Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, was dubbed the "World's Greatest Athlete," vaulting to international fame after winning the decathlon in the 1976 Olympics. Jenner's popularity continued well beyond the Olympic closing ceremony, with high-profile endorsements - most famously with Wheaties cereal - as well as network television correspondence work in the years immediately after keeping her in the public eye. It was not long before acting offers came pouring in, with Jenner appearing in such fare as the musical "Can't Stop the Music" (1980) alongside disco-era act The Village People, and the made-for-TV effort "Grambling's White Tiger" (NBC, 1981). In the decade that followed her Olympic victory, she found a welcoming home for a time on episodic television, making guest appearances on shows like "CHiPs" (NBC, 1977-1983) and "Murder She Wrote" (1984-1996). After testing the waters with reality series such as "I'm a Celebrity - Get Me Out of Here!" (ABC, 2002-03), Jenner found herself surrounded by a bevy of curvaceous brunettes -wife Kris, and step-daughters Kim, Kourtney and Khloé - in the reality series "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" (E!, 2007-). Although she had made a reputation for herself as a respected spokesperson, motivational speaker, and businessperson, it was Jenner's indelible status as a tabloid television personality threatened to eclipse even her fame as an Olympic legend. Yet a new transition made headlines around the world in April 2015 when Jenner confirmed months of media speculation about her gender identity, stating emphatically "I am a woman." On June 1, 2015, Caitlyn Jenner made her public debut in a glamorous Vanity Fair cover photo by Annie Liebovitz. Born in Mount Kisco, NY, she quickly developed into a superior athlete in almost every sport she attempted - from football and basketball, to track and field and water skiing. She attended Graceland College in Iowa on a football scholarship, where her coach, javelin-throwing champion L.D. Weldon, convinced her to train for the Olympic decathlon after a knee injury derailed Jenner's football career. It was advice well taken, and within a few short years, Jenner had cleared the 1972 Olympic trials. Although she placed 10th at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, the initial success spurred the athlete on and she embarked on a grueling training regimen of eight hours a day in preparation for her next chance at Olympic gold. Her determination paid off at the 1976 Olympics, where she broke the world's record by scoring 8,634 points in the decathlon - a stunning feat, which earned her the gold medal and the title of "World's Greatest Athlete" from the Associated Press. Jenner's sensational win propelled her to worldwide attention, and she shrewdly seized upon the opportunities by signing numerous endorsement deals. The most notable of these was with Wheaties, which put her on its cereal boxes for seven years and again later for its 75th anniversary. Jenner lent her support and image to numerous charitable and sports-related organizations, including The Special Olympics and The National Dyslexia Research Foundation. The latter held special importance for Jenner, who suffered from the disorder himself. Among her awards were the Sullivan Award for Outstanding Performance as an Amateur Athlete, and membership in both the Olympic Hall of Fame and Track and Field Hall of Fame. Additionally, Jenner became an in-demand sports and news commentator on ABC, NBC, and Fox Sports, covering everything from track and field, surfing, and motocross, to the Olympics. She served as an exercise correspondent on "Good Morning America" (ABC, 1975-) for the first seven years of its run. Acting seemed like a natural direction for Jenner's abundant talent, but her efforts in this area did not yield memorable results. Her feature film debut was in the bizarre musical "Can't Stop the Music" (1980), which saw Jenner awkwardly singing and dancing alongside camp icons the Village People and co-star Valerie Perrine. She fared slightly better in the TV movie "Grambling's White Tiger" (NBC, 1981), a biopic about the first white player on an all-black football team which she produced for her own company, Jenner Productions. From there, Jenner acted mainly in episodic television, including a stint on "CHiPs" (NBC, 1977-1983) during the 1981 season, as well as episodes of "Murder, She Wrote" (1984-1996) and "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986) in the mid-80s. Over the years, she has also appeared as herself on several television shows and in features, including on an episode of "Silver Spoons" (NBC, 1982-87). In the years that followed, Jenner pursued a variety of endeavors that included touring as a motivational speaker, producing exercise videos with his second wife, the former Kris Kardashian, and hosting the show "Healthy Lifestyles" (syndicated, 1988-89), in addition to a multitude of infomercials. Jenner also made sporadic returns to acting, such as her appearance opposite Kris Kristofferson and Martin Sheen in the direct-to-video drama "Original Intent" (1992), and later, a cameo as herself in the Craig Ferguson hairstyling comedy "The Big Tease" (2000). She also competed in a number of network game shows and reality programs for her favorite charities, including "The Weakest Link" (NBC, 2001-03), the garish "I'm a Celebrity - Get Me Out of Here!" (ABC, 2002-03), and "Skating with Celebrities" (Fox, 2005-06). The latter show proved that, although her legacy as an Olympic champion was well assured, her brief - and painfully awkward - time on the ice revealed that this super-athlete was not "super" at all sports. Then, in a twist of fate that could only take place in Hollywood, it would be Jenner's participation in a reality series centered on the exploits of his wife and stepdaughters that would bring her the kind of notoriety she had not enjoyed since the heady years following her 1976 Olympic victory. After the release of her infamous sex tape in 2007, Hollywood socialite Kim Kardashian became a hot property on the tabloid circuit, with project developers scrambling to come up with a showcase that would capitalize on her considerable exposure. Not surprisingly, that platform came in the guise of a reality show, "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" (E!, 2007-), which followed the escapades of Kim, her sisters, mother, and perpetually perturbed celebrity step-parent Jenner. Despite critical accusations of being heavily scripted, as well as the even less forgivable crime of tediousness, the series became an unexpected ratings hit, with the second season breaking records for the cable network. For her part, Jenner's involvement seemed to consist largely of looking on in a constant state of bewilderment and disapproval, as wife Kris and the girls struggled with issues of dating, clothing, and career options. In addition to her ongoing tour of duty on "The Kardashians," Jenner made other cameo appearances as herself in the made-for-TV family comedy "Gym Teacher: The Movie" (Nickelodeon, 2008), and added her voice to the animated sitcom "Family Guy" (Fox, 1999-). As jokes about the aging Jenner's looks became more prevalent in discussions of the Kardashian shows, she occasionally lashed out; in a June 2013 appearance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (NBC 2009-2014), Jenner and Fallon told an anecdote about the pair's awkward meeting at the 2012 London Olympics, which ended with Jenner telling the talk show host "Stop saying s--t about my face!" in response to jokes about plastic surgery in his monologues. In October 2013, Kris and Caitlyn Jenner revealed that they had been legally separated for a year; the couple divorced in December 2014. During this period, Jenner's radically changing physical appearance led to media speculation about her gender identity. In a highly publicized interview with Diane Sawyer on April 24, 2015, Jenner for the first time addressed the issue by saying, "My brain is much more female than it is male. It's hard for people to understand that but that's what my soul is. I look at it this way. Bruce was always telling a lie. He's lived a lie his whole life about who he is. And I can't do that any longer." On June 1 of the same year, Caitlyn Jenner made her debut on the cover of the July 2015 issue of Vanity Fair, with a photograph by Annie Liebovitz and a profile by Buzz Bissinger.


Guest Appearances