Exclusive Photo: In Memoriam, Regis Philbin in His Long Career

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CHICAGO – In 2011, a unique award was conferred upon Regis Philbin, the talk show/game show host and sometimes actor. The Guinness Book of World Records acknowledged that Philbin had appeared on the most hours on American television, with an astounding 16,746.5 in the final tally. Philbin passed away on July 24, 2020, at the age of 88, in his home in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Regis Frances Xavier Philbin was born in New York City, served in the U.S. Navy and graduated from the University of Notre Dame. He began his career in 1955 in the early days of television, as a page on “The Tonight Show” (then hosted by Steve Allen). He worked in TV and news in Los Angeles, before landing his first talk show, “The Regis Philbin Show” out of San Diego. After a syndication attempt fell through in the mid-1960s, he signed on at ABC-TV as sidekick for the “The Joey Bishop Show,” one of the many chat shows to compete against the Johnny Carson Tonight Show. He famously quit on the air, but later said it was a publicity stunt.

Regis Philbin, Photographed in 2011
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.com

After the Bishop show, Philbin went back to hosting local TV in Los Angeles and St. Louis before moving back to New York City in 1982 to host “The Morning Show” on WABC-TV. In 1988, a chance pairing with Kathie Lee Gifford clicked, and they were syndicated on ABC network affiliates as “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee.” Kelly Ripa replaced the departed Kathie Lee in 2001, and Philbin lasted on that show until his retirement from it in 2011.

His game show hosting experience was vast, having led several until he hit pay dirt with “Who Wants to Be Millionaire” in 1999, which became a brief sensation, giving him the eternal catchphrase, “Is that your final answer?” Philbin also made wacky appearances on the “Late Show with David Letterman” and several sitcoms and dramas, including an episode of the western series “The Big Valley” in 1968. Besides the Guinness honor, he has numerous Daytime Emmys and broadcast Hall of Fame accolades.

Regis Philbin, broadcast legend. That’s the final answer. Exclusive Photo by Joe Arce for HollywoodChicago.com.

The source for this article was Wikipedia.com. Regis Philbin, 1931-2020.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2020 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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