Iconic TV Host Regis Philbin Is Dead at 88

Iconic TV Host Regis Philbin Is Dead at 88
Photo:Rob Kim (Getty Images)

Regis Philbin died on Friday, July 24, his family has confirmed. The longtime television personality, perhaps best known for hosting Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee and its followup iteration featuring Kelly Ripa, was 88.

“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,” Philbin’s family said in a statement to People. “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.”

An unnamed source told TMZ that Philbin suffered a heart attack, though his family has not yet publicly confirmed a cause of death at press time. The late TV host had a history of heart-related health issues, Entertainment Tonight notes, which forced him to undergo triple bypass surgery 13 years ago.

Born in the Bronx in 1931, Philbin got his start in Hollywood in the 1950s, working as a page on The Tonight Show, per TMZ,. His hosting debut came in 1961 thanks to San Diego local talk show The Regis Philbin Show, though he didn’t come to national prominence until 1967 thanks to his sidekick role on The Joey Bishop Show, says People.

In 1983, Philbin took on what would become his career-defining role as the host of ABC’s The Morning Show, which became Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee in 1988. He stayed on after co-host Kathie Lee Gifford departed 12 years later. The show then rebranded in 2001 as Live! with Regis and Kelly, featuring new cohost Kelly Ripa. Philbin left the program in 2011 after 28 years on air with the Live! franchise, during which time he won two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host. He also won a Daytime Emmy in 2001 for hosting Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

Philbin is survived by his wife, Joy Senese, his four children, and his grandchildren.

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