US talk show legend Regis Philbin dead at 88

US talk show legend Regis Philbin dead at 88

Regis Philbin, an award-winning fixture of American talk show culture, has died at the age of 88, media reports said Saturday.

Regis Philbin
Photo: Twitter/KHQLocalNews

Philbin, a playful and self-deprecating New Yorker with a thick Bronx accent, died Friday of natural causes, People magazine reported, quoting a statement from the family.

Philbin was best known to many Americans as co-host of a daytime talk show that began in 1988 called "Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee."

Working with Kathie Lee Gifford and later with another co-host, Philbin appeared on the show for 23 years.

Part of his popular shtick was to spend a few minutes at the beginning of each show talking about banalities like where he had dinner the night before. 

Philbin also hosted the wildly popular "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" game show, which ran from 1999 to 2002.

He won Emmys as a talk show and game show host.

And he held the Guinness record for number of hours spent on television in America -- about 17,000, according to The New York Times.

In 2011, as Philbin was preparing to leave his talk show, the Times paid tribute to him as someone who stood out on TV.

"In a daytime landscape filled with bland, polished hosts and smarmy good cheer, Mr Philbin was crumpled, nasal and histrionic. He was a snaggletooth amid cosmetic dentistry and porcelain veneers," the paper said.

Among those remembering Philbin on Saturday was a fellow New Yorker, Donald Trump.


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