Regis Philbin: A Look Back on His Life and Career

Regis Philbin died on July 24, 2020. Here’s a look at Philbin’s death, life, and career.

Regis Philbin’s death

Regis Philbin | Allen Berezovsky/WireImage
Regis Philbin | Allen Berezovsky/WireImage

Regis Philbin died at the age of 88, just one month before his 89th birthday. “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,” wrote his family in a statement for People magazine.

Philbin’s family goes on to thank his fans and friends for supporting him during his career. “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.”

Regis Philbin’s TV appearances

One of Philbin’s early TV appearances was as the guest host of The Tonight Show in 1962. In 1964, Philbin was the co-host of The Mike Douglas Show for six episodes. That same year, Philbin began hosting his own show, titled The Regis Philbin Show. He remained the host until 1965. His other hosting appearances include Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Million Dollar Password, America’s Got Talent, and Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee.

Regis Philbin’s acting career

Philbin has a long acting career. He made his television acting debut in a 1968 episode of Cowboy in Africa titled “African Rodeo: Part 2.” The same year, he appeared in an episode of The Danny Thomas Hour.

Philbin made his film debut in the 1972 movie Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask. In 1977, he appeared in the film Sextette. Philbin’s other acting roles include appearances in Fantasy Island, Spin City, Fresh Off the Boat, and Hot in Cleveland.

How Regis Philbin felt about moving on from ‘Live! With Regis and Kelly’

Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa | Bobby Bank/WireImage
Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa | Bobby Bank/WireImage

Philbin left Live! With Regis and Kelly on November 28, 2011. Philbin says he learned a lot about himself during his time on the air. He said his TV days proved he could accomplish much more than he thought. “Maybe it’s time for a change,” he said in his 2011 book How I Got This Way. I’ve spent nearly 17,000 hours in front of a TV camera. That’s a record in our business. And now that I think of it, it was exciting. It was fun. It was more than I ever thought I would accomplish.”

Kathie Lee Gifford’s farewell

Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford | Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford | Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Philbin’s longtime co-host, Kathie Lee Gifford, took a moment to say goodbye. She posted a heartfelt tribute on Instagram:

There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift. We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly—a tradition and a friendship we shared up to this very day.

I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he’s making someone laugh. It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace. I send all the love in my heart to Joy, to his children, to the rest of his family and to the innumerable people he touched over his legendary life. There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.

Kathie Lee Gifford on Instagram

Read more: Kelly Preston: A Look Back at Her Life and Career

Follow Sheiresa @SheiresaNgo