Regis Philbin, Legendary TV Host, Dead at 88

by Hunter Miller

Regis Philbin passed away on July 24. The beloved TV personality died at 88.

His family shared a statement with People after his death. “We are deeply saddened to share that our beloved Regis Philbin passed away last night of natural causes, one month shy of his 89th birthday,” the statement reads.

“His family and friends are forever grateful for the time we got to spend with him – for his warmth, his legendary sense of humor, and his singular ability to make every day into something worth talking about,” the statement continued. “We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss.”

Over the course of his life, Philbin battled health issues. In 2007, he underwent triple bypass surgery, according to Entertainment Tonight.

Regis Philbin’s Iconic TV Career

Philbin’s legendary career started in the 1950s on The Tonight Show. He later moved from New York City to Los Angeles where he landed a self-titled local talk show. However, the show struggled to gain viewers.

In 1988, Philbin moved on to arguably his most popular hosting gig on Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee. After 15 years, his co-host, Kathie Lee Gifford, departed the show.

In 2001, the franchise transitioned to Live! with Regis and Kelly. Philbin co-hosted the talk show with Kelly Ripa until leaving the show in 2011. At the time, Philbin spoke out about his decision to leave the show. “She [Rippa] got very offended when I left,” Philbin said. “She thought I was leaving because of her. I was leaving because I was getting older and that wasn’t right for me anymore.”

He was replaced by former NFL star Michael Strahan, who was later replaced by Ryan Seacrest in 2017.

Philbin also hosted the massively popular game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? from 1999 to 2002. Some of Philbin’s other game show hosting credits include Million Dollar Password and the first season of America’s Got Talent.

While speaking with the New York Times, Philbin addressed the transition from morning to prime time. “That was the highlight of my life,” he said. “I realized there was a difference between a syndicated morning show and prime time…It was a wonderful time in a broadcaster’s life to get a show like that. Wow, it was dynamite.”

In 1955, the native New Yorker married his first wife, Catherine “Kay” Faylen. The two share two children together, Amy and Daniel. However, they divorced in 1968.

Two years after his divorce, Philbin married Joy Senese. He then went on to have two children with her, Joanna and Jennifer.

[H/T People]

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