Kathie Lee Gifford recalls casting agent saying she wasn’t ‘pretty’ enough

Kathie Lee Gifford recalled a “Charlie’s Angels” casting agent telling her she wasn’t “pretty” enough to be on the hit show. Getty Images

Kathie Lee Gifford still remembers the name of a “cruel” casting agent who criticized her looks over 30 years ago.

During an interview with People published Thursday, the former talk show host recalled being told she wasn’t “pretty” enough to star in “Charlie’s Angles,” which aired from 1976 to 1981.

Gifford, 70, explained that she was sick with the flu one day when her agent called to say there was an opening on the hit ABC series and she needed to get out of bed and head to the studio.

However, when she got there, the former “Today” co-host was immediately shot down by the casting director.

Gifford went to audition for the series in the late ’70s. Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images
However, the casting agent told her she wasn’t “right” for the role because she wasn’t attractive enough. Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

“She goes, ‘Let me tell you right now, you’re not right for ‘Charlie’s Angels,’” Gifford recalled.

When asked why, the woman bluntly told her they were “looking for a pretty girl” like Jaclyn Smith, who played Kelly Garrett in the television series.

The agent said they needed someone “gorgeous” — and Gifford didn’t fit the bill.

“It was like kicking me to the gut. I started to think it was funny. I really did,” Gifford recalled. “And as I’m walking out, I looked at her and I said, ‘Okay, well, thank you so much.’”

The casting agent said they were looking for a “gorgeous” girl like Jaclyn Smith. ©Columbia Pictures/courtesy Everett Co / Everett Collection
“It was like kicking me to the gut,” Gifford recalled in her interview with People. Getty Images

Despite her defeat, the actress tried to make light of the situation, telling the bitter woman to call her when they were “casting a cartoon.”

“I started to see, first of all, what a bitch she was,” she explained. “What an unnecessary bitch she was.

“She didn’t say, ‘Sorry, honey, have a nice life. You’re not what we’re looking for,’” she continued. “She had to be cruel.”

Gifford tried to mask her hurt with humor, telling the woman to call her when they needed to cast a cartoon. Getty Images
She still remembers the “cruel” woman’s name to this day. Peter Kramer/NBC

The “First Wives Club” star said the woman was “the exact opposite” of the type of person her dad “taught [her] to be.”

“The fact that I remember her name to this day is because she was so cruel,” she added.

However, since Gifford’s career in show business began at just 10, she had a sense of how “brutal” the industry can be from a young age.

The casting director ended up being an example for Gifford of the type of person she didn’t want to be. Getty Images
Despite not getting the part, Gifford still went on to have a successful career.

During a 2018 interview, the talk show host explained that she learned to deal with “rejection” early on.

“It’s nonstop,” she said, pointing to that same instance with the “Charlie’s Angels” casting agent.

“Spotlights are tough because some people die under them,” she said. “I came to life under them.”

Although she didn’t land the crime-fighting drama series, Gifford made a name for herself in daytime television, starring on “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” for over a decade before joining “Today.”

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