Jake’s Take Pays Tribute to Regis Philbin (1931 to 2020)

Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin passed away on July 24, 2020. One month before his birthday (Photo property of Getty Images’ Neilson Barnard)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It is a sad day in the entertainment industry as one of the greatest performers has passed away. Multiple media outlets, including Entertainment Tonight, People, and TMZ have confirmed that Regis Philbin passed away at 88-years-old, one month before the TV legend’s eighty-ninth birthday. The Philbin Family stated to People that he passed away from natural causes.

Early Starts: 

Regis Philbin has been in the public eye for over 60 years. He first started in San Diego back in 1961 for his solo show: The Regis Philbin Show.  Six years later, Regis found nationwide acclaim as being the on-air sidekick for Rat Pack member Joey Bishop. Mr. Philbin continued to work in television as a host for A.M Los Angeles from 1975 to 1981 and even traveled to St. Louis to anchor his weekend series: Regis Philbin’s Saturday Night in St. Louis. 

Regis’ ‘Live’ Legacy

However, Regis Philbin’s career was changed forever when he returned to New York City. He hosted the local talk show, The Morning Show, for WABC-TV, in 1983. On June 24, 1985, Regis welcomed Kathie Lee Johnson (later Gifford) to the show. Their chemistry helped their show’s ratings, and in 1988, the show went national under the new name: Live with Regis & Kathie Lee. 

Live with Regis & Kathie Lee changed the daytime television landscape. The duo’s lively segment, Host Chat, helped their viewers get to know the pair. They also had the usual cooking and DIY segments, plus had celebrity interviews and performances from world-renowned superstars. Sadly, Kathie Lee Gifford left the show on July 28, 2000. 

For most of the 2000-01 television season, Regis Philbin and the Live team searched for a new co-host. Eventually, they found a nearly perfect match in the form of Kelly Ripa. She became the official replacement on February 5, 2001. For ten years, the duo traveled across North America and welcomed massive superstars to the show. Sadly, Regis Philbin announced on January 18, 2011, that he would walk away from Live with Regis & Kelly.  After months of saying “Goodbye” with classic clips and surprise guests, Regis bid farewell on November 18, 2011.

TV legend Regis Philbin holds the record for the most appearances on “The Late Show with David Letterman” with over 150 appearances. (Photo property of CBS & Worldwide Productions, Inc.)

Prime Time

Regis Philbin’s legacy also included his time on prime time television. He brought massive ratings to the ABC Television Network from 1999 to 2002 as the first host of the prime-time edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Regis returned to the show for special editions in 2004 and 2009. Regis won an Emmy for his hosting duties in 2001.

Regis Philbin also stepped in for Dick Clark for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in 2004. He was also the inaugural host of America’s Got Talent in 2006. He also re-launched the Password franchise as the host of Million Dollar Password on CBS for both 2008 and 2009.  He also held the record for the most guest appearances on Late Show with David Letterman with 150 episodes.

Thank You, Regis! 

Regis Philbin inspired me to get into the media industry. I have fond memories watching episodes of Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Live with Regis & Kelly, Millionaire, and America’s Got Talent. Every time I went on-camera reporting for the CU Boulder student outlets or record my podcasts, I always think, “What would Regis ask?” Every time I went to WABC-TV to attend tapings of Live with Kelly & Ryan, Tamron Hall, and The View, I always made sure to make a beeline to Regis’ plaque and say “Thank You” for inspiring me. 

Jake’s Take would like to extend its heartfelt condolences to Regis’ beloved wife, Joy; his children and grandchildren; his friends; colleagues; and fans. 

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar