A television legend has passed on.
Regis Philbin, arguably one of the most famous talk show hosts of all time, has passed away at 88. People mag reported the passing, and spoke with his family exclusively. Philbin became a household name when Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee premiered in 1988. The show aired for 15 years before Kathie Lee Gifford left. In 2001, the show changed to Live! with Regis and Kelly, co-starring Kelly Ripa. Their show aired for a decade before Regis left. He also famously hosted Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Million Dollar Password, the first season of America’s Got Talent, and became a reoccurring co-host on Rachael Ray.
Philbin died Friday, just over a month before his 89th birthday. He died of natural causes, according to a family 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 and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss,” the Philbin family told People.
Philbin was raised in the Bronx and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1953. He served in the Navy before starting his career in Hollywood. His first claim to fame was local talk show The Regis Philbin Show, in San Diego. He then joined Joey Bishop on The Joey Bishop Show. Soon after gaining more success, Philbin moved to New York and became the host of The Morning Show, which was renamed Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee three years later.