Live with Regis
First gaining national attention as the sidekick of Joey Bishop on “The Joey Bishop Show” (1968-1969), Daytime Emmy Award-winning American television personality, talk and game show host, occasional actor, singer and author Regis Philbin went on to become a household name thanks to his coveted hosting gig on the popular morning show “Live With Regis and Kathie Lee” (syndicated, 1988). Upon the leaving of his co-host Kathie Lee Gifford in 2000, the show was changed to “Live With Regis and Kelly” with Kelly Ripa as the new co-host. Philbin won a 2001 Daytime Emmy Award for his work on the show. He received additional fame as the host of the popular game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” from 1999 to 2002, during which time he popularized the catch phrase “Is that your final answer?” The show also won Philbin a Daytime Emmy Award. A regular host for the “Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade,” Philbin netted his third Daytime Emmy Award for his work on the show in 2005. Other shows he has hosted include “A.M. Los Angeles” (1975-1983), “Almost Anything Goes” (1976), “Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire” (2004), “America's Got Talent” (2006) and more recently, “Million Dollar Password” (2008). Frequently dubbed “the hardest working man in show business,” Philbin holds the Guinness World Record for Most Hours on Camera. He was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 10, 2003.
Outside his fruitful hosting gigs, Philbin has had small roles in the movies “SST--Death Flight” (1977, TV), “The Bad News Bears Go to Japan” (1978) and “Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host” (1993, TV), among others, and appeared in such TV series as “Ryan's Hope,” “Life's Work,” “Diagnosis Murder” and “Hope & Faith.” He also provided his voice for “Mother Goose: A Rappin' and Rhymin' Special” (1997, TV) and “Shrek the Third” (2007). Philbin has published two memoirs, “I'm Only One Man” (1995) and “Who Wants to Be Me?” (2000) and released several albums, including “When You’re Smiling” (2004) and “My Darker Moods” (2006).
Philbin has been married twice. He was married to first wife Catherine Faylen from 1957 to 1968 and is now the husband of interior decorator Joy Senese, whom he married in 1970. The father of four, Philbin became a grandfather for a first time in 2008 with the birth of William Xavier Schur, the son of daughter Jennifer who worked as a writer for “Mad TV.”
Philbin enjoys baseball and football. He is a passionate fan of the New York Yankees and a big supporter of his alma mater, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In addition to a home in Charlestown, Rhode Island, Philbin also has a house in Greenwich, Connecticut, and an apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
On March 14, 2007, Philbin underwent successful heart by pass surgery. He previously had angioplasty in 1993.
Childhood and Family:
Born Regis Francis Xavier Philbin on August 25, 1931, in Manhattan, New York, Regis Philbin was raised in the South Bronx by his Irish father, Frank Philbin, and Italian-Albanian mother, Florence Philbin. His brother, Frank M. Philbin, who was twenty years his junior, died in 2007.
Regis enrolled at Our Lady of Solace grammar school in the Bronx. After graduating from Cardinal Hayes High School in 1949, he furthered his studies at the University of Notre Dame, from which he earned a degree in sociology in 1953. He then served in the United States Navy and later moved to Hollywood to launch a career in show business.
In 1957, Regis married actress Catherine Faylen and they welcomed his first child, daughter Amy Philbin, in 1961. His second child and first son, Daniel Philbin, was born six years later in 1967. The couple divorced in 1968. Regis married Joy Senese on March 1, 1970. They have two daughters, Joanna Philbin (born in 1973) and Jennifer Philbin (born in 1974).
At age 76, Regis became a grandfather to daughter Jennifer's son William Xavier Schur, who was born in February 2008.
Regis has several nicknames, including Big Daddy, Number One and Reege.
Who Wants to be a Millionaire
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Regis Philbin began working as a page at NBC after serving in the military. Working at an early season of “The Tonight Show,” where comedian Steve Allen was the host, the New York native often stayed is the balcony and observed the cast rehearse for the show. It was Jack Parr, the host of the next host of “The Tonight Show,” that inspired Philbin to pursue a career in broadcasting.
Moving to Los Angeles in 1955, Philbin soon got a job as a news and sports writer for local station KCOP-TV. He made his debut in front of the camera as a news and sportscaster for a station in San Diego. He was later hired by the San Diego-based WKGTV to host “That Regis Philbin Show” in 1964. A 90-minute program of music and celebrity interviews, the show required Philbin to improvise because it had no writing staff. “That Regis Philbin Show” was pulled after four months.
Philbin's first big break arrived four years later when he became the sidekick of Joey Bishop on ABC's “The Joey Bishop Show.” After the show left the airwaves, Philbin, who had made guest appearances in such TV shows as “Get Smart” and “The Big Valley” (both 1968), resurfaced in several other shows like “The Silent Force” and “That Girl” (both 1970), “Love, American Style” (1971) and “The Jimmy Steward Show” (1972) as well as made his feature film acting debut in the 1972 Woody Allen comedy “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*but were afraid to ask),” in which he played himself. He could also be seen as the host for various series like the L.A. show “Philbin's People” (1970) and the late night show “Regis Philbin's Saturday Night in St Louis.” Following a brief stint as a sportscaster in Denver, Colorado, he began his hosting gig on “A.M. Los Angeles,” a local TV morning talk show on KABC-TV. His presence helped the show become a No. 1 hit in Los Angeles. Philbin left the show in 1983 after having been there for eight years.
Meanwhile, Philbin chased other projects. He hosted the short-lived game show, “The Neighbors” (1975), served as both announcer and host for ABC's “Almost Anything Goes” (1976), was seen in 1977's T.V. movie “SST--Death Flight” (as Harry Carter) and revisited the big screen to play the small role of Harry Hahn on the baseball film “The Bad News Bears Go to Japan” (1978). He then hosted a daily morning variety series on NBC called “The Regis Philbin Show,” opposite Mary Hart. The show, however, only lasted for 18 weeks. He moved to The Health Network to host “Regis Philbin's Health Styles” in 1982, but that show also had a short life and was canceled after 13 weeks.
After leaving “A.M. Los Angeles,” Philbin returned to his native New York City in 1983. He was reunited with “A.M. Los Angeles” co-host Cyndy Garvey on “The Morning Show,” a local morning talk show broadcasted on WABC-TV in NYC. At the time, the show was lagging in ratings, which eventually led to the departure of Garvey. Thanks once again to Philbin, the ratings grew steadily over the next two years and the show gained even more success with the addition of Kathie Lee Gifford as co-host in 1985. It was in 1988 that “The Morning Show” changed its name to “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” for its nationally syndicated debut. In between, Philbin debuted as a street reporter for “Walt Disney's Very Merry Christmas Parade” in 1986, executive produced and hosted a Lifetime special called “The Regis Philbin Show” in 1897 and could be heard as the Emperor on PBS' “Emperor's New Clothