NEW YORK — Regis Philbin, the genial host who shared his life with tv viewers over morning espresso for many years and helped himself and a few followers strike it wealthy with the sport present “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” has died at 88.
Philbin died of pure causes Friday evening, simply over a month earlier than his 89th birthday, in keeping with an announcement from his household supplied by supervisor Lewis Kay.
Celebrities routinely stopped by Philbin’s eponymous syndicated morning present, however its coronary heart was within the first 15 minutes, when he and co-host Kathie Lee Gifford — on “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” from 1985-2000 — or Kelly Ripa — on “Live! with Regis and Kelly” from 2001 till his 2011 retirement — bantered concerning the occasions of the day. Viewers laughed at Philbin’s mock indignation over not getting one of the best seat at a restaurant the evening earlier than, or being henpecked by his accomplice.
“Even I have a little trepidation,” he instructed The Related Press in 2008, when requested how he does a present day by day. “You wake up in the morning and you say, ‘What did I do last night that I can talk about? What’s new in the paper? How are we gonna fill that 20 minutes?’”
“I’m not gonna say it always works out brilliantly, but somehow we connect more often than we don’t,” he added.
After hustling into an leisure profession by parking automobiles at a Los Angeles TV station, Philbin logged greater than 15,000 hours on the air, incomes him recognition within the Guinness Ebook of World Data for probably the most broadcast hours logged by a TV character, a file beforehand held by Hugh Downs.
“Every day, you see the record shattered, pal!” Philbin would inform viewers. “One more hour!”
He was host of the prime-time recreation present, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” briefly tv’s hottest present on the flip of the century. ABC aired the family-friendly program as typically as 5 instances every week. It generated round $1 billion in income in its first two years — ABC had stated it was the extra worthwhile present in TV historical past — and helped make Philbin himself a millionaire many instances over.
Philbin’s query to contestants, “Is that your final answer?” grew to become a nationwide catchphrase. Philbin was even a style trendsetter; he put out a line of monochramactic shirts and ties to match what he wore on the set.
“You wait a lifetime for something like that and sometimes it never happens,” Philbin instructed the AP in 1999.
In 2008, he returned briefly to the quiz present format with “Million Dollar Password.” He additionally picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award from the daytime Emmys.
He was the kind of TV character simple to make enjoyable of, and simple to like.
When his son Danny first met his future spouse, “we were talking about our families,” Danny instructed USA At the moment. “I said, ‘You know that show Regis and Kathie Lee?’ And she said, ‘I hate that show.’ And I said, ‘That’s my dad.’”
But Philbin was a favourite of a youthful technology’s ironic icon, David Letterman. When Letterman introduced that he needed to bear coronary heart surgical procedure, it was on the air to Philbin, who was additionally there for Letterman’s first day again after his restoration.
Letterman returned the favor, showing on Philbin’s present when he went again on the air in April 2007 after present process coronary heart bypass surgical procedure.
Within the 2008 AP interview, Philbin stated he noticed “getting the best out of your guests” as “a specialty. … The time constraints mean you’ve got to get right to the point, you’ve got to make it pay off, go to commercial, start again. Play that clip. Say goodbye.” He gave his desktop a decisive rap.
“And make it all conversational.”
Regis Francis Xavier Philbin grew up within the New York borough of the Bronx, the son of Italian-Irish mother and father and named for the Roman Catholic boys highschool his dad attended. He went to Notre Dame College, and was such an enthusiastic alum, he as soon as stated he needed his ashes scattered there.
After leaving the Navy in 1955, Philbin talked his method into a gathering with the stationmaster at KCOP-TV in Los Angeles. He obtained a job parking automobiles, then progressed into work as a stagehand, courier, newswriter and producer of a sports activities telecast. When its sportscaster didn’t present up in the future, Philbin crammed in.
Philbin obtained much more on-air expertise in San Diego within the early 1960s, when KOGO-TV started producing “The Regis Philbin Show” for a nationwide viewers. This system of music and superstar interviews was taped two weeks earlier than every airing. It was canceled after 4 months.
In 1967, Philbin was employed because the announcer and sidekick to comedian Joey Bishop on his community present. When he heard that he was going to be fired due to poor scores, Philbin tearfully introduced he was leaving on July 12, 1968, strolling off throughout a dwell broadcast. He returned three days later after letters of help poured in.
He and Bishop had dangerous blood: Bishop known as Philbin an “ingrate” for strolling off throughout a wage dispute and later badmouthing him.
Philbin’s second spouse, Pleasure, was Bishop’s assistant.
After three years of commuting to St. Louis every week for a neighborhood Saturday evening present, Philbin grew to become a star in native morning tv — first in Los Angeles, then in New York. In 1985, he teamed with Kathie Lee Johnson, a 12 months earlier than she married former soccer star Frank Gifford, and the present went nationwide in 1988.
Philbin’s “sarcastic playfulness” endears him to followers, Good Housekeeping journal wrote in 2000.
“He’s the little guy protesting the injustices of life, from crime waves to paper cuts,” the journal wrote. “The ranting is punctuated with Kathie Lee’s familiar cry of ‘Oh, Reege,’ uttered sometimes in sisterly sympathy and sometimes in teacherly admonishment.”
The mild bickering and eye-rolling exasperation in Philbin and Gifford’s onscreen relationship was acquainted to anybody in a long-lasting relationship.
“No arguments, no harsh words in all this time,” Philbin instructed a theater viewers in 2000. “Well, there was the time I didn’t talk to her for two weeks. Didn’t want to interrupt her.”
Gifford left the present in 2000. After a tryout interval for a substitute, cleaning soap star Ripa (“All My Children”) crammed the slot.
The identical hustler who parked automobiles in Hollywood labored simply as exhausting to land the job on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
“I begged my way on,” he instructed Individuals journal. “There was a short list, and I wasn’t on it. I called my agent, and we made a full assault on ABC in L.A.”
The viewers responded to Philbin’s heat, comedian contact within the position. He later jokingly referred to himself as the person who saved ABC. It wasn’t full hyperbole: ABC was struggling within the scores earlier than the sport grew to become a smash success. Forbes reported that two-thirds of ABC’s working revenue in 2000 was because of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”
Philbin appeared to like each minute of it. Even the final word arbiter of hip, the MTV Video Awards, requested him to make an look.
“It’s better to be hot,” he instructed the AP. “It’s fun. I know this business. I was perfectly content with my morning show. People would ask me, ‘What’s next?’ There is nothing next. There are no more mountains for me to climb. Believe me when I tell you, all I wanted when I started this show in 1961 was to be a success nationally.”
The prime-time recreation burned out rapidly due to overuse and led to 2002.
Philbin loved a aspect profession as a singer that started when he sang “Pennies from Heaven” to Bing Crosby on Bishop’s present. He stated a file firm known as him the subsequent day, and he made an album.
Though the collection “Regis Philbin’s Health Styles,” on Lifetime within the 1980s, was a part of his prolonged resume, Philbin had well being points. Docs carried out an angioplasty to alleviate a blocked artery in 1993. He underwent bypass surgical procedure in 2007 at age 75.
He’s survived by his spouse, Pleasure, and their daughters J.J. and Joanna Philbin, in addition to his daughter Amy Philbin together with his first spouse, Catherine Faylen, in keeping with Individuals.