Regis Philbin Dies: Legendary TV Host Was 88

Regis Philbin (Handout Photo)

Regis Philbin, a legendary broadcaster who started in local television and rose to national prominence, died July 24, his family said in a statement. He was 88.

“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,” the family said Saturday. “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 was best known to TV audiences for hosting the daytime talk shows, Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee and Live! With Regis and Kelly, as well as the game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?

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Born in The Bronx, New York on August 25, 1931, Philbin graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in sociology in 1953. He served in the U.S. Navy, and later pursued a career in broadcast.

Early on, Philbin landed an entry level job as a page at The Tonight Show. He would eventually work as an announcer on The Tonight Show in 1962. He also served as a co-host of the KABC morning show A.M. Los Angeles from 1975-81; at KCOP-TV in Los Angeles in the 1950s; and hosted The Regis Philbin Show on local TV in San Diego.

Philbin rose to national stardom after returning to New York.

He hosted Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee from 1988-2000 and Live! with Regis and Kelly from 2001 until his retirement in 2011. He also hosted the mega-hit Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

His former co-host Kelly Ripa paid tribute to Philbin Saturday, with a statement from herself and current Live! co-host Ryan Seacrest on Instagram.

“We are beyond saddened to learn about the loss of Regis Philbin,” Ripa wrote. “He was the ultimate class act, bringing his laughter and joy into our homes everyday on Live for more than 23 years. We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire everyday to fill his shoes on the show. We send our deepest love and condolences to his family and hope they can find some comfort in knowing he left the world a better place.”

Tamron Hall also remembered Philbin on social media.

“Legendary, no one has brought more warmth and joy to daytime/morning tv. No one!! Thank you, #regisphilbin, rest in peace,” Hall posted on Instagram.

“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,”  added late-night host Jimmy Kimmel on Twitter. “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.”

Philbin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.

He was married twice and is survived by his wife Joy and their daughters J.J. and Joanna Philbin, as well as his daughter Amy Philbin with first wife Catherine Faylen, according to People. Philbin and Faylen had another child, son Daniel Philbin, who died in 2014.