TV Icon Regis Philbin Is Dead At 88

Regis Philbin

Regis Philbin, the legendary talk show host became a staple of daytime television through ABC, has passed away. The TV icon reportedly passed away of natural causes. He was 88 at the time of his passing and was only a month shy of his 89th birthday.

Regis Philbin’s family confirmed the news of his death to People through a statement. In the message, the family expressed their memories of the late Philbin and thanked his fans for supporting him over his lengthy career:

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 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.

Born on August 25, 1931, Regis Philbin was born and raised in the Bronx. He would eventually attend the University of Notre Dame where he would earn a degree in sociology in 1953. From there, he would serve a stint in the Navy.

After the Navy, he worked as a page on The Tonight Show and would also serve as an announcer on the program in 1962. Philbin would eventually headline a self-titled in San Diego before joining The Joey Bishop Show as the host's on-air sidekick.

Philbin’s career would take him to different markets where he would serve as either a TV or radio host. However, his biggest break would come in 1985 when he was paired with Kathie Lee Johnson (eventually Gifford) for The Morning Show. By 1988, the show would become nationally syndicated and be titled Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee. During its run, the two would host would be jointly nominated for eight consecutive Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host from 1993 to 2000.

Gifford would eventually leave the program in 2000 and was replaced with Kelly Ripa in 2001, leading to the show being renamed Live! with Regis and Kelly. The two would forge a strong partnership that would last until Philbin departed the program in 2011. He would ultimately be replaced by former NFL player Michael Strahan.

Aside from his work as a talk show host, Regis Philbin also became a staple of primetime television as the original host of ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? which would become an instant hit for ABC.

Regis Philbin earned numerous awards over the course of his career, including a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host and a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host. He was also awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.

Regis Philbin is survived by his wife of 50 years, Joy Philbin and their two daughters, J.J. and Joanna Philbin. He is also survived by daughter Amy from his first marriage to Catherine Faylen.

We here at CinemaBlend extend our thoughts to the loved ones of Regis Philbin during this difficult time.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.