Regis Philbin Wiki – Biography
Regis Philbin was an American media personality, actor, and singer, known for hosting a talk and game shows since the 1960s. Sometimes called (alternatively attributed to James Brown) “the hardest working man in the show business”, Philbin holds the Guinness World Record for the most hours on US television. His trademarks include his excited manner, his New York accent, his wit, and his irreverent ad-libs.
After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, he served in the Navy and got his television to start serving as a page for The Tonight Show in the 1950s. Philbin gained his first network TV exposure in 1967 as Joey Bishop’s sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show. Philbin is most widely known as the host of the New York City-based nationally syndicated talk show Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee starting in 1988, which became Life! with Regis and Kelly starting in 2001, and continued on with former football player Michael Strahan after Philbin’s departure in 2011.
Philbin attended Our Lady of Solace grammar school in the Bronx and graduated from Cardinal Hayes High Schoo in the Bronx in 1949 before attending the University of Notre Dame, from which he graduated in 1953 with a sociology degree. He later served in the United States Navy as a supply officer, then went through a few behind-the-scenes jobs in television and radio before moving into the broadcasting arena.
In his earliest show business work, Philbin was a page at The Tonight Show in 1955. Later he wrote for Los Angeles-based talk show host Tom Duggan and nervously filled in one night when the hard-drinking Duggan didn’t show up. He also was an announcer on The Tonight Show in 1962. In 1957, Regis left his job as assistant news editor to Baxter Ward at KCOP, Los Angeles to make his fortune in New York. His replacement at KCOP was George Van Valkenburg.
His first talk show was The Regis Philbin Show on KOGO-TV (now KGTV) in San Diego. For financial reasons, he had no writing staff, so he began each show with what has become his hallmark, the “host chat” segment (influenced by Jack Paar), where he engaged his audience (and later his co-host) in discussions about his life and the day’s events. In 1964, Westinghouse Broadcasting picked up Philbin’s talk show for national syndication in the late-night time slot (replacing Steve Allen). The show failed to attract many stations and Westinghouse replaced Philbin with Merv Griffin.
In 1964, Philbin took over the show that replaced The Steve Allen Show when Steve Allen left the show. The audience did not accept Philbin as a replacement for Allen’s zany antics and the appearance lasted only a little over four months because of dismal ratings. Johnny Carson was too strong in the ratings for the same time slot. According to Philbin, Carson was his inspiration (PBS, 2008, Pioneers of Television).
Philbin was also a game show host. He hosted The Neighbors, a short-lived game show on ABC from late 1975 to early 1976. The show had two female contestants guessing which of her three women neighbors said gossipy things about her. In 1976, he was a “field reporter” for ABC’s Almost Anything Goes, an American adaptation of the British game show, It’s a Knockout. Both shows suffered from poor ratings.
Regis Philbin Age
Regis Philbin was 88 years old. He was born on August 25, 1931, in The Bronx, New York, United States.
Philbin was married twice and had four children. He was married to Catherine “Kay” Faylen, daughter of actor Frank Faylen, from 1955 to 1968, and they had a daughter, Amy, and a son, Daniel. He had been married to interior decorator Joy Senese since 1970 and they had Joanna, and Jennifer “J. J.”
In April 2018, Philbin shared with Closer Weekly that he had dealt with years of cholesterol and heart issues, but he had gotten those issues under control since his triple bypass surgery in 2007. He told Closer: “Before my first surgery, I wasn’t very disciplined when it came to my diet, but that all changed when I had my first heart scare and my doctor discovered my high cholesterol. I knew I had to make some pretty major lifestyle changes right away, including giving up the cheeseburgers and oatmeal raisin cookies that I loved so much.”
In an interview with AOL in 2018, Philbin said that he saw his doctor frequently after his heart scare and had to change statins once because of the side effects. He said he was a big believer in statins, but it was important to find the right one.
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He told AOL: “I was shocked to learn that at least 50 percent of people who start a statin quit taking it within the first year. This was a great surprise to me as statins have helped me to enjoy life without the worry of having high cholesterol. I urge everyone to talk to their doctor before they stop their statin and find the one that’s right for them. It has really made all the difference for me.”
At the time, he said he was adding more exercises to his routine, and he was sticking to mostly chicken and vegetables for his weekly dinners to stay healthy.
Cause of Death
Regis Philbin’s cause of death was natural causes, according to a statement from his family. His family did not mention coronavirus in their statement and there’s no reason to believe that COVID-19 played any factor in his death.
Philbin died at the age of 88, just one month before his 89th birthday, People reported. In a statement to People, his family said:
“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. 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 hadn’t made many TV appearances in recent years. But in March 2019 at the age of 87, he made a public appearance and looked fit and healthy at the time, Closer Weekly reported. He told Closer that his health was great and that, in his retirement, he was taking statin medication daily, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly. He said that by staying healthy, he could travel between New York and California and spend time with his children.
Regis Philbin’s net worth is unclear.