Regis Philbin, Legendary Television Host, Dies at 88
"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," the Philbin family shares with PEOPLE in an exclusive statement
Regis Philbin has died. The beloved star was 88.
The longtime television host died on July 24, PEOPLE confirms. "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 shares with PEOPLE in an exclusive statement on Saturday.
"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," the Philbin family says.
In 2001, the franchise became Live! with Regis and Kelly, co-starring Kelly Ripa before he left in 2011 after 23 years on-air. (He was replaced by former football player Michael Strahan, who later departed for Good Morning America and was replaced by Ryan Seacrest in 2017.)
Philbin also served as the original host of the widely popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? from 1999 to 2002. In addition, the New York City native's hosting credits include Million Dollar Password, the first season of America’s Got Talent, as well as a reoccurring co-host seat on Rachael Ray.
Born on August 25, 1931, Philbin was raised in the Bronx and graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School in 1949 before attending the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a sociology degree in 1953.
After serving in the Navy, Philbin began his career in show business as a writer and made his way in front of the camera in 1961 with a local talk show in San Diego called The Regis Philbin Show. Then in 1967, he became widely known as Joey Bishop's sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show.
After a string of local talk shows, including A.M. Los Angeles and Regis Philbin's Saturday Night in St. Louis, he moved to New York in 1983 to host The Morning Show, which was renamed three years later as Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee.
Philbin's accolades include Daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding talk show host for Live! in 2001 and 2011 as well as outstanding game show host for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. He also received a Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2008.
Throughout his career, Philbin had various health issues. He underwent an angioplasty in 1993, followed by triple bypass surgery due to plaque in his arteries in March 2007. In December 2009, the television personality had his hip replaced.
Philbin, who was married twice, is survived by daughters J.J. Philbin and Joanna Philbin, whom he shared with his wife of 50 years, Joy Philbin. He was also father to daughter Amy Philbin, whom he shared with his first wife Catherine Faylen. Philbin and Faylen had another child, son Daniel Philbin, who died in 2014.
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