Iconic TV presenter Regis Philbin dies at 88
Iconic American television presenter Regis Philbin passed away Friday night at age 88 from natural causes, his family reported to People magazine on Saturday.
We are very sad to share that our beloved Regis Philbin died last night of natural causes within a month of his 89th birthday, his friends said in a statement, highlighting the support of his followers during his six-decade career.
Born in The Bronx, New York, in 1931, Philbin became an iconic face of television in the US thanks to his legendary sense of humor and his unique ability to make every day worthy of comment, said his family.
He rose to fame in 1988 as a co-host of the program 'Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee', in which he remained 23 years, and was the host of the first season of successful contests such as 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' or 'America's Got Talent'.
This Saturday, figures from American society echoed the news, including presenter and humorist Jimmy Kimmel, who stated on Twitter that Philbin leaves behind a beautiful family and a legacy on television that probably will not be equaled.
Presenter Kelly Ripa, who replaced Kathie Lee in 2000 as co-host for Philbin on the "Live!" Show, said in an interview with The New York Times the following year that he was the world's best story teller and considered his ability to connect with audiences "a gift".
In 2004, Philbin was recognized with the Guinness record for having spent more than 16,000 hours in front of a television camera, the fruit of a passion that began in the middle of the last century, with roles in programs such as "The Tonight Show" and "The Joey Bishop Show "before making his own name.
Graduated in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame (1953), Philbin made his way in the entertainment sector and garnered numerous awards, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a lifetime Emmy Award.
His New York accent, his voice and his charisma elevated him to a morning television icon in the United States, and, as a good pop culture star, he has appeared making cameos in many shows, such as 'The Simpsons', 'How I met your mother' and 'Seinfeld'.
Personally, he married twice, first with Catherine "Kay" Faylen, with whom he had two children; and after divorcing, with Joy Senese, with whom he also had two children. In recent years, he had experienced some health problems and had to undergo cardiovascular surgery and a hip replacement.