Regis Philbin, the enduring television persona best-known for his internet hosting duties on “Stay!” with co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelly Ripa, and “Who Desires to Be a Millionaire,” has died on the age of 88.
His household confirmed the information of his stunning passing in a press release to Fox Information on Saturday.
“We’re deeply saddened to share that our beloved Regis Philbin handed away final evening of pure causes, one month shy of his 89th birthday,” his household mentioned.
“His household and mates are eternally grateful for the time we acquired to spend with him — for his heat, his legendary humorousness, and his singular capability to make daily into one thing value speaking about. We thank his followers and admirers for his or her unbelievable assist over his 60-year profession and ask for privateness as we mourn his loss.”
President Trump tweeted about Philbin’s loss of life on Saturday, calling him “one of many greats.”
“One of many greats within the historical past of tv, Regis Philbin has handed on to even higher airwaves, at 88,” the president wrote. “He was a incredible individual, and my good friend. He stored telling me to run for President. Holds the document for “most live television”, and he did it effectively. Regis, we love you….”
A New York native, Regis Francis Xavier Philbin was born on Aug. 25, 1931. He was named after his father’s alma mater, Manhattan’s Regis Excessive College. Philbin graduated from Cardinal Hayes Excessive College within the Bronx earlier than occurring to Notre Dame, the place he majored in sociology.
After school, Philbin joined the U.S. Navy. He then launched into his decades-long profession in tv as a stagehand and a supply boy for a station in Los Angeles, Calif. Rapidly after, he grew to become a information author and was supplied a job as a sportscaster.
Philbin went on to San Diego as a information anchor for KOGO-TV. His first shot at nationwide publicity got here a couple of years later because the sidekick to Joey Bishop on ABC’s “The Joey Bishop Present.” Philbin then moved on to KHJ-TV in Los Angeles the place he hosted “That Regis Philbin Present.” The present was canceled as a consequence of rankings powerhouse Johnny Carson, but it surely introduced Philbin to the midwest for “Regis Philbin’s Saturday Night time in St. Louis.”
After three years of commuting to St. Louis every week for a neighborhood Saturday evening present, Philbin grew to become a star in native morning tv — first in Los Angeles, then in New York. In 1985, he teamed with Kathie Lee Johnson, a yr earlier than she married former soccer star Frank Gifford, and the present went nationwide in 1988.
Celebrities routinely stopped by Philbin’s eponymous syndicated morning present, however its coronary heart was within the first 15 minutes, when he and co-host Kathie Lee Gifford — on “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” from 1985 to 2000 — or Kelly Ripa — on “Live! with Regis and Kelly” from 2001 till his 2011 retirement — bantered in regards to the occasions of the day. Viewers laughed at Philbin’s mock indignation over not getting the most effective seat at a restaurant the evening earlier than or being henpecked by his associate.
“Even I have a little trepidation,” he informed The Related Press in 2008, when requested how he does a present daily. “You get up within the morning and also you say, ‘What did I do last night that I can talk about? What’s new within the paper? How are we gonna fill that 20 minutes?’”
“I’m not gonna say it all the time works out brilliantly, however by some means we join extra typically than we don’t,” he added.
He was the host of the prime-time recreation present, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” briefly tv’s hottest present on the flip of the century. ABC aired the family-friendly program as typically as 5 occasions every week. It generated round $1 billion in income in its first two years — ABC had mentioned it was the extra worthwhile present in TV historical past — and helped make Philbin himself a millionaire many occasions over.
Philbin’s query to contestants, “Is that your final answer?” grew to become a nationwide catchphrase. He was even a trend trendsetter; he put out a line of monochromatic shirts and ties to match what he wore on the set.
“You wait a lifetime for something like that and sometimes it never happens,” Philbin informed The AP in 1999.
After hustling into an leisure profession, Philbin logged greater than 15,000 hours on the air, incomes him recognition within the Guinness E-book of World Data for probably the most broadcast hours logged by a TV persona, a document beforehand held by Hugh Downs.
“Every day, you see the record shattered, pal!” Philbin would inform viewers. “One more hour!”
In 2008, he returned briefly to the quiz present format with “Million Dollar Password.” He additionally picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmys.
He was the kind of TV persona straightforward to make enjoyable of, and simple to like.
When his son Danny first met his future spouse, “we were talking about our families,” Danny informed USA In the present day. “I said, ‘You know that show Regis and Kathie Lee?’ And she said, ‘I hate that show.’ And I said, ‘That’s my dad.’”
But Philbin was a favourite of a youthful era’s ironic icon, David Letterman. When Letterman introduced that he needed to endure coronary heart surgical procedure, it was on the air to Philbin, who was additionally there for Letterman’s first day again after his restoration.
Letterman returned the favor, showing on Philbin’s present when he went again on the air in April 2007 after present process coronary heart bypass surgical procedure.
In a 2008 interview with The Related Press, Philbin mentioned he noticed “getting the best out of your guests” as “a specialty.”
“The time constraints imply you’ve acquired to get proper to the purpose, you’ve acquired to make it repay, go to industrial, begin once more. Play that clip. Say goodbye,” he mentioned.
The mild bickering and eye-rolling exasperation in Philbin and Gifford’s on-screen relationship have been acquainted to anybody in a long-lasting relationship.
“No arguments, no harsh words in all this time,” Philbin informed a theater viewers in 2000. “Well, there was the time I didn’t talk to her for two weeks. Didn’t want to interrupt her.”
Gifford left the present in 2000. After a tryout interval for a substitute, cleaning soap star Ripa, then finest identified for “All My Youngsters,” stuffed the slot.
The identical hustler who parked automobiles in Hollywood labored simply as laborious to land the job on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
“I begged my way on,” he informed Folks journal. “There was a short list, and I wasn’t on it. I called my agent, and we made a full assault on ABC in L.A.”
The viewers responded to Philbin’s heat, comedian contact within the position. He later jokingly referred to himself as the person who saved ABC. It wasn’t full hyperbole: ABC was struggling within the rankings earlier than the sport grew to become a smash success. Forbes reported that two-thirds of ABC’s working revenue in 2000 was as a consequence of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
“It’s better to be hot,” he informed the AP. “It’s fun. I know this business. I was perfectly content with my morning show. People would ask me, ‘What’s next?’ There is nothing next. There are no more mountains for me to climb. Believe me when I tell you, all I wanted when I started this show in 1961 was to be a success nationally.”
The prime-time recreation burned out shortly due to overuse and resulted in 2002.
Philbin loved a aspect profession as a singer that started when he sang “Pennies from Heaven” to Bing Crosby on Bishop’s present. He mentioned a document firm known as him the subsequent day, and he made an album.
Regardless that the collection “Regis Philbin’s Health Styles,” on Lifetime within the 1980s, was a part of his prolonged resume, Philbin had well being points. Docs carried out an angioplasty to alleviate a blocked artery in 1993. He underwent bypass surgical procedure in 2007 at age 75.
He is survived by his spouse, Pleasure, and their daughters J.J. and Joanna Philbin, in addition to his daughter Amy Philbin along with his first spouse, Catherine Faylen, in line with Folks.
The Related Press contributed to this report.