As the organization’s new Ambassador for Care, she will bring information and resources to the more than 44 million Americans who are caregivers, along with her own personal experiences. Additionally, Gibbons will return to TV as the new host of AARP’s 30-minute lifestyle TV show, My Generation, which airs nationally on PBS.
“Leeza’s personal experience as a caregiver and the work she has done to aid others in this role make her a great fit as our new Ambassador for Care,” said Emilio Pardo, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer, AARP. “Add to this her new role as the host of My Generation, a role that obviously goes hand in hand with her expertise and success on TV, and we’ve got a powerful new arsenal of information available to AARP’s members and 50+ America.”
Best known for hosting Leeza, Entertainment Tonight and Extra, Gibbons has become a well known social entrepreneur and philanthropist creating her national nonprofit Leeza's Place for family caregivers. After losing both her mother and grandmother to Alzheimer’s, Gibbons was inspired by her family’s emotional journey to help others who were facing similar concerns and situations. “Leeza’s Place” now serves as a haven for those looking for support and guidance, offering free services for family caregivers of loved ones with any chronic illness or disease. Now, through www.aarp.org/leeza, Gibbons will connect with millions more through interactive Web casts featuring exclusive videos, editorial content, personal blogs and online chats. She will also serve as a contributor to AARP’s online caregiving portal, www.aarp.org/caregiving.
“To nurture another without any expectation of reward or acknowledgement is humanity in action,” said Gibbons. “My mom was her mom’s ‘Ambassador for Care’…not just because she was a ‘caregiver’ to help her journey through the fog of dementia, but because she offered those soft, special moments that transcended the time in which they were given. I think that’s how we get to live forever—through the way we care.”
The Emmy winner will also take the helm of My Generation, AARP’s half-hour lifestyle series covering health, money, relationships, volunteering and how to get the most out of life. My Generation will kick off its second season in late January 2011 with inspirational and personal stories from great guests such as pop icon Olivia Newton-John, opera superstar Denyce Graves, celebrity chef Guy Fieri, filmmaker Rob Reiner and actress Valerie Bertinelli. Throughout the season she’ll also talk with Martina Navratilova about health and fitness, Peter Greenberg about travel tips, as well as other AARP Ambassadors.
AARP produces this 26-week series specifically geared for the 50+ audience in association with Maryland Public Television. A leader in communication through print, television and Web innovation, AARP has received the Trustees Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Seen on over 200 public TV stations nationwide, My Generation currently airs in 18 of the top 20 U.S. markets.
Gibbons served as Executive Producer of LEEZA, which debuted on NBC in 1994 and continued nationally through 2000. Receiving nominations for both Outstanding Talk Show and Outstanding Talk Show Host every year it was eligible, LEEZA garnered 27 Daytime Emmy Nominations, winning three. It was during the series run that Gibbons’ impact on television was awarded with one of Hollywood’s highest honors: a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She currently hosts her radio show, Hollywood Confidential, which reaches over 3.5 million listeners in the United States and Canada. Her direct response Sheer Cover beauty and cosmetics infomercial show is in its 7th year with worldwide viewership in the tens of millions. A recognized thought leader in the care giving field, she wrote a book about her personal experience called Take Your Oxygen First: Caring for Yourself while Caring for Someone with Memory Loss, which was just named one of the best consumer health books in the marketplace from Library Journal, with additional accolades from Publishers Weekly. Gibbons has been on the board of the Alzheimer's Association for over a decade. She is also one of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's appointees to the Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee, the governing board of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine.
Read our exclusive 2008 interview with Leeza about her work with Leeza’s Place here.