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Larry King revealed that he and the late television icon were once pitched to star in a fresh take on the popular 1970's sitcom during a virtual chat with Extra's Billy Bush

By Nicholas Rice
July 28, 2020 09:28 AM
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The Odd Couple starring Regis Philbin and Larry King? It almost happened.

On Monday, King, 86, revealed that he and the late television icon, who died Friday at age 88, were once pitched to star in a fresh take of the popular 1970's television sitcom while speaking virtually with Extra's Billy Bush.

The Larry King Live host revealed that actor and director Robert Smigel pitched the show to the friends, sharing, "Robert Smigel, he came to meet Regis and I in New York, with an idea — it didn’t come off — in which Regis and I would live together at our ages, 80 and 82, in a version of The Odd Couple."

The ABC television series originally aired from 1970 to 1975 and starred  Tony Randall as Felix Unger and Jack Klugman as Oscar Madison, two divorcés with different lifestyles who shared a Manhattan apartment together.

Regis Philbin and Larry King
Regis Philbin and Larry King
| Credit: Mike Pont/WireImage

King then reflected on the death of his dear friend, calling him "the kindest, happiest, kind of funniest person" he knows. "I know no one who disliked him. No one," he added.

Philbin was a regular guest on King's show as the Emmy-winning host recalled, "We spent so much time together on and off the air."

"He was as good a guest as he was a host," King added. "We would sing songs back and forth together. It was just such fun to be with him. He was self-deprecating. Whenever he came on my show, he’d say, ‘Altoona, hello,’ making fun of my radio show."

He continued: "He lived a wonderful 88 years. I’m 86 years old — I’ll take another two. He had a wonderful wife, great daughters, he loved the city of New York, but nothing compared to his love of Notre Dame. There is no prouder place he would rather be than to spend eternity at Notre Dame."

"I’m going to miss him. I’m going to miss his jovialness. I’m going to miss his greeting. Anytime he saw me, ‘Altoona, hello,’ whenever he saw me, ‘Altoona, hello,’ lobbies of hotels, ‘Altoona, hello.’ He was a great man," he said.

Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin
| Credit: Mike Pont/WireImage

Following Philbin's death Friday, his family shared a statement on Saturday which read, "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," they added. "We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss."

RELATED VIDEO: Regis Philbin, Legendary Television Host, Dies at 88

King previously took to social media to pay his respects to the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? host, sharing a sweet photo with his old friend by his side.

Calling Philbin a "prolific talent," King praised the late star for his ability to "do it all," adding, "I will miss him every day." The talk show host also offered his condolences to Philbin's wife, Joy, as well as the rest of his family, daughters Joanna Philbin, Amy Philbin and comedy writer J.J. Philbin.