'We Mourn His Loss': Regis Philbin Dies at 88

The legendary host of 'Live!' and 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' had a special sense of humor
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2020 3:30 PM CDT
'We Mourn His Loss': Regis Philbin Dies at 88
In this July 28, 2000 file photo, Kathie Lee Gifford and co-host Regis Philbin reminisce during her last appearance on the show, in New York.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

One of America's most beloved TV hosts is gone. Regis Philbin, best known for the morning show Live! and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, died of natural causes Friday at the age of 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," his family tells People. "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 TV icon made his mark in 1988 with Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee alongside Kathie Lee Gifford, which morphed into Live! with Regis and Kelly in 2001 after Gifford left the show and Philbin was joined by Kelly Ripa.

Philbin was also the first host of the hugely popular Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? game show from 1999 to 2002. Born in 1931 in the Bronx, he began his show-biz career with local talk shows and in 1983 kicked off The Morning Show, which later became the nationally syndicated Live! show with Gifford, per Variety. Philbin modeled himself on talk show host Jack Paar: "I told stories of what had happened in my life during the week, all very similar to the kind of stuff Jack was doing night after night," he wrote in his 2011 book How I Got This Way. "I've never stopped doing it that way." He also appeared on TV shows including Seinfeld, 30 Rock, and the Larry Sanders Show. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Joy Philbin, and their two daughters.

(Read more obituary stories.)

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