Kathie Lee Says Goodbye to Regis Today

ByABC News
July 28, 2000, 7:05 AM

N E W  Y O R K, July 28 -- Goodbye, Kathie Lee.

After 15 years, today is Kathie Lee Giffords last day as Regis Philbins sidekick on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. Gifford is leaving the ABC morning talk show to pursue more acting and singing opportunities.

Its taken 15 years to say goodbye! quipped co-host Regis Philbin during Thursdays broadcast. But although he joked about the weeklong goodbye to Gifford, he took a few minute to bestow some gifts ranging from a plastic fish to a dancing lobster on his departing partner.

I Have to Do Different Things

Giffords departure from Live takes oneof televisions outsized personalities off the air. Her loopyhistrionics and gushing tales of children Cody and Cassidy invited ridicule, but the sprightly entertainer was also a favorite with legions of fans.

We love Kathie Lee and were going to miss her very much, audience member Sharon Zelen of Commack, N.Y., told ABCNEWS Radio during Wednesdays broadcast. For 15 years shes helped us get up in the morning and get the kids off to school.

Giffords personal battles the public humiliation of husband FrankGiffords tabloid-fueled affair and attacks on alleged labor abusesconnected to her clothing line won her some sympathetic support.

Gifford says she decided it was time to leave the morning show after subbing for David Letterman last winter. Her guest-host performance was well-received.

I thought, This is the moment where your life changed, shetold The Associated Press in an interview. I have to do different things now.

Four days later, she told Philbin she would leave Live with Regis & Kathie Lee when her contract expired this summer.

Album on the WayGifford says she wants to do more acting and singing, but thedemands of a one-hour live show each weekday had held her back. Earlier this year, she received good reviews for a fill-in role in the Broadway production Putting It Together. Shes currently at work on an album due to be released in October.