One of the most loved New Yorkers of all time passed away last night. It was just announced that on the evening of July 24th 2020, Regis Philbin died of natural causes at the age of 88. Regis Philbin had enjoyed a long show business career dating back to the early 1960s. His most successful foray into television was his morning television show that aired for twenty three straight years from 1988 to 2011. The show’s initial run had Regis Philbin teamed up with Kathie Lee Gifford as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. That pairing lasted from 1988 to 2000.
From 2000 to 2002. Regis utilized various guest hosts including some very big names such as Rosie O’Donnell, and Whoopi Goldberg until it was announced that Kelly Ripa would become Kathie Lee Gifford’s permanent replacement. Regis Philbin continued his long morning run with Kelly Ripa on the Live! with Regis and Kellyshow. That lineup lasted ten years from 2001 to 2011. Regis Philbin departed the show on November 18, 2011. New Yorkers loved the show because Regis Philbin talked and acted like an old school New Yorker. His openings every morning were usually filled with personal and funny stories about his daily life. You felt like you were listing to your neighbor. That was his appeal.
While Regis Philbin’s most successful years in show business were showcased by his time as New York’s morning personality, the man had begun his television career as an announcer on The Tonight Show in 1962. Regis Philbin would score his first show in 1964 when he hosted That Regis Philbin Show from 1964 to 1965. He would soon start to become more of a household name when he became Joey Bishops’ sidekick on the The Joey Bishop Show from 1967 to 1969. Regis Philbin would come to define the term working actor which would eventually be turned into being called the hardest working man in show business. In fact, Regis Philbin holds the record for logging in more hours in television in the United States than any other performer
Many of Regis Philbin’s hours he logged in on television were not just spent as a talk show host . Regis Philbin also appeared in multiple roles in various sitcoms and television specials. His television appearances included roles and guest spots on such celebrated shows as The Big Valley, Get Smart, That Girl, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, Love American Style, Chips, The Jimmy Stewart Show, Fantasy Island, Mad About You, The Larry Sanders Show, Seinfeld, Spin City and so many more.
Regis Philbin was not only the hardest working man in show business, he was also one of the most loved. He was not just so incredibly endearing to his television audiences but also to Hollywood. So many directors loved putting him in their films to simply play himself. Regis Phibin appeared in films playing simply Regis Philbin in such classics as Woody Allen’s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), Blake Edwards’ The Man Who Loved Women, Leonard Nimoy’s Funny Abut Love, The Robert DeNiro Jessica Lange film Night In The City, plus other films such as Dudley Do-Right, Little Nicky, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Break Up Artist, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, and many more. His final film appearance occurred in Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill
Regis Philbin was also incredibly successful as a game show host. While first dabbling in the genre in the mid 1970s as a game show host on the ABC show The Neighbors, Regis Philbin would find incredible success as the first game show host in the huge ratings draw television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. In 2001 Regis Philbin would receive a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host for his work as the guest host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He would be brought back a second time to host the show when it returned as Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire.
Regis Philbin was born in the Bronx in 1931. He had a true Bronx upraising as he attended Our Lady of Solace up until the eight grade. He attended Cardinal Hayes High School also in the Bronx. Regis Philbin would attend the University of Notre Dame where he received a degree in socially in 1953. After college Regis Philbin served time in the United States Navy.
It would tough to hear of the passing of Regis Philbin. While he was loved all around the United States, I think its fair to say that he was extra loved in New York. Regis Phibin defined New York in his stories just like most New Yorkers. It was always great to hear him yelling at his producer Michael Gelman. “Hey Gelman what do you think of that?” was a common phrase we would hear all the time. So many people who lived in the city had stories about meeting Regis. They were all good. Farewell Regis, New York just lost a great one.