Regis Philbin has passed away. He was 88-years old. The beloved TV personality entertained viewers for decades and for many, he was considered to be part of the family. Philbin appeared all over the place from talk shows to game shows and everything in between over the years, once dubbed, "the hardest working man in showbiz," which was not an understatement and not a challenge to James Brown. It is believed that Philbin passed away from natural causes. His family released a statement, which you can read below.
"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."
Regis Philbin holds the Guinness World Record for the most hours on United States television. He was loved for his rather excited manner, his New York accent, his wit, and his ad-libs, which sometimes got him into good-natured trouble over the years. Philbin debuted and hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Million Dollar Password, and the inaugural season of America's Got Talent. However, his career started well before then.
After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, Regis Philbin served in the Navy and then went on to his television start by getting his foot in the door as a page for The Tonight Show in the 1950s. After some time paying his dues, Philbin appeared as Joey Bishop's sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show in 1967, though before that he had held numerous jobs, including The Tonight Show announcer.
From 1975 to 1981, Regis Philbin co-hosted A.M. Los Angeles, a local morning talk show on KABC-TV, which went through a number of co-hosts over the years. Philbin went on to host The Morning Show in 1982, where he was joined by Kathy Lee Johnson (later to become Gifford) in 1985. The two had undeniable chemistry and remained together and formed Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, where they stayed for decades. Within 3 years of the show's debut, it was nationally syndicated.
Regis Philbin co-hosted the series well after Kathy Lee Gifford departed, leaving in 2011 when he was replaced by Michael Strahan. However, he was never too far away from morning, or nightly television, even until the later years of his life. Throughout his extensive career, Philbin had various well publicized health problems. He underwent an angioplasty in 1993, followed by triple bypass surgery due to plaque in his arteries in March 2007. In December 2009, he had his hip replaced. Despite some health setbacks, Philbin was always upbeat and positive. May he rest in peace. The first to report on the death of Regis Philbin was TMZ.