Gifford wrote of her colleague, “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. I send all the love in my heart to Joy, to his children, to the rest of his family and to the innumerable people he touched over his legendary life. There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.”
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Gifford first joined Philbin on The Morning Show on WABC-TV in New York in 1985. Their matchup proved successful and quickly garnered top local ratings becoming nationally syndicated in 1988 as Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. She stayed on to host until 2000.
Philbin died Friday of natural causes. He was 88.
“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,” according to a statement issued to People magazine today by his family.
Phiblin’s career as a host included the shows A.M. Los Angeles and Regis Philbin’s Saturday Night in St. Louis before moving to NYC. He later hosted the hit primetime game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire as well as the first season of America’s Got Talent. He won Daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding talk show host, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmys in 2008.
Survivors include daughters J.J. Philbin and Joanna Philbin, whom he shared with his wife Joy of 50 years. He was also father to daughter Amy Philbin, whom he shared with his first wife, Catherine Faylen.
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