Iconic television host Regis Philbin, perhaps best known for Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee (later Live! with Regis and Kelly) and the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, died Saturday, July 24th at the age of 88 of natural causes. Now, in the wake of the beloved entertainer's passing, people around the world are paying tribute, including many Hollywood figures took a moment to remember Philbin, for not just personal experiences having known and worked with him, but for his impact on entertainment for his decades as a constant figure on television.
Philbin's passing was confirmed by his family in a statement made to PEOPLE. In the statement, they thanked his fans and admirers for their support during his 60-year career and asked for privacy during this difficult time.
"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. 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 statement read.
Philbin had a long career in show business, starting as a page at The Tonight Show in 1955. He rose to prominence with the national syndication of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee in 1988. He served as cohost of that program for 15 years with Kathie Lee Gifford until her departure. Kelly Ripa eventually filled Gifford's cohosting seat, prompting the show's change to Live! with Regis and Kelly in 2001. Philbin stepped away from the show in 2001. He also was the first host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? between 1999 and 2002.
Over his career, Philbin touched a number of lives both in terms of guests on Live! and other programs and in terms of those who watched from home with many celebrities taking the time to reflect on Philbin's impact on their own lives or just to honor him. Read on for Hollywood's tributes to Philbin.
Photo credit: Lloyd Bishop/NBC via Getty Images.
It is hard to say goodbye to someone whose smile and laugh greeted us so often. Regis Philbin, thank you for bringing a sense of fun and normalcy to our lives. Rest among the heavenly hosts now. https://t.co/vZYfoApAJY— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 25, 2020
Rest in Peace Regis Philbin pic.twitter.com/87sbQ2hlnL— Danny Trejo (@officialDannyT) July 25, 2020
rip to the van nest BX legend regis philbin— Desus Nice (@desusnice) July 25, 2020
I will always remember how much respect Regis Philbin showed to the wrestling world. I grew up watching Regis and Kathy Lee because that was my mom’s favorite show. Rest peacefully, Regis❤️ pic.twitter.com/nhRyK1E8as— NattieByNature (@NatbyNature) July 25, 2020
This one hurts. A staple in our household growing up, his joy was infectious and his hosting skills among the greatest I’ve ever seen. Whether on “Live” or leading “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” he was always captivating & hilarious. #RIPRegis https://t.co/PoajN1yb3W— Josh Gad (@joshgad) July 25, 2020
Saddened to hear about the passing of Regis Philbin. Condolences to his wife Joy. 😞— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 25, 2020
What a loss- The wonderful Regis Philbin. I met him in 1985 when I was on the “Rodney Dangerfield Young Comedians Special” and we loved each other ever since. Such a TV icon and above all, a good man. My sympathies to Joy and all of his children and friends.— bob saget (@bobsaget) July 25, 2020
I truly believed that #RegisPhilbin would be a presence with us forever. He was a fun, funny, charming man. On the occasions I got to be with him, he was always a bright light, endlessly interesting and interested in everyone. Sympathy to his loved ones. #ripregisphilbin— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) July 25, 2020
#RegisPhilbin was always generous to me from his days on local L.A.television to his long reign on national morning TV. A lovely man indeed; He had a great run... Rest In Peace pic.twitter.com/EjbBERBO4L— Leonard Maltin (@leonardmaltin) July 25, 2020