Iconic talkshow host and TV personality Regis Philbin has died aged 88, it has been confirmed by his family.
The veteran broadcaster had worked in TV since the mid-1950s, finding fame with the talkshow Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee in the 1980s (which became Live! With Regis and Kelly in 2001) as well as hosting formats likes the US version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and (briefly) America’s Got Talent.
“His family and friends are forever grateful for the time we got to spend with him – for his warmth, his legendary sense of humour, and his singular ability to make every day into something worth talking about,” Philbin’s family said in a statement to People.
“We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss.”
#regisphilbin Did my first interview @GeneralHospital – I remember my dad saying, "Watch out for that guy, he's tough" He was so kind to me. He was my favorite. Say hi to our buddy @DonRickles up there for me. You will be missed Reg!
— John Stamos (@JohnStamos) July 25, 2020
Across social media various well-known figures including celebrities, actors and media bosses paid tribute to Philbin’s life and career, which had spanned many decades.
Born on August 25th 1931, Philbin was born and raised in New York City before attending the University of Notre Dame, studying for a sociology degree and later joining the Navy.
We are heartbroken to hear that a long time colleague & friend, #regisphilbin passed away at the age of 88. Regis graced us with warmth, humor & a self-deprecating wit, always bringing happiness to us all. Our hearts go out to Joy and to his family. Rest In Peace, Regis.
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) July 25, 2020
After his time in the military Philbin began working behind-the-scenes on TV, making his way in front of the camera in 1961 with a local TV show in San Diego, followed by work on the Joey King Show and other local talk shows including A.M. Los Angeles and Regis Philbin’s Saturday Night in St Louis.
Watching #RegisPhilbin as a kid was so influential. His easy nature, story telling & uproarious sense of humor made me want to be like him. We met in the early 2000’s & told him I’d always wanted to meet him. He smiled, shook my hand & said, “Well now you have.” A class act. ❤️
— Ross Mathews (@helloross) July 25, 2020
His big break came in 1983 when he was given the job of hosting The Morning Show, which became Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee in 1988 and became a hugely popular format, only continuing when Kathie Lee Gifford was replaced by Kelly Ripa in 2001.
Philbin won two Daytime Emmys for his work hosting the show as well as one for his time hosting Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and 2004 set the Guinness World Record for most hours on camera.
— David Hasselhoff (@DavidHasselhoff) July 26, 2020
After a quarter of a century welcoming Americans in the morning Philbin retired from the show in November 2011, making a handful of guest appearances on other TV shows in the following years including Piers Morgan Tonight, The Daily Show, The Rachel Ray Show, The Late Late Show, Today with Kathie Lee and Hoda and sports show Crowd Goes Wild.
He also regularly guest starred as himself in sitcoms including How I Met Your Mother, The Odd Couple, New Girl, Fresh Off the Boat and Single Parents.
….And to Joy, his wonderful wife who he loved so much, my warmest condolences!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2020
Following his death (due to a heart condition), Philbin is survived by one daughter from his first wife Catherine Faylen, and two from his second wife, Joy Philbin.