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Kathie Lee Gifford Said an Agent Told Her She Wasn’t Pretty Enough to Be in ‘Charlie’s Angels’

Photo Credit: Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

Many people know Kathie Lee Gifford as a former host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee and NBC’s Today, but back in the day she had wanted to try her hand at acting on television. In an interview with People, she remembered one instance where she was insulted by a casting agent for Charlie’s Angels. If you can believe it, they told her she wasn’t pretty enough.

Gifford heard about the casting

Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett, and Kate Jackson sitting on a step.
The original cast of ‘Charlie’s Angels.’ (Photo Credit: ABC Photo Archives / Disney General Entertainment Content / Getty Images)

Charlie’s Angels ran on television from 1976 until 1981 with Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson, and Jaclyn Smith as the stars of the show. This trio fought crime while maintaining sex appeal, and audiences absolutely loved it. However, over the course of the show, some casting changes were made that caught the attention of other actors.

Gifford remembers being sick with the flu when she first found out that the studio was on the search for a new ‘Angel.’ Fawcett had left after the first season, so Gifford believes that the role had opened after Kate Jackson’s departure from the show in 1979. Unfortunately, when she arrived at the casting office to try her hand at getting the part, she was met with some pretty harsh criticism.

The agent was extremely cruel

Portrait of Kathie Lee Gifford.
Kathy Lee Gifford poses for a portrait in 1981 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo Credit: Harry Langdon / Getty Images)

Gifford didn’t even really have a chance to audition. As soon as she walked in, Gifford recalled, “She goes, ‘Let me tell you right now, you’re not right for Charlie’s Angels.'” Unsure why she was so abruptly rejected, she asked the agent why she wasn’t right for the part. The cruel agent spat back, “Because we’re looking for a pretty girl. You know, like Jaclyn Smith: pretty, gorgeous, gorgeous.”

Gifford was stunned by the response. “It was like kicking me to the gut. I started to think it was funny. I really did,” she explained. “And as I’m walking out, I looked at her and I said, ‘Okay, well, thank you so much.'” She was going to just leave it at that, but then she turned around and “I said, ‘When you’re casting a cartoon,’ and I threw up my leg. ‘When you’re casting a cartoon, let me know.’ I left, thanking God that I could laugh about it.”

She is all about forgiveness

Headshot of Kathie Lee Gifford.
Kathie Lee Gifford visits Fox News Channel Studios on August 30, 2022, in New York City. (Photo Credit: Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images)

While it was a horrible experience, Gifford has been able to look back on it with some perspective for a while. “I started to see, first of all, what a b**** she was. What an unnecessary b**** she was. She didn’t say ‘Sorry, honey, have a nice life. You’re not what we’re looking for.’ She had to be cruel. She had to be the exact opposite of what my dad taught me to be. The fact that I remember her name to this day is because she was so cruel,” she said.

More from us: Son of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall Recalls Growing up With the Hollywood Legends

Gifford has long been an advocate of the power of forgiveness, something she discusses at length in her book, I Want to Matter: Your Life Is Too Short and Too Precious to Waste. This instance is one of those times where she exercised that forgiveness in order to move on.

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Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!