Regis Philbin has known Kathie Lee Gifford and her late husband Frank for decades. What people didn’t know is that Philbin knew Frank Gifford, the famous football player, before he knew his longtime former co-host Kathie Lee.
Philbin spoke with People magazine and had touching things to say about Frank. After Philbin heard the news of Frank’s death, he rushed to Greenwich, Connecticut to be by Kathie Lee’s side to mourn with family and friends.
In the tribute, Regis recalls visiting Frank just a week before his passing. According to Philbin, Frank looked as strong as ever, and it was a shock to hear of his passing. He spoke about the last time he saw Frank out in the backyard of Frank’s Greenwich home. “There Frank was, handsome as ever.” Additionally, he said that Frank “was smiling and laughing. [He] looked so good, so strong and healthy. I just couldn’t believe it. Nobody could.”
Philbin revealed that he had known Frank longer than he knew Kathie Lee. Back then, he knew him in the way that every one else did, as a professional athlete. Regis spoke about the early days when he would see Gifford play football. “I remember when he played for Southern Cal in 1949. I went to Notre Dame, but I’d watch him play. He was passing all the passes, running all the plays.”
One moment he’ll surely never forget is when his Live with Regis and Kathie Lee co-host met and fell in love with the man that would become her husband and the father to her children. “I was there when they met and got together in the ’80s. It was a wonderful thing to see.”
Kathie Lee returned to the TODAY show, where Regis is a contributor, to talk about Frank after the news hit that he passed. In a very heartfelt tribute to her husband of 29 years, Kathie Lee said, “We laughed up to the very end. I just want everybody to know that this is a man who was at complete peace in his life. He might have been the happiest, most content person in the world at this point in his life.”
She continued, “His world got smaller as his God got bigger, and he’d want you to know that, that he died in complete peace. He knew every sin he committed was forgiven.”
Kathie Lee and Frank were married for 29 years and had two children together, Cassidy and Cody.
[Photo by Theo Margo / Getty Images]