She's gone! Kathie Lee Gifford said goodbye today to her 12-year gig (15 years if you count the pre-syndication period) on "Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee" with a highlight reel, a cake and a song from Reeg.
The celebrity testimonials, which have poured in all week on the morning talkfest, continued but for this last episode they were all videotaped rather than in studio. Susan Lucci, Rosie O'Donnell and David Letterman with sidekick Paul Shaffer all said heartfelt sayonaras.
But Gifford was atypically tongue-tied at the climactic moment, when Philbin sang a personalized rendition of "Thanks for the Memories" (with lyrics like, "You've made a lot of money, you've come a long way since you were just a Hee Haw Honey, and met Mr. Football ...") and presented her with a big cake inscribed with the same sentiment.
Oh, and husband Frank Gifford was there, too, as were their kids, Cody and Erin. The ex-football great and caught-red-handed adulterer didn't get much camera attention, though; and, perhaps tellingly, when the final strains of goodbye music played, the kids stood by Kathie Lee's side, while Frank remained at arm's length.
Kathie Lee, who made her Broadway debut last year, plans to forge a singing and acting career. She got it under way Friday with an appearance on "The View."