Iconic TV host and actor Regis Philbin has died at the age of 88. His death, reportedly from a heart attack Saturday morning at his home in Manhattan, was confirmed to People Magazine in a statement from his family. Philbin battled a history of heart issues dating back to the early 1990s.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
Raised in the Bronx before attending the University of Notre Dame, Philbin served in the Navy before his career on television began, first as host of a local talk show in San Diego, “The Regis Philbin Show.” He went on to co-star on ABC talk show “The Joey Bishop Show,” before hosting “The Morning Show” beginning in 1983. It was later renamed “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee,” launching an iconic talk-show hosting career. Kathie Lee Gifford left the show after 15 years. In 2001, the franchise became known as “Live! with Regis and Kelly,” with Regis hosting opposite Kelly Ripa. He left the show in 2011 after hosting for 23 years.
Philbin also gained popularity for hosting the celebrated game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” from 1999 to 2002. His many accolades include Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host for “Live!” in both 2001 and 2011, and he won for Outstanding Game Show Host for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” in 2001. In 2003, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2008 earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmys.
Philbin is survived by his daughters J.J. Philbin and Joanna Philbin, with whom he shared with his wife Joy. He was also the father to Amy Philbin, from his first marriage to Catherine Faylen.