According to People, Philbin passed away from a heart attack on July 24, after battling heart disease for many years. He was 88, and would have turned 89 next month.
The beloved celebrity had been a well-loved staple of American television since 1961, when he debuted on The Regis Philbin Show, which originally aired out of San Diego. In 1964, the show was nationally syndicated. He also moonlighted as an announcer on The Tonight Show in 1962.
In 2004, Philbin set a Guinness World Record for “Most Hours on U.S. Television.”
At the time of his passing, Philbin had amassed considerable wealth through his years as a television talk show/game show host, actor, singer, and author.
Philbin Made $5 Million Per Year Co-Hosting ‘Live! With Regis And Kathie Lee’
In 1982, Philbin took a job co-hosting WABC-TV’s The Morning Show, and was joined by Kathie Lee Johnson (later known as Kathie Lee Gifford) in 1985. Audiences loved the friendly banter between the duo, and the series went into national syndication three years later, in 1988.
Forbes reported that at one point during their co-hosting the popular morning show, Philbin was making about $5 million a year.
Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee became a familiar favorite in many homes prior to Gifford’s departure in 2000. When she left, Philbin spent a year running the official operation solo and collaborating with celebrity guest hosts, until Kelly Ripa joined him in 2001.
In 2011, after 28 successful years overall, Philbin announced he was leaving the Live! franchise.
TMZ stated that prior to his retirement from the Live!, Philbin was making between $18 and $20 million per year.
‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ Helped Keep Philbin A Millionaire
In 1999, ABC brought Philbin on to the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which he hosted until it was canceled in 2002.
According to Fortune, the series made around $1 billion in the first two years, and was the most profitable show in TV history at the time.
Forbes stated that Philbin had asked the network to pay him $300,000 per episode.
Several years later, he returned briefly to the syndicated, newly titled series Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire.
In addition to the Millionaire shows, Philbin hosted America’s Got Talent in 2006 and Million Dollar Password from 2008 to 2009.
During the span of Philbin’s prolific career, he was awarded seven Daytime Emmys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, as well as multiple other awards and honors.