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U.S. TV legend Regis Philbin dead

U.S. TV legend Regis Philbin dead© Cover Media

U.S. TV legend Regis Philbin has died.

The longtime Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? host passed away on Friday, aged 88.

His widow Joy and daughters Amy, J.J. and Joanna confirmed the sad news in a statement shared with People magazine, which reads: "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."

Born in 1931, Philbin was raised in the Bronx, New York and studied sociology at the University of Notre Dame. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he began his career in showbusiness as a writer before becoming a front-of-the camera regular in the early 1960s.

He hosted a local talk show in San Diego, California and struck it big as funnyman Joey Bishop's sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show in 1967.

He had a string of local talk shows in Los Angeles and St. Louis before moving home to New York in 1983 to host The Morning Show, which was renamed Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee three years later.

He hosted the popular ABC show with Kathie Lee Gifford for 15 years before she quit. Philbin then spent another decade co-hosting the show with Kelly Ripa - as Live! With Regis & Kelly - before he stepped down in 2011 after a total of 23 years.

Regis also served as the original U.S. host of the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? from 1999 to 2002 and fronted the first season of America’s Got Talent.

Along the way, he picked up Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show Host and Outstanding Game Show, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, while he was also honoured with a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 2003.

Over the last 30 years of his life, Philbin battled various health issues and underwent an angioplasty in 1993 and triple heart bypass surgery in 2007.


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