TV-talk show host, game-show host, singer, author, and TV personality, Regis Philbin became one of the most popular talk-show hosts in America and in Canada, especially. Growing up as an only child in The Bronx, New York, Philbin went to the University of Notre Dame and got a degree in sociology. Later, he would serve in the U.S. Navy and went through behind-the-scenes in radio and TV, before going into broadcasting.
After moving to California, Philin got his own show on KGTV in San Diego called That Regis Philbin Show (1964). However, with no writing team, for budget reasons, this led him to begin the show that would become his hallmark, where he engages his audience in discussions about his life and events of the day. It was, then, that he got his first big break as Joey Bishop‘s sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show (1961). Bishop liked to tease Philbin. But the teasing stopped when Philbin walked off the stage on a live broadcast and stayed away for several days.
Philbin later hosted A.M. Los Angeles (1975), a local TV talk show on KABC-TV. With his presence, he brought the show to Number One in Los Angeles.
On the show, Sarah Purcell was his first co-host, followed by Cyndy Garvey. However, when Philbin moved to New York City, they both paired up on “The Morning Show”. But due to low ratings, Garvey then left once again and Philbin was then joined by Kathie Lee Gifford on the show and the ratings improved and the show’s name was changed to “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” (1988). Gifford left the show, which was called “Live with Regis” until a permanent replacement could be found.
During the search, Philbin won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host, his first only Daytime award. When Kelly Ripa was chosen the same year, the show was later changed to “Live with Regis and Kelly”. The pairing became successful.
Besides being a successful TV host, Philbin was also a game show host on a short-lived game show called The Neighbors (1975), in which part of the game is that a contestant, usually a woman, would have to find out which one of her neighbors is gossiping about her. He then hosted Almost Anything Goes (1975). Despite both shows being failures, Philbin then hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (1999), which became one of the most popular shows on TV before it was canceled in 2002 and came back with Meredith Vieira replacing Philbin. For his work on the show, he won his second Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host.
Philbin then signed a contract for “Millionaire’s” spin-off: Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire (2004). But this time, instead of one million dollars, it’s 10 million. However, the show was canceled within four months. However, Philbin’s game show career didn’t end there. As of November 2005, Philbin hosted the revival of ABC’s This Is Your Life (1950). As of May 2006, the show is in development.
Besides being a TV personality, Philbin is also an author who has written two books: “I’m Only One Man!” and “Who Wants To Be Me?”. He is also a singer, in the style of a crooner, such as Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin.
Regis Philbin was born on August 25, 1931 in New York City, New York. Sadly he passed away on July 24, 2020 of natural causes. He was 88 years old.