Regis Philbin, the small screen legend who held the world record for the most hours on American television, died at 88. He was a popular anchor and an actor, singer, and comedian in his long career.
Just as his career was long, his marriage to his second wife lasted for 50 years. Together they had two children and were always seen as best friends.
Weeks before Regis Philbin died, he and his wife decided to sell their mansion, which she viewed as their favorite mansion.
Regis Philbin and Joy Philbin at the 2010 National Board of Review Awards Gala on January 12, 2010, in New York (left), Photo of the Philbin mansion (right) | Photo: Twitter.com/WSJRealEstate, Getty Images
REGIS PHILBIN’S EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Regis Philbin was born on August 25, 1931, as Regis Francis Xavier Philbin. He was an American media personality, actor, and singer who rose to prominence by hosting talk shows and game shows since the 1960s.
He is known for hosting “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee,” which started in 1988, and after Kathie Lee left, it became “Live! with Regis and Kelly” in 2001.
Regis graduated in sociology from the University of Notre Dame in 1953 and served in the U.S. Navy. After his discharge from the military, Regis began his television career with several entry-level jobs in Hollywood.
Regis Philbin visits “Late Show With David Letterman” on May 19, 2015, in New York | Photo: Getty Images
After several reporting jobs in radio and television, Regis got his first talk show, “The Regis Philbin Show,” on KGTV-TV leading to an Emmy-winning Los Angeles show called “Philbin’s People.”
In 1967, he gained national exposure when he became the sidekick on “The Joey Bishop Show.” In 1983, he joined Cindy Garvey on “The Morning Show,” renamed in 1985 after replacing Garvey with Kathie Lee Gifford.
He co-hosted “The Miss America Pageant” and became the first host of the U.S. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” game show. In 2004, he set the Guinness World’s Record for Most Hours on Camera, with a total of 15,188 hours.
Portrait of Regis Philbin circa 1976 | Photo: Getty Images
After almost three decades, Regis announced his retirement from the weekday talk show “Live With Regis and Kelly” in 2011. The show was the biggest thrill of his life, but everything always had an end.
After he announced, Regis said he had thought about his next steps but hadn’t found anything he was crazy about yet. Hosting a talk show was what he had ever wanted in his life, and he had done it for most of his life.
Regis Philbin on set during his Final Show of “Live! with Regis & Kelly” on November 18, 2011, in New York | Photo: Getty Images
REGIS’S PERSONAL LIFE AND RELATIONSHIP
In 1955, Regis married Catherine Faylen, and they were together for 13 years before divorcing. They had two children, a daughter named Amy and a son named Daniel.
After their divorce, he married Joy née Senese in 1970. Joy and Regis had met in 1967 when she worked as his assistant while he was on “The Joey Bishop Show.”
By 1973, they welcomed their daughter Joanna, followed by J.J. the next When she’s not filling in as a co-host for her husband, she’s making fun cameos in hit blockbuster movies.
Regis Philbin and Catherine Faylen circa 1965 | Photo: Getty Images
The best friends couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2020, making their marriage one of Hollywood’s longest-lasting marriages.
When asked the secret to the longevity of their marriage, Joy revealed that Regis always had something new on the horizon, and it kept their lives active and fun.
Regis Philbin and Joy Philbin at the Carmen Marc Valvo Spring 2014 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 6, 2013, in New York | Photo: Getty Images
Regis had four children. His first daughter Amy is among the less talked about celebrity kids. She was never seen around her father growing up but was said to have pursued a career in singing.
His first and only son Daniel from his first marriage also kept out of the spotlight. He was born with a spinal cord defect and was confined to a wheelchair throughout his life.
Due to Daniel’s spinal cord defect, his legs were amputated, and Daniel spent most of his childhood at the Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation in California.
Regis Philbin, Joy, and JJ pose for a photograph after receiving a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 10, 2003, in Hollywood | Photo: Getty Images
Before he died at 49 from natural causes on November 7, 2014, Daniel had worked for the Department of Defense as a writer-editor. At 37, he was honored by the Department of Defense for his help with the response to September 11 attacks.
Regis’s third child from his second marriage, Joanna, received her Bachelor’s degree from Brown University and her Master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.
Regis Philbin, Joy Philbin, and daughters Joanna Philbin and Jennifer Philbin at the premiere party for “The Monster Squad” on June 3, 1987, in New York | Photo: Getty Images
Joanna is an accomplished author with books such as “The Daughters Take the Stage” series, “Rules of Summer,” and “Since Last Summer.”
His last child Jennifer Joy walked in his footsteps as she received her Bachelors from the University of Notre Dame. She is a talented Hollywood producer and screenwriter best known for her work on “The O.C.”
Regis Philbin at the “Ruthless! The Musical” opening night at St. Luke’s Theater on July 13, 2015, in New York | Photo: Getty Images
Weeks before Regis died, he sold his longtime Greenwich, Connecticut home, a 13,661 square-foot estate, for $4.015 million. Initially, the mansion had been on the market for $4.595 million at a 35 percent loss.
The property, listed with Joseph Barbieri of Sotheby’s International Realty, had a pool, tennis court, and a guest house. Regis decided to sell so that he and his wife could spend more time with family in California.
The mansion, which Joy called their favorite home, was built in 1997 had six bedrooms and nine full bathrooms. She said,
“We’ve moved around a lot and lived in many houses together, but this house will always be our favorite. We celebrated many birthdays and holidays.”
It also featured plenty of space for entertaining, a billiards room, a pub room with a full bar and a wine cellar, home theater. The mansion also had a gym, sauna, sunroom, five-car garage, and mahogany-paneled library.
Regis Philbin at the Cinema Society & Donna Karan Host the NY Premiere of “Evening” on June 11, 2007 | Photo: Getty Images
When his family announced his death, they revealed that he died of natural causes. His wife, daughters, and four grandchildren survived him at his death.
In his family’s statement, they revealed that Regis let everyone into his life and was able to turn little daily annoyances and happiness into a story.
His family revealed that Regis could always make every day into something worth talking about. He was laid to rest at his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. The university decided to include the Philbin Studio Theater in Regis’s honor in their performing arts center.