Things You Didn’t Know About "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous"
Television Personality Robin Leach sighted on February 28, 1989 at Sfuzzi Restaurant in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
From 1984 to 1995, we were offered a glimpse into the lives of the ultra-rich thanks to the television series Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Hosted by the impeccably accented Robin Leach, the show capitalized on the attitude of conspicuous consumption that defined the 1980s. Each week, viewers got to see the extravagant homes and witness the luxurious lifestyles enjoyed by wealthy entertainers, business tycoons, and professional athletes. Here's what you may not remember or have ever known about the television show that made us all jealous of the one-percenters.
Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams
It was the show's host, Robin Leach himself, that coined the catchphrase of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. In fact, "champagne wishes and caviar dreams" was one of the most popular catchphrases of the 1980s. Even today, the phrase pops up in songs and movies, further cementing its place in pop culture.
If the show was to be believed, the ultra-rich spent their days surrounded by champagne. The expensive beverage with the high-end reputation was featured prominently in nearly every episode. Even the intro to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous included champagne. Multiple shots showed champagne being poured and glasses lifted in the air. The subconscious message of the series was "You will know you’ve made it big when you drink champagne on a random Tuesday!"
Featured Guests Had to Surpass an Income Threshold
Just how does one define ultra-rich? This was a question the producers of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous had to answer, and they settled on a number. To be considered for a guest feature on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," one had to have a net worth that exceeded $50 million.
It Wasn't All About the Houses
Although Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous focused on the opulent homes of the well-to-do, it wasn’t only about fancy houses. Robin Leach also took viewers on a tour of the wealthy guests' summer homes, garages full of expensive sports cars, and closets full of one-of-a-kind designer clothes. Viewers got to tag along as Leach boarded private planes, helicopters, yachts, and limousines to show us where the rich and famous vacation.
The Theme Song Wasn't Originally Intended for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
When Bill Conti---a well-known musical composer and Oscar-winner who wrote the scores for Dynasty, The Right Stuff, and Rocky---wrote the song “Come With Me Now,” it was for the 1979 movie Five Days From Home. The love ballad was later adopted as the theme song for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Another of Conti's compositions, "Runaway" from the film For Your Eyes Only, was frequently used for in-show content background music.
Robin Leach Was a Journalist
The extremely British and proper Robin Leach began his career as a journalist. He covered entertainment and gossip news in both England and the United States for more than 10 years before he landed a spot as a correspondent on Entertainment Tonight in 1981. He parlayed his success on that show into a hosting gig on the newly developed Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Robin Leach Worked with Regis Philbin
Early in his career, Robin Leach worked alongside Regis Philbin when they were both contributors on AM Los Angeles, which broadcast on KABC-TV. This was just one of Leach's television reporting jobs. He also worked for CNN, the Food Network, People Tonight, and Good Morning Australia.
Donald Trump was on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
In 1994, an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous featured the business mogul and future president Donald Trump. At the time, Trump was married to Marla Maples, who was also shown on camera being interviewed along with her husband by the host. Leach even asked the couple about their newborn daughter, Tiffany.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Spawned Copycat Shows
The popularity of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous led to other television shows that featured the extravagant lives and homes of the famous and wealthy, including Cribs, The Fabulous Life of..., My Lottery Dream House, and The World's Most Extraordinary Homes. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous was also the forerunner of celebrity reality television shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians that offered an unscripted glimpse at the everyday lives of the ultra-rich.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous's Guest List is a Who's Who of 1980s Stars
Many of the celebrities that were featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous were the mega-stars of the 1980s and '90s. They included Michael Jackson, Marie Osmond, Peter Usinov, Melissa Gilbert, Morgan Fairchild, Lynda Carter, Stephanie Powers, and Jeff Bridges. Shari Belafonte, who starred in Hotel, was a guest on the series and then became the show's co-host alongside Robin Leach. When Leach retired from the series in 1994, Belafonte took over as the host and the name was changed to simply Lifestyles.
Robin Leach Recently Passed Away
The former host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Robin Leach, suffered a stroke on August 20, 2018 and died three days later. He was 77 years old. For the host of a show about the rich and famous, Leach enjoyed a level of that wealth and fame himself. His name will forever be linked to the phrase "champagne wishes and caviar dreams."
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