Regis Philbin has died. TMZ reports the former TV host passed away following a heart attack at age 88. Philbin suffered a heart attack at his home in Manhattan, New York, after battling heart disease for several years. He passed a month before his 89th birthday, People reported.
The media personality’s family announced his passing in a statement via People, which the magazine also posted on its social media.
“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,” read the statement.
“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.”
Philbin Was Nicknamed ‘The Hardest Working Man In Showbiz’
Often called “the hardest working man in showbiz,” Philbin created a career that spanned more than six decades, and he holds the record for the most hours on camera in the U.S. He got his start in the 1950s on The Tonight Show as a page. He worked in local news and then had another break in the 1960s as Joey Bishop’s sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show.
He replaced host Steve Allen, but the series couldn’t compete with Johnny Carson’s high ratings. However, Philbin didn’t let that stop him, and he continued in show business hosting anything he could, including local programs, radio, game shows, variety shows, and several others.
Philbin kept working hard, and in 1983 he moved to New York to begin his most memorable hosting job on the iconic national morning talk show, which eventually became Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee. First, the program was called The Morning Show.
Lee left her hosting duties after 15 years, but Philbin continued with the brand, and the pair stayed close friends. He remained with the daytime program, and it became Live! with Regis and Kelly in 2001 when Kelly Ripa joined as his new co-host. He hosted alongside the former All My Children star until 2011 when Michael Strahan took over hosting duties beside Ripa.
Today, Ripa co-hosts Live! along with Ryan Seacrest. In all, the television icon stayed on the air with the franchise for 23 years.
Although he worked on the weekday morning program, the host, who quickly became a household name, took other gigs during his time at Live!, including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire from 1999 to 2002, Million Dollar Password, and the first season of America’s Got Talent.
Throughout his tenure on TV, he wracked up several other credits to his name, including a recurring slot on Rachael Ray. He won Daytime Emmy Awards for his work on Live!, as well as an Outstanding Game Show Host for his work on Millionaire. The TV personality received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003, and in 2008, the Daytime Emmys presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Philbin’s Pre-Show Business Life Included A Degree & The Navy
The television icon was born on August 25, 1931, and he grew up in the Bronx. In 1949, he graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School, and he got a sociology degree in 1953 from the University of Notre Dame. He went on to serve in the Navy as a supply officer before starting his show business career as a writer before he became the on-air talent.
He was married twice, once to Catherine Faylen from 1955 to 1968, and his second marriage was to Joy Philbin, which lasted 50 years. With Faylen, he shared two children: Amy and Daniel. Daniel preceded his father in death in 2014. He had two more children with Joy: J.J. and Joanna.