The TV icon who hosted ABC's Who Wants to be a Millionaire and co-hosted Live with Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelly Ripa died Friday night at age 88. His family said he died of natural causes. Philbin, who started out as an NBC page, held the Guinness World Record for most hours on television with 16,746 in a career spanning 52 years that included his stint as sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show in the late 1960s. He broke the record in 2004 that was long held by Hugh Downs, who died earlier this month at age 99. "In a world of annoyances, Mr. Philbin was the indignant Everyman, under siege from all sides — by the damned computers, the horrible traffic, the inconsiderate people who were always late. There was no soap in the men’s room," Robert D. McFadden wrote in Philbin's New York Times obituary. "Hailing a cab was hopeless. Losing a wallet in a rental car? Fuhgeddaboudit! Even his own family was down on him for buying a chain saw! And was it possible, he wondered, to ask ever so softly in a crowded pharmacy where to find the Fleet enemas without the clerk practically shouting: 'Whaddaya want, buddy? A Fleet enema?'" Philbin's longtime Live co-host Kathie Lee Gifford paid tribute to "Reege" in an Instagram post, saying: "There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift. We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly—a tradition and a friendship we shared up to this very day. I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he’s making someone laugh. It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace." Gifford's Live successor Kelly Ripa also paid tribute, writing in a joint statement with co-host Ryan Seacrest: “We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire every day to fill his shoes on the show. We send our deepest love and condolences to his family and hope they can find some comfort in knowing he left the world a better place.” Jimmy Kimmel, who so respected Regis that he hired his longtime (and recently departed) Jimmy Kimmel Live! executive producer Jill Leiderman in 2006 based on Philbin's recommendation, tweeted: "Regis was a great broadcaster, a good friend and a tremendous amount of fun. He leaves behind a beautiful family and a TV legacy that will likely go unmatched. Regis, I hope our friend Rickles met you at the pearly gates with open arms and a slew of the insults you loved so much." Earlier this year, Philbin visited the set of Kimmel's Millionaire revival. President Trump also paid tribute, tweeting: "One of the greats in the history of television, Regis Philbin has passed on to even greater airwaves, at 88. He was a fantastic person, and my friend. He kept telling me to run for President. Holds the record for “most live television”, and he did it well. Regis, we love you....And to Joy, his wonderful wife who he loved so much, my warmest condolences!!!" Philbin is survived by Joy Philbin, his second wife, who celebrated 50 years of marriage with Regis on March 1. He was married to Catherine "Kay" Faylen from 1955 to 1968, and had two children with her: daughter Amy and son Danny, who died in 2014 at age 49 after living with a spinal cord defect that led to the amputation of both of his legs. Philbin is also survived by his two children with Joy: author Joanna Philbin and TV writer and Single Parents co-creator Jennifer "J.J." Philbin, and son-in-law and J.J.'s husband, The Good Place creator Michael Schur.
TOPICS: Regis Philbin, The Joey Bishop Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Late Show with David Letterman, Live with Kelly and Ryan, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, Live with Regis and Kelly, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Dana Carvey, David Letterman, Donald Trump, Jill Leiderman, Jimmy Kimmel, JJ Philbin, Joy Philbin, Kathie Lee Gifford, Kelly Ripa, Michael Schur, Rob Burnett, Robert Smigel, Daytime TV, Guinness World Records, Obits