Kathie Lee Gifford Recalls 'Cruel' Casting Agent Telling Her She Wasn't Pretty Enough For “Charlie's Angels ”TV Series (Exclusive)

"You know, like Jaclyn Smith pretty, gorgeous, gorgeous," the former TV host says the agent told her

<p>Terry Wyatt/Getty, Harry Langdon/Getty</p> Kathie Lee Gifford

Terry Wyatt/Getty, Harry Langdon/Getty

Kathie Lee Gifford

Kathie Lee Gifford had a not-so-great experience with a casting agent in the early days of her career.

While speaking with PEOPLE about her latest book I Want to Matter: Your Life Is Too Short and Too Precious to Waste, Gifford opens up about being told she wasn’t pretty enough to star in ABC's Charlie’s Angels television series, which aired from 1976 to 1981 for five seasons.

The former Today co-host, 70, recalls being sick with the flu when she found out that the studio was looking to replace one of the actresses on the show. She believes it was Kate Jackson, who left in 1979 after season three.

<p> Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty </p> Kathie Lee Gifford in 1987

Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Kathie Lee Gifford in 1987

Gifford says her agent told her to get out of bed and get to the studio, but when she did, she was faced with a "cruel" casting agent.

"She goes, 'Let me tell you right now, you're not right for Charlie's Angels,'" she recalls.

Related: Kathie Lee Gifford Wants to Inspire People to Choose Kindness in Her New Book: 'People Feel Hopeless Right Now' (Exclusive)

When she asked why, the agent allegedly said: "Because we're looking for a pretty girl."

Gifford claims the agent continued on an insulting tirade, saying, "You know, like Jaclyn Smith pretty, gorgeous, gorgeous."

<p>ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty</p> CHARLIE'S ANGELS

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty


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

"I said, 'When you're casting a cartoon,' and I threw up my leg. 'When you're casting a cartoon, let me know,'" she continues. "I left thanking God that I could laugh about it."

Speaking about the agent, Gifford says, "I started to see, first of all, what a bitch she was. 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 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."

Related: 'Charlie's Angels' Turns 40: Jaclyn Smith Reflects on the 'Groundbreaking' Series That Had a $20,000 Per Episode Wardrobe Budget

The series, which followed three women at a Los Angeles private detective agency, originally starred Jackson, Smith and Farrah Fawcett. Replacements over the years included Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack and the late Tanya Roberts.

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The show went on to spur a franchise, including the popular 2002 movie of the same name starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu, and the short-lived 2011 reboot series.

Last month, Gifford spoke about squashing her beef with Howard Stern after she learned that he encouraged his fans to jeer when she was introduced to sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXIX.

The former TV host, who writes about the power of forgiveness and kindness in her new book, revealed that Stern reached out to apologize in 2011 after they saw each other on the Today show.

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"I said, 'I’m really happy for you that you’re asking for forgiveness, because anytime we hurt somebody in life, it’s important to ask for forgiveness,'" she told Fox News Digital. "'But I just want you to know that I forgave you 30 years ago.' He goes, 'What?' I said, 'I forgave you 30 years ago, and I’ve been praying for you every day since.'"

I Want to Matter: Your Life Is Too Short and Too Precious to Waste is available wherever books are sold.

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