Television Host Regis Philbin Dead at 88

(ABC/Mitch Haaseth) REGIS PHILBIN
(ABC/Mitch Haaseth) REGIS PHILBIN

The longtime television host, Regis Philbin, has died at 88.

“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,” his family shared with People magazine on Saturday (July 25).

The Philbin family statement continued: “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. We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss.”

In 1988, Philbin began his long stint as host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee alongside Kathie Lee Gifford. After 15 years, Kathie Lee left the ABC show but the pair remained close after her departure.

In 2001, the franchise became Live! with Regis and Kelly, co-starring Kelly Ripa before he left in 2011 after 23 years on-air. He was replaced by former football player Michael Strahan, who later departed for Good Morning America and was replaced by American Idol host Ryan Seacrest in 2017.

Regis also served as the original host of the popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? from 1999 to 2002. In addition, the New York City native’s hosting credits include Million Dollar Password, the first season of Simon Cowell’s  America’s Got Talent, as well as a recurring co-host seat on Rachael Ray.

Regis got his start in television in the 1960s. He was the announcer on the Tonight show in 1962. His first talk show was the Regis Philbin Show on KOGO-TV in San Diego. In 1967, he served as Joey Bishop’s sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show. In the late 70’s he co-hosted A.M. Los Angeles on KABC TV.

While co-host of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, he introduced a ton of American Idol contestants, who would come on to the show to perform after leaving the show. He also hosted America’s Got Talent season 1, the year that kid singer Bianca Ryan took the crown. In 2004, he also filled in for Dick Clark on ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, as Clark was recovering from a stroke.

A show biz legend, watch Regis sing “No Business Like Show Business” with a bunch of AGT joke acts, and a bevy of pink plumed showgirls dancing behind him.

UPDATE: Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest released a joint statement. While Regis and Kathie Lee remained close, Kelly and Regis didn’t part on good terms, so I’m not surprised the statement is joint, and rather generic.

We are beyond saddened to learn about the loss of Regis Philbin. He was the ultimate class act, bringing his laughter and joy into our homes every day on Live for more than 23 years. We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire every day to fill his shoes on the show. We send our deepest love and condolences to his family and hope they can find some comfort in knowing he left the world a better place.

About mj santilli 30656 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!