Kelly Maria Ripa (born October 2, 1970) is an American actress, talk show host and television producer. Ripa played Hayley Vaughan on the television soap opera All My Children from 1990–2002 and is best known as co-host of the popular syndicated morning talk show Live! with Kelly and Michael. She is also known for her role as Faith Fairfield on Hope & Faith. Additionally, Ripa and her husband Mark Consuelos own a New York based production company, Milojo.
- 2 Television career
- 3 Film career
- 4 Other ventures
- 5 Filmography and television work
- 6 Awards and honors
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Ripa was born in Stratford, New Jersey, the daughter of Esther, a homemaker, and Joseph Ripa, a labor-union president and bus driver. She has a younger sister, Linda, who is a children's book author.She is of Italian and Irish descent. Her father has been the Democratic County Clerk for Camden County, New Jersey since June 2009. She is the first in her family to enter the acting profession. She has studied ballet since age three, plays the piano, and, in her words, is "no Barbra Streisand," but can carry a tune.
Ripa graduated from Eastern High School in Voorhees Township, New Jersey, where she became a cheerleader and was later encouraged by her drama teacher to pursue acting. "I owe so much of my career to Jim Beckley," she said. "He thought I was a natural performer and so he gave me the lead in the next show." She starred in local theatre productions and was discovered while performing in thecomedy play The Ugly Duckling (c. 1941), by A.A. Milne, during her senior year. She attended Camden County College studying psychology, but dropped out and moved to New York City to be an actress.
Aside from local TV gigs, Ripa's first national television exposure came in 1986 when she appeared as a regular dancer on Dancin' On Air", leading into Dance Party USA. Her career goal at the time was to be a newscaster and she often did the cast news reports.
Ripa was cast in her first major acting role in 1990 as Hayley Vaughan, a troubled party girl, on All My Children. She concluded her 12-year stint in 2002, but returned for two episodes in 2010 to help celebrate the soap opera's 40th anniversary.
After co-host Kathie Lee Gifford's final show on Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, Regis Philbin began holding on-air auditions to find her replacement. In his autobiography, How I Got This Way, Philbin says of discovering Ripa:
There was one guest we'd had on with us a few years before who had [a certain sparkle]. Hers was a natural, quick-witted, unaffected, confident, fun-loving kind of sparkle that both Gelman and I remembered very well. We decided to invite her back, this time to consider her as a possible co-host. So that was when this smiling, petite ball of fire named Kelly Ripa made her return to Live!for a test run at the rotating, up-for-grabs hot seat to my left. And my God, who knew what spontaneous combustion we'd make together?
On the day of Ripa's initial Live! with Regis tryout, November 1, 2000, psychic Char Margolis was among the guests. During this segment, Margolis guessed that Ripa was pregnant with her second child. Ripa replied, "I haven't told my boss yet!" Philbin later said that Ripa was first among the potential candidates including Jane Krakowski, Valerie Bertinelli, Dolly Parton, and Bernadette Peters: "[I]t could only be Kelly. We knew that from her memorable debut onward." Ripa was announced as official replacement on February 5, 2001. Within months, the renamed Live! with Regis and Kelly's young-audience demographics increased by 80 percent with Ripa credited for bringing "a new life to the show."
The chemistry between Philbin and Ripa (or "Pippa" as he nicknamed her), their banter, interviews, and conversations about their families, personal lives, and New York City attracted a successful, strong, and loyal viewership averaging 6 million viewers daily. In January 2011, Philbin, 80, announced that he would be retiring from Live! at the end of the year. His final show aired Friday, November 18, 2011, during which Ripa tearfully reminisced about her first day, the 43 steps they walked together from her dressing room onto set each day for 11 years, and how those 43 steps changed her life. "Thank you for everything! It's been just great my Pippa," Philbin told her in an embrace. Ripa responded, "Thank you for everything. I love you." "I love you, too," said Philbin.
Ripa replaced Philbin as the head of the show and returned the following Monday, November 21, 2011, to continue the show, which was re-titled Live! with Kelly. In a process similar to the one in which she was selected to replace Gifford, a rotating lineup of co-hosts auditioned on-air with Ripa to take over her former co-hosting duties, including: Michael Strahan, Seth Meyers, Josh Groban, Nick Lachey, Neil Patrick Harris, Chris Harrison, Jerry O'Connell, Joel McHale, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bryant Gumbel, Jerry Seinfeld, Mike Greenberg, Dan Abrams, Martin Short, Howie Mandel, Pat Kiernan, Jesse Palmer, D.L. Hughley, Derek Hough, Sam Champion, Taye Diggs, Ben Mulroney, Kevin Jonas, Randy Jackson, Michael Bublé, Peter Facinelli, Rob Lowe, Dana Carvey, Reggie Bush, and Mario Lopez. In the end, Strahan was announced as the new co-host and Live! with Kelly and Michael premiered September 4, 2012.
