TV veteran Regis Philbin was the host of a long-running morning show that bore his name from 1988-2011, and the longtime host of the American version of the TV game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Regis Philbin graduated from Notre Dame University in 1953, and after a stint in the U.S. Navy, he got right into television. He became an upbeat jack-of-all-trades, hosting local and national shows of all kinds. That run included a stint as sidekick to Joey Bishop
on the comedian's late-night talk show from 1967-69. Philbin's morning show Live With Regis and Kathie Lee
debuted nationally on ABC in September of 1988. It became his signature show, with Philbin's energy and gift of gab keeping things rolling on for years. "In a daytime landscape filled with bland, polished hosts and smarmy good cheer, Mr. Philbin was crumpled, nasal and histrionic," said the New York Times
in 2011. "He was a snaggle-tooth amid cosmetic dentistry and porcelain veneers." The Hollywood Reporter
called Philbin "indefatigable and downright neighborly." His co-host Kathie Lee Gifford left the show in 2000 and was replaced by Kelly Ripa
; renamed Live With Regis and Kelly
, the show kept going strong until Philbin stepped down with a final show on November 18, 2011. His jolly personality made him a regular guest on other shows, and Philbin for many years enjoyed an ongoing played-for-laughs rivalry with late-night host David Letterman
. Regis Philbin also hosted another hit, the prime-time game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?,
from 1999-2002. Philbin won two Emmy awards in 2001, one each as host of Live with Regis and kelly
and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Regis Philbin was inducted into Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2006. His memoirs include I'm Only One Man
(1995), Who Wants to Be Me?
(2000) and How I Got This Way