“There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift. We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly — a tradition and a friendship we shared up to this very day. I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he’s making someone laugh. It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace. I send all the love in my heart to Joy, to his children, to the rest of his family, and to the innumerable people he touched over his legendary life. There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.”
Regis and Kathie Lee have a long personal and professional history that began in 1985 when both were hired as co-hosts of the now-defunct The Morning Show, which would later be renamed after the two hosts.
At the time, Kathie Lee was working as a correspondent on Good Morning America while Regis was actively looking for a new co-host. She was brought in to work alongside the legendary television personality after he realized her bubbly personality would be a good foil for him, according to Biography.
The duo’s chemistry was undeniable and together, they made Live! the place for some of the biggest stars to sit and chat about their latest work. The duo’s banter was legendary. Regis would often make jokes that would have Kathie Lee cracking up laughing. Of course, she would often add to the laughter with a joke or two of her own.
During her tenure on the series, Kathie Lee and Regis worked through many of her most monumental life experiences; She wed sports broadcaster Frank Gifford in 1986, and later, the two became parents to son Cody and daughter Cassidy. These family moments endeared Kathie Lee to Regis, who was a husband to Joy Philbin and a father of four.
Their friendship went beyond that of a professional working relationship and splintered into projects where they spent time together off-camera as well.
The duo became so popular that they would hit the road with a cabaret act that lasted throughout their tenure as co-hosts on the series and even after Kathie Lee left Live! in 2000. She continued to appear with Regis as they toured the country, with performances that showcased their good-natured banter as well as their respective vocal prowess — the two even recorded a few songs together over the years.
Together, Regis and Kathie Lee were jointly nominated for eight consecutive Daytime Emmy Awards in a row, from 1993 to 2000, in the category of Outstanding Talk Show Host. But together, they never took home a golden statuette.
Their friendship was one of a kind and it’s clear that Kathie Lee’s life will forever be changed by Regis Philbin.