Legendary TV host Regis Philbin has died. “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 shared in a statement to People Saturday morning. “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 became a national star when his morning show Live! With Regis And Kathie Lee launched in 1988. He hosted the program with Kathie Lee Gifford for fifteen years before welcoming new co-host Kelly Ripa in 2001. Philbin became a primetime star when he launched Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, serving as host of the game show from 1999 to 2002. (He returned for various specials and episodes of the syndicated version over the years, most recently appearing as the host of the show on a 2019 episode of Fresh Off The Boat.) Philbin’s other hosting credits include Million Dollar Password, the first season of America’s Got Talent, and a recurring co-host position on Rachael Ray.
The A.V. Club interviewed Philbin in April when he guest starred on the ABC sitcom Single Parents, which was co-created by his daughter, JJ Philbin. The TV personality said the opportunity came together in “about twenty minutes. JJ called me and next thing I knew I was on set. She’s lucky I was available!” As for working with his daughter: “It was very exciting. And I could tell she enjoyed bossing me around. Maybe a little too much!”
April 15 was a Regis Philbin night of sorts for ABC. After his episode of Single Parents, the network aired the second episode of the new, Jimmy Kimmel-hosted celebrity edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? “I watched the first episode and thought Jimmy did a great job,” Regis told The A.V. Club of the new version, which has been picked up for a second season. “He was the perfect choice to host. Although he would have looked better if he wore one of my old ties. Remember those? God I looked sharp!”
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Per People, Philbin is survived by daughters JJ and Joanna Philbin, whom he shared with his wife of 50 years, Joy. 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.