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Obituaries

Television Host Regis Philbin Dies at 88

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BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that Regis Philbin, legendary television host, has died at age 88. People reports that his death was of natural causes.

Regis Philbin has had one of the most successful and long careers as a game-and-talk-show host who, after graduating from his beloved University of Notre Dame and a stint in the Navy, began his television career as an announcer on 'The Tonight Show,' a talk-show in San Diego and in 1967 as Joey Bishop's sidekick on 'The Joey Bishop Show.'

Philbin was host of the popular 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire,' 'Million Dollar Password,' and was a judge on the first season of 'America's Got Talent.' He hosted the daytime talk show 'Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee' and later with Kelly Ripa which he hosted for almost 28 years.

In 2004, he set a Guinness World Record for most on-camera hours of 15,188 for that year.

On December 31, 2004, Philbin filled in for Dick Clark on ABC's Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, as Clark was recovering from a stroke. He also hosted the 37th Daytime Emmy Awards on June 27, 2010.

Regis worked from coast to coast including Los Angeles, St Louis and New York until he retired from 'Live! With Regis and Kelly' in 2011.

Philbin was also an author and singer. He has released two autobiographies (with co-author Bill Zehme), I'm Only One Man! (1995) and Who Wants To Be Me? (2000).

The Academy paid tribute to Philbin on Twitter, stating "Regis Philbin epitomized the word 'icon.' ...he was a dear friend, colleague, and champion of our daytime community. We will miss him."

In addition read some messages from celebrities who paid tribute to Philbin below:

I'm heartbroken to hear of the death of Regis Philbin. Regis has been part of the entertainment culture for so long, it's hard to remember when he wasn't there! Always fun, with a kind word and a joy to be interviewed by, or just to hang out with. A wonderful guy who made everything fun, he will be sorely missed! #RIPREGIS
- Morgan Fairchild


Regis was a cyclone of energy. He gave the impression that he was completely impromptu and unbridled, but he was always in control, knew everything that was going on, and made you feel completely safe as a guest.
- Sam Harris


I had the great honor and pleasure of working with Regis cohosting and then being a guest on his morning show. He was smart, witty, available, kind, and razor sharp. At the same time he welcomed me and made me feel safe, he empowered me. What a great loss!
- Dee Wallace


A pure original, and one of the few celebrities in history where everyone knew who was being referred to just from their first name. RIP Regis!
- Bob Bergen


I was interviewed by Regis several times over the years, the first being on AM Los Angeles with Sarah Purcell. I was about 15 and I brought my pet snake. Regis made a great show of being terrified of it, while Sarah showed no concern at all! He was always very nice to me, charming and funny.
- Alison Arngrim


We will miss you, Regis. We will miss your humor and your class. You added much to the small screen and to our memories.
- Loretta Swit


What you saw was what you got with Regis. I think that is why he was so effective as a broadcaster. There was no pretense or artifice to him.
- Leonard Maltin


Honored with @DaytimeEmmys for Talk Show Host, Game Show Host, and Lifetime Achievement, Regis Philbin epitomized the word "Icon." He was a dear friend, colleague, and champion of our daytime community. We will miss him. #RIP
- Adam Sharp (President/CEO NATAS)


Regis was a true gentle-man underneath the bravado, and a real âœroonerâ at heart who loved great music. He was inherently kind and often had me as the musical guest on his shows which gave my career a tremendous boost. Iâ™l always be grateful.
- Michael Feinstein


I did 2 1/2hrs....every day on "Tempo" an interview and call in show for KHJ with a sister station in NYC. My 1st day he welcomed me with open arms as we had been good friends for some years. He and Joy attended my Wedding reception at the Playboy Mansion. For my opening show with him as his cohost, he slyly suggested I interview the 1st guest, a lady who was from a NY Org. that dealt with helping transsexuals before ,during, and after surgery. GULP!! This was the early 60s these subjects were not readily discussed. I was nervous as hell. Rege stood by and smiled his devilish smirk. I'm heartsick that he left the now beautiful life he worked sooo hard for. Peace my friend PEACE
- Ruta Lee


Regis was a sweet and dear man. I'd been a guest on his show quite a few times over the years. The last time I saw him he and his lovely wife came to see me opening night at Feinstein's when it was still at the Regency. He was richly deserving of all the love his fans bestowed upon him.
- Melissa Manchester


From the moment he showed up at our front door to do a local interview in the 80s . . . to NYC with Regis & Kathy Lee in HIS 80s . . . he showed the same boyish, infectious energy and love of what he was doing. Heads up, God. He;s coming to interview YOU!"
- Joan Van Ark


One of my first interviews after Happy Days went on the air was with Regis when he was hosting the local ABC morning show. I was nervous. Regis came into the make up room to introduce himself. He went out of his way to make me feel important and confident. Regis was incredibly talented, but his heart was even bigger.
- Anson Williams


Everyone loved him, many were lucky enough to work with him, but no matter who sat next to Regis, they all felt the magic. I know I did! He knew how to play a moment, to steal a scene and to max out a laugh. As long as Reg was on the air, all was right with the world! He had a unique career where kindness mattered and he never failed to offer support to a colleague, friend or fan. There will never be another one like Regis!
- Leeza Gibbons


Regis Philbin felt like a member of my family. I met him many times over the years; but watched him every day on television for most of my life. I am sad in a way that I cant even explain. My thoughts are with Joy and their beautiful children.
- Erin Murphy


A very sweet man and a real pro.
- Barry Livingston


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