Longtime TV personality and talk show Regis Philbin has passed away just one month shy of his 89th birthday. For decades, Philbin was a staple of morning television. His family is stating that he died from natural causes, though there are reports that he had suffered a heart attack.
Regis Philbin Passes Away
“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 Philbin family shares with People.
Born in New York City, New York on August 31, 1931, Philbin attended the University of Notre Dame where he received a degree in sociology. He served in the U.S. Navy and worked in broadcasting behind the scenes before going on camera.
He had his own talk show, The Regis Philbin Show, in San Diego in 1964. On that program, he talked about his daily life, taking that format to Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, which became a nationally syndicated show starting in 1988. In 1967, he gained even more exposure when he joined Joey Bishop on The Joey Bishop Show.
He won three Daytime Emmy Awards for hosting versions of Live! on which he appeared from 1988-2011. The first win came in 2000, which he won for hosting the show himself. He won the award again, sharing it with co-host Kelly Ripa in 2011 and 2012. He also won a Daytime Emmy for hosting the successful game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
“My goal is to entertain people, make our guests look good and to have a lot of fun,” Philbin told Variety when he was interviewed in 2008 for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys. Also, Philbin hosted the 37th Annual Daytime Emmys in 2011 when they were held in Las Vegas.
Associated Television International (ATI) produced the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Las Vegas, which Philbin hosted. “We loved Regis,” Jim Romanovich, President WW Entertainment for ATI, who was one of the executive producers of the 2010 Daytime Emmys as well as this year’s awards, exclusively shares with Entertainment Hub. “His loss is a tremendous one for all of us. Not just for daytime. I believe he was a major reason for the success of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire as it single-handedly launched a succession of primetime game shows we still see to this very day.
“He is exactly the guy you see and one we may never see again,” Romanovich adds. “Having Regis host the Daytime Emmys that year was our privilege. We felt that there was no host that defined the essence of entertainment more than Regis Philbin.”
While he spent the majority of his career hosting, Philbin amassed 86 acting credits over the course of his life. His first acting role is credited as Bernie Levine in the series Cowboy in Africa in 1968. His most recent credit was earlier this year as a version of himself on ABC’s Single Parents.
He also appeared on The Odd Couple, Hot in Cleveland, Diagnosis Murder, Seinfeld, Get Smart, and The Big Valley. In 1987-88, he recurred on the soap opera Ryan’s Hope as Malachy Malone, an influential politician whom Delia (Ilene Kristen) recruited to back Dakota Smith Christopher Durham when he was running for district leader.
Tributes are starting to post on social media. Longtime TV film critic Leonard Maltin writes: “#RegisPhilbin was always generous to me from his days on local L.A.television to his long reign on national morning TV. A lovely man indeed; He had a great run… Rest In Peace.”
Hoda Kotb (Today) wrote, “Heartbroken. We will miss you regis 💔💔💔” alongside a picture of her former co-host, Kathie Lee Gifford, who was partnered with Philbin for many years.
Philbin was wed twice. He is survived by daughters J.J. Philbin and Joanna Philbin, whom he shared with wife Joy Philbin. Regis and Joy were married for 50 years. Philbin had two two children with first wife Catherine Faylen. They had a daughter, Amy, and a son, Daniel, who passed away in 2014. Entertainment Hub sends sincere condolences to the Philbin family at this difficult time.
#RegisPhilbin was always generous to me from his days on local L.A.television to his long reign on national morning TV. A lovely man indeed; He had a great run… Rest In Peace pic.twitter.com/EjbBERBO4L
— Leonard Maltin (@leonardmaltin) July 25, 2020
Heartbroken. We will miss you regis 💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/kB8oag8BFO
— Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) July 25, 2020