WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Regis Philbin, most popular for hosting “Live!” and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, has died on Friday, July 24.
- The 88-year old host has two Emmy’s— one Daytime Emmy for “Live!” and one in 2011 as Outstanding Talk Show Hosts with Kelly Ripa
- Philbin’s 16,746.5 hours on television made him the record-holder for the Guinness World Record for “Most Hours on U.S. Television.”
Television has lost one of its beloved talk and game show hosts, Regis Philbin, to natural causes at age 88.
In a statement read by his family to People, “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.”
Regis Philbin started as an NBC page, then became a newscaster, went on to become a sidekick for Joey Bishop, got star status as a popular duo with Kathie Lee Gifford on “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee”, then hosted “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” starting in 1999.
Philbin considers hosting the ABC prime-time game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” starting 1999 was “kind of the highlight of my life.”
He said, “I realized there was a difference between a syndicated morning show and prime time. “Regis saved the network!’ I used to walk around saying that. I was a big man! I was a giant! It was a wonderful time in a broadcaster’s life to get a show like that. Wow, it was dynamite.”
“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’s popularity and prominence was a weekly must-watch for a lot of audience until its syndication in 2002.
His approach to hosting was live and unscripted. Like he said, “Spontaneous conversation. Spontaneity is everything to me, working without a net.”
Clocking in at 16,746.5 hours made Philbin the record holder for the Guinness World Record for “Most Hours on U.S. Television.
This New Yorker won the Daytime Emmy for Live!, another Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Hosts with Kelly Ripa in 2011.
He leaves behind his wife of 50 years, interior designer Joy Philbin and two daughters, Joanna and Jennifer and another daughter with former wife Catherine “Kay“ Faylen.
In an interview for Parade in 2011, Joy Philbin said, “There’s just something about Regis. There’s always something new on the horizon and it keeps our lives active and fun. I’d rather be with Regis than any other person in the world.”