Regis Philbin

Active - 1971 - 2018  |   Born - Aug 25, 1931 in New York, New York, United States  |   Died - Jul 24, 2020   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

Share on

Biography by Nathan Southern

Though best known as the jovial but lovably sarcastic host of the American talk show sensation Live with Regis and Kelly (and its earlier incarnation, Live With Regis and Kathie Lee), television personality Regis Philbin (born August 25th 1931) has sustained an astonishingly varied career that bridges not only a myriad of broadcast formats -- from daytime and late-night talk to game shows to televised parades and news magazines -- but multiple mediums as well, including books, feature films, and even musical recordings that found Philbin crooning along to old standards.

A native New Yorker, Philbin grew up in the South Bronx and later graduated from the University of Notre Dame. After a stint in the Navy and a series of entry-level jobs in Hollywood, he hosted the talk programs The Regis Philbin Show (on KGTV in San Diego) and Philbin's People in Los Angeles, and developed a revolutionary style of televised chat that involved peppering his commentary with witty asides and opinions, and involving the audience in the on-set conversation. In time, Philbin secured a spot as co-host on the late-night talk program The Joey Bishop Show from April 1967 to December 1969. During the 1970s, Philbin hosted the morning talk show Temp on Los Angeles's KHJ-TV, and emceed two game shows on ABC. In 1983, he launched The Morning Show, a local talk program in New York City; it eventually evolved into Live With Regis and Kathie Lee in 1985, after Kathie Lee Gifford signed on as co-host. That program, of course, became a national institution, and continued even after Gifford left, with Kelly Ripa replacing her as co-host. During the late '90s, Philbin also made television history by emceeing one of the most lucrative game shows in the history of the broadcast medium: the U.K. import Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, on ABC.

Cinematically, Philbin made a number of cameo film appearances in various Hollywood features over the years -- often, though not always, playing himself. These included the uproarious 1972 Woody Allen film-a-sketch Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask (as one of the panelists on a perverted game show), and the awful Mae West 1978 musical Sextette (as a reporter). Regis and second wife Joy Philbin lent darkly amusing cameos as themselves to the Irwin Winkler-directed psychological drama Night and the City (1992) -- in which they appear as restaurant patrons, hounded by obnoxious flim-flam man Harry Fabian (Robert De Niro). In the early 2000s, Philbin's film appearances included cameos in Little Nicky and Cheaper by the Dozen, and a small role in Shrek the Third, as the voice of Mabel, one of Cinderella's ugly stepsisters.The entertainer reprised his voice role in Shrek Forever After in 2010.

Philbin announced his departure from LIVE! With Regis and Kelly during an emotional episode in February of 2011.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • Named after his father's alma mater, Regis High School in Manhattan.
  • Served in the U.S. Navy 1953-55.
  • Began his broadcasting career in 1955 as a news and sports writer at KCOP in Los Angeles.
  • Famously walked off the set of The Joey Bishop Show during a 1968 broadcast in a disagreement with management, but returned three days later.
  • Appeared as himself in a movie for the first of many times in Woody Allen's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (1972).
  • Penned the memoirs I'm Only One Man! (1995) and Who Wants to Be Me? (2000).
  • Achieved prime-time success in 1999 when he began hosting the hit ABC game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
  • Won his first Daytime Emmys in 2001, for Outstanding Talk Show Host (Live with Regis) and Outstanding Game Show Host (Who Wants to Be a Millionaire).
  • Returned to prime time to host two seasons of the game show Million Dollar Password, a Password update that ran 2008-09 on CBS.