Live! won its first Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show on June 23, 2012.
Ripa ventured into primetime in September 2003 on Hope & Faith, playing Faith Fairfield, an unemployed ex-soap star. The half-hour sitcom, co-starring Faith Ford, Ted McGinley, and Megan Fox, gave ABCits best Friday premiere score since 1996. The show ended in May 2006 with Ripa declaring she "never wanted to work that hard again."
Best known for her television work, Ripa also has several feature films to her credit. She appeared in the acclaimed Miramax feature Marvin's Room in 1996 alongside Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio. In 1999, she won the Best Actress Award at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival for her work in The Stand-In. Most recently, she was part of the voice cast of the computer-generated animated feature Fly Me to the Moon.
Named among People's Most Intriguing People and one of the Most Powerful People in Media according to The Hollywood Reporter, Ripa serves as a valuable and successful spokesperson for several companies. In the past, she has partnered with Tide, 7 Up, Pantene, and TD Bank, but currently works primarily with Electrolux and Rykä.
Rykä announced Ripa as the spokesperson for the brand's footwear and sporting apparel in 2008. Showcasing her commitment to an active, healthy lifestyle; Ripa oversees the design of her own fitness-inspired active wear line, The Kelly Ripa Collection.
Ripa stars in the Electrolux television and print advertising, and her image is used on point of sale materials and extensively online. Tom Coulman of Electrolux says "Her dynamic personality and on-the-go lifestyle really resonate and create a powerful brand connection."Ripa at 2007 Red Dress Collection for Heart Truth foundation
Ripa is a supporter of the ovarian cancer cause, and has teamed with Electrolux to raise funds for The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Every summer, she hosts an event called Super Saturday, a day long fundraising event. 2011's event raised over $3.5 million for OCRF. Ripa attributes her dedication to the experience of losing a friend to ovarian cancer. In 2001, she appeared on a celebrity version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, hosted by Philbin. She won $250,000 for Tomorrow's Children's Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to speeding the healing of children with cancer and serious blood disorders.
Ripa is also an active participant in Mothers Against Drunk Driving. According to Ripa, her involvement with MADD is motivated by her sister, Linda, who was almost killed by a drunk driver in 1999.
In 2007, Ripa and her husband Mark Consuelos founded Milojo, the highly successful SoHo-based production company. It began with the Emmy-nominated feature documentary The Streak, which told the story of a Florida high school wrestling team with a 34-year winning streak. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008. In addition, Milojo launched a first look development deal with Discovery Channel for non-scripted series' including Homemade Millionaire, hosted by Ripa, and the docu-series Masters of Reception. Their next film, Off the Rez, was also accepted to the Tribeca Film Festival and premiered on TLC in May 2011. In 2012, the company premiered its first short film, a collaboration with Will Ferrell's Funny or Die entitled "The Bensonhurst Spelling Bee" featuring Ripa, Consuelos, and their son, Michael. The video went viral and quickly exceeded 1,000,000 views.
In 2007 and 2012, Ripa hosted the TV Land Awards to very positive reviews. She, herself, is an award winner, garnering five Soap Opera Digest Awards and three Daytime Emmy Award nominations for playing Hayley Vaughan on All My Children.
Ripa was also recognized for her work on the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade, which she co-hosted from 2001–2009, with the Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Special in 2006. She and co-host Regis Philbin have also twice won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host for Live! with Regis and Kelly, for which they also received 12 Emmy Award nominations and 4 People's Choice Award nominations.
In 2008, Cowboy Mouth, a New Orleans, Louisiana-based rock band, honored Ripa by writing a song in tribute, entitled Kelly Ripa, that appeared on their album Fearless. The band performed the song onLive! on March 13, 2008.
On September 15, 2006, Ripa broke the Guinness World Record as twenty-four banana-cream pies were tossed at her mouth in one minute, as part of a Guinness World Record Breaker theme week onLive!. On September 16, 2011, Ripa broke the Guinness World Record for Most Grapes Trodden in 1 Minute, of 5.4 litres, as she extracted 8.4 litres. However, her competitor, Martina Servaty of Germany, extracted even more (8.6 litres), preventing Ripa from holding the new record.
The Broadcast Pioneers inducted Ripa into their Hall of Fame for her tremendous success in the television industry on November 19, 2010 and also honoured her as their Person of the Year.