On Monday, Live With Kelly and Ryan co-hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest remembered Regis Philbin, who died on Friday at the age of 88.
The legendary TV personality co-hosted the Live morning talk show for decades, beginning in 1983. It evolved into a hit program with the addition of Kathie Lee Gifford in 1988 (Gifford paid her respects to Philbin on Today) and when she left, Ripa took her seat in 2001 with continued success. They would go on to host the show together for 11 years.
Ripa began Monday’s episode by expressing her shock, adding how she thought Philbin was literally larger than life. “Certain things are inevitable, and passing away is one of those things,” she said. “But Regis is one of the people we all believed, I think, would somehow figure out a way around the inevitable. It was not in the cards, I suppose."
Both her and Seacrest, who joined Live in 2017, initially didn’t believe reports of Philbin’s death.
“When you hear news like this ... you think to yourself, ‘It’s a mistake, it’s one of those dreadful mistakes’ and I can’t wait to hear Regis’s spin on this,” Ripa said, referencing Philbin’s fondness for self-deprecation.
Ripa compared Seacrest to Philbin and recalled how her former co-host gave her current co-host his stamp of approval.
“They don’t make ‘em like Regis anymore,” she said. “And then here comes Ryan Seacrest and Regis is like, ‘That kid has it. He’s got it.’’’
Seacrest praised Phibin’s ability to weave a story “out of the tiniest thing” adding that “he was so many people’s best friend.”
Despite his outsized personality, Ripa explained how Philbin also possessed an everyman quality unique to showbiz.
“The thing that I really appreciated is how unremarkable he thought [show business] was,” she said. “He loved show business and he loved the people in show business, but at the same time, he was just so regular.”
Later in the show, Seacrest and Ripa were joined by Live executive producer Michael Gelman and executive-in-charge Art Moore, both longtime friends of Philbin.
“He had time for everybody and he made everybody feel better when they left,” Moore said. “And that’s kind of how I want to remember him.”
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