Live, with Regis... and Rhonda
Graduate attributes success to professors
(Advertising ‘94) is a natural-born entertainer – quick-witted, smart
and on-the-move. Evidently,
Regis Philbin of ABC’s “Live with Regis” morning talk show thought
so, too, and liked what he saw. Because
it was a brief audition tape “with simply me talking” that secured a
seat for her beside Regis as a guest co-host last fall.
seat was left vacant when regular co-host Kathie Lee Gifford retired from
the show. While searching for
a new co-host, ABC publicity gurus started a “real people” campaign
with the possibility of filling the slot permanently.
The 33-year-old Ronda, a labor and employment lawyer with
O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, won a slot out of 15,000
competitors. Indeed, she
co-hosted twice in October 2000.
obviously was in her element. Her
opening line with Regis? “How
ya’ doin’ Reg; can I call you Reg?”
shot back, “Well, King would be better, but Reg is fine.”
razzle-dazzle banter characteristic of the show quickly led to the two
breaking into a chorus of the “All in the Family” theme song, with
Ronda as the irrepressible Edith Bunker.
mother, Marcia Jamgotchian, who is an administrative support coordinator
in the Department of Geography at CSUF, said Ronda’s always been a
character. “We called her
Sarah Bernhardt when she was growing up.
She was always an actress – always getting into things, always
playing out scenes.” She was with her daughter in New York – for the
shows and the shopping – which ran true to form for Ronda.
her second appearance on the show, she related an incident that occurred
in the course of one of her assaults on a department store. She was trying to keep an elevator door open, so she kicked
her leg in to stop it from closing, but it took off anyway – with her
shoe. She said she pushed the
button to call the elevator back; but when it returned, the shoe was gone.
took my shoe!” she exclaimed.
took your shoe?” Regis reiterated.
somebody took my shoe.”
limped to Lost and Found – to no avail.
Undaunted, she simply bought another pair of shoes.
brought her Lucille Ball-esque life to Fullerton right after graduation
from high school in 1984, declaring theatre as her major. She left for several years to pursue a career in hotel
management but returned in 1991 to graduate in 1994 with high honors in
communications. She went on
to graduate magna cum laude from the University of California Hastings
College of Law in San Francisco in 1998.
She passed the bar on the first take.
clerked for a federal district judge in Hawaii during her first year out.
Then, in January 2000, she started practicing with O’Melveny
& Myers, one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the
country, with close to 300 lawyers in the Los Angeles office.
McGuinness, one of the firm’s partners, said in an interview, “She’s
certainly a pleasure to work with. She’s
down to earth, smart, very professional.
She adds a colorful, out-going, exciting demeanor that you might
not find in most lawyers. I
enjoy her vibrant personality. And
I value her as a professional colleague and as a friend.”
definitely enjoy practicing law in Los Angeles with O’Melveny &
Myers,” Jamgotchian said. “I
intend to stay here as long as they’ll have me, with the caveat that if
something compelling in entertainment falls into my lap, I could be
persuaded to switch careers.”
said she has fond memories of Cal State.
“Dr. Wayne Overbeck was a moving force in my decision to go on to
law school,” she said. “He left an indelible mark on my career.”
also named Drs. Fred Zandpour, Paul Lester and Shay Sayre as significant
mentors – and regretted forgetting the names of many others who left
their mark as well. She added that she satisfied her yen for acting in a
couple of acting classes, but mostly her theatre classes involved behind
the scenes activities and projects.
debut onto the entertainment scene came when she was 4 years old and
appeared on “Romper Room.” That
was followed by many years of performing in plays and musicals, with her
favorite being the time she starred as Daisy Mae in a high school
production of “Li’l
you see,” she said, “my acting career hasn’t grabbed any neon lights
yet. But I learned a lot from
Regis. What you see on camera
is just the way he is backstage. It
was clearly one of the most exciting times of my life.”
to sit next to Regis again? “Absolutely!
Live with Regis? What
can top that?”