Regis Philbin, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? host & TV staple, dead at 88

Regis PhilbinTerrible news has come out this morning about one of the most iconic TV hosts ever. Regis Philbin, known for hosting Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and the Live! morning talk-show franchise, has died at the age of 88.

The news was confirmed this morning in a statement by his family, who said the following to People Magazine:

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.”

Regis worked in local television for many years before getting his big break in the 1980s — more proof that success can come your way at any point in your life. Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee was a mainstay for many years; even after Kathie Lee Gifford’s departure, the show was still successful with Kelly Ripa as his co-host. His stint on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? will still be his most-notable TV credit for many — including us. There was a time when this was the biggest show on TV and inspired a whole new generation to get into game shows, ourselves included. Regis was one of the reasons why we ended up on Millionaire years later, though it was the Meredith Vieira – daytime TV version.

Viewers loved Regis for his larger-than-life personality, his sense of humor, and his quick wit and comebacks. He was sympathetic and supportive of contestants on Millionaire, but he never forgot it was a television show. We also recommend that you go back and watch his appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman; there are a lot of classic ones out there.

Regis is known and beloved by generations; we’re going to miss hearing his signature voice and how enthusiastic he would be the moment cameras started to roll.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to all who knew him and loved him. (Photo: ABC.)

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