‘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.”
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.”
Saddened to hear about the passing of Regis Philbin. Condolences to his wife Joy. 😞
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 25, 2020
Regis was a great broadcaster, a good friend and a tremendous amount of fun. He leaves behind a beautiful family and a TV legacy that will likely go unmatched. Regis, I hope our friend Rickles met you at the pearly gates with open arms and a slew of the insults you loved so much
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) July 25, 2020
Bob Saget also took to Twitter to recall the first time he met Philbin, in 1985.
What a loss- The wonderful Regis Philbin. I met him in 1985 when I was on the “Rodney Dangerfield Young Comedians Special” and we loved each other ever since. Such a TV icon and above all, a good man. My sympathies to Joy and all of his children and friends.
— bob saget (@bobsaget) July 25, 2020
And the tributes didn’t end there:
Heartbroken. We will miss you regis 💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/kB8oag8BFO
— Hoda Kotb (@hodakotb) July 25, 2020
Regis was a legendary figure in TV. There was no one like him. I used to love watching him. He was always up, always genuine, always real. God bless, Regis. #ripregis #RegisPhilbin https://t.co/mJyWwT9FJ4
— Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) July 25, 2020
RIP REGIS!!! A real icon. Nothing will ever top Regis and @KathieLGifford as a morning show. Nothing!
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) July 25, 2020
Another highlight of my career was co-hosting with Regis on Live It was a once in a lifetime moment to sit beside the king of improv tv. He was funny and gracious and warm. Love to Joy and his family. #RIPREGIS pic.twitter.com/gDrdH4o2aY
— Jillian Barberie (@askjillian) July 25, 2020
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.
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.
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.