“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,” said the statement sent to CNN Saturday. “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,” the statement said.
Philbin was the host of numerous television shows, including the morning talk show “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee,” which he co-hosted with Kathie Lee Gifford. Co-hosting duties were later taken over by Kelly Ripa and the show was renamed “Live with Regis and Kelly.”
Philbin holds the world record for most hours on US television, according to Guinness World Records, with more than 16,700 hours on air.
“I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he’s making someone laugh,” she wrote. “It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace.
“There has never been anyone like him,” Gifford said. “And there never will be.”
“He was the ultimate class act, bringing his laughter and joy into our homes everyday on Live for more than 23 years,” the statement said. “We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire everyday to fill his shoes on the show.”
A long career
Regis Francis Xavier Philbin was born in New York on August 25, 1931, to Frank and Florence Philbin. He was named after Regis High School, a Jesuit school in Manhattan attended by his father.
He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1953 with a degree in sociology before going on to serve in the US Navy.
“Never thought I would ever have the talent to look into a camera lens and talk to it,” he said, “just never thought it would happen.”
Philbin got his start in show business as a page on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” He later hosted “The Regis Philbin Show” out of San Diego before joining “The Joey Bishop Show” as Bishop’s sidekick.
After a stint as the host of a local Los Angeles TV talk show, Philbin became the co-host in 1983 of “The Morning Show” on WABC.
Gifford became Philbin’s co-host in 1985, and in 1988 the show was syndicated and renamed. The duo continued hosting together until 2000, at which point Philbin hosted the show alone — then dubbed “Live with Regis” — until he was joined by Ripa in 2001. He finally left the show in November 2011.
Philbin had been married since March 1970 to Joy Philbin, with whom he had two children, Jennifer and Joanna.
An earlier marriage to Kay Faylan lasted from 1957 to 1968. Philbin had two children with Faylan, Danny and Amy.
“He could do it all, and we loved him for it,” King wrote. “I will miss him every day.”