Regis Francis Xavier Philbin (August 25, 1931 - July 24, 2020) was a famous television personality, actor, singer, and game show host. Philbin appeared on Live With Regis and Kelly, and co-hosted Live With Regis and Kathie Lee from 1988 until 2000. Philbin appeared on the popular game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire and a few spin-offs of the show. He has also hosted as other game shows including Million Dollar Password and the first season of America's Got Talent. Philbin holds the world record for spending the most amount of time on television.
Philbin retired from Live With Regis and Kelly on November 18, 2011.
Philbin has been married to his wife Joyce since 1970 and has four children, two with her, and two from a previous marriage to Kay Faylan.
His yearly salary for his day time talk show from 2008 to 2011 was $21 million.
Philbin was born to Francis and Filomena Philbin in the Bronx borough of New York City. He was reared a Roman Catholic. It was long believed Philbin was an only child, but he announced he had a brother, Frank, who died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma on an episode of Regis and Kelly. Philbin attended Our Lady of Solace in the Bronx. He then graduated from Cardinal Hayes High school in 1949 and later Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, with a degree in sociology. He then was a supply officer in the United States Navy. While in the Navy, he did some broadcasting behind the scenes. His earliest work was on The Tonight Show. His first show was The Regis Philbin Show in San Diego, California. Philbin came on the national scene working on The Joey Bishop Show. He stopped the show feeling unwanted after ABC complained about his work and "thick accent".
Philbin started his hosting career in the program The Neighbors, a short-lived 1975-1976 showin which a woman had to guess which of her three female neighbors was gossiping about her. Philbin would have much more success in 1999 by hosting the American version of the popular British game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, where contestants answer fifteen multiple-choice questions with the amount of money escalating after every question with only two safe havens to one million dollars. The show went into syndication after Philbin's prime time show was canceled with new host Meredith Viera. Philbin guest hosted a few episodes of the syndicated show. Philbin also hosted the first season of America's Got Talent, where a contestant would have to impress three judges with an act in hopes to win a million dollars and a Las Vegas headline show, before being replaced by Jerry Springer and later Nick Cannon. He also hosted Million Dollar Password, where a contestant would pair up with a celebrity guessing word clues against another contestant/celebrity pair, reviving a series of older Password shows.
Philbin released a total of three albums, with none of them gaining any real popularity. He singing style can be considered crooning, as in the style of his favorite singers like Frank Sinatra. His first album was released in 1968. His two other albums came years later in 2004 and 2005.
- It's Time for Regis (1968)
- When You're Smiling (2004)
- The Regis Philbin Christmas Album (2005)