She made self-appearances in the films “Soapdish” (1991), for director Michael Hoffman, and “The Player” (1992), helmed by Robert Altman, before joining John Tesh to host the talk show “John & Leeza,” which ran on NBC from 1993 to 1994. One memorable moment came in 1994 when Gibbons started her own daily talk-show, “Leeza” (NBC, 1994-1999; syndicated 1999-2000), which she also executive produced. Centering prominently on women’s issues, the show brought Gibbons two Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Talk Show Host and Outstanding Talk Show (both 1999). While still working on “Leeza,” Gibbons served as a host for the TNT special “Exclusively Leeza: Straight From The Heart” in 1996 and in 1999, she signed a deal with E! Entertainment TV to produce and host documentaries on pop culture.
After the demise of her talk show, Gibbons returned to her entertainment journalism roots by anchoring the syndicated newsmagazine “Extra,” in which she replaced Maureen O'Boyle. She stayed with the show from 2000 to 2003. In 2002, she also resumed her acting career by appearing as the reporter on the comedy/drama “Man of the Year,” starring John Ritter.
Next, she hosted “The Simple Life Reunion Special” (2004) and the Lifetime reality series “What Should You Do?” 2006 saw Gibbons become a judge on “Miss America” and co-host, with Melissa Gilbert, an infomercial for Sheercover cosmetics.
More recently, in 2007, Gibbons was put back in the spotlight with her participation in the popular competitive reality show “Dancing with the Stars.”