Disney Legend Regis Philbin has passed away at the age of 88. He died of natural causes. His family shared that he died on Friday night of natural causes. Philbin was most prominently known for his talk show Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee and also as the host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
“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 family said in a statement to People on Saturday.
“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 says.
Regis Philbin was born on August 25, 1931. He grew up in the Bronx and graduated from the Cardinal Hayes High School in 1949. He then went on to the University of Notre Dame. There he earned a sociology degree in 1953.
Philbin served in the Navy and then began his television career as a writer. By 1961 he had moved in front of the camera and was the host of The Regis Philbin Show in San Diego. This was a talk show that really set the course of his career. By 1967 he was well known as being the sidekick for Joey Bishop on The Joey Bishop Show.
Through the years Philbin would continue to work on talk shows, most notably on A.M. Los Angeles and Regis Philbin’s Saturday Night in St. Louis. In 1983, he moved back to New York City to host The Morning Show. Three years later it would be renamed Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee. This role catapulted him to stardom as he became one of the most well-known talk show TV hosts in America. Later when Kathie Lee left he eventually continued with Kelly Ripa on the renamed Live! with Regis and Kelly. Philbin hosted the show for 23 years before he retired.
From 1999 to 2002, Philbin was the original host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Throughout his career, he also hosted Million Dollar Password, the first season of America’s Got Talent, along with being a recurring co-host on Rachael Ray. He also hosted several Disney Christmas Parade specials and served as Grand Marshal of the 2002 Tournament of Roses Parade.
During his career, Philbin earned Daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding talk show host in both 2001 and also 2011. He also received one for outstanding game show host on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Philbin also recieved a Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmy Awards in 2008. In 2011, he was inducted as a Disney Legend for The Walt Disney Company. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Philbin has more hours on TV than anybody.
Regis Philbin is survived by his wife of 50 years Joy Philbin and their two daughters. He also was the father to Amy Philbin, whom he had with his first wife Catherine Faylen. Another son, Daniel, died in 2014.