Beloved TV Host Regis Philbin Dies At 88

by Kristine Cannon
Regis Philbin
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‘His family and friends are forever grateful for the time we got to spend with him,’ Philbin’s family said in a statement

Beloved, longtime TV host Regis Philbin has died. He was 88.

According to People, Philbin died of natural causes on July 24, just one month away from his 89th birthday. His family shared a statement exclusively with the publication on Saturday, saying in part that they are “deeply saddened.”

“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,” Philbin’s family says.

Philbin is survived by his wife of 50 years, Joy Philbin, and their two daughters, J.J. Philbin and Joanna Philbin. He was also father to daughter Amy Philbin, whom he shared with his first wife, Catherine Faylen. Philbin and Faylen also had a son, Daniel Philbin, who died in 2014.

“There’s just something about Regis,” Joy told Parade in 2011. “There’s always something new on the horizon and it keeps our lives active and fun. I’d rather be with Regis than any other person in the world.”

Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for Mohegan Sun

Dimitrios Kambouris

Philbin’s many friends took to Twitter to pay tribute to the charming, effervescent TV personality. William Shatner wrote that he was “saddened” to hear of Philbin’s passing, and Jimmy Kimmel described Philbin as a “great broadcaster, a good friend, and a tremendous amount of fun.”

Bob Saget also took to Twitter to recall the first time he met Philbin, in 1985.

And the tributes didn’t end there:

Philbin began his career working as an NBC page and got his first big break working as Joey Bishop’s sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show in the late 1960s. It wasn’t until 1985 that he’d land the role that’d turn him into a household name: host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee on ABC, where he would remain for a staggering 23 years. Kelly Ripa eventually took over for Kathie Lee Gifford in 2001; and when Philbin left, he was replaced with former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, followed by former American Idol host Ryan Seacrest in 2017.

J. Michael Dombroski/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Newsday RM via Getty Images

Of course, Philbin was also known for the three years he spent hosting popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, from 1999 to 2002. And throughout his 60-plus years in show business, Philbin was highly praised and awarded for his on-screen talents. He not only won Daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding talk show or Live! in 2001 and 2011, but he also received a Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003. Philbin was also presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2008.

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According to Guinness World Records, Philbin spent nearly 17,000 hours on television, and he was inducted into the Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2006.

Philbin, you will be missed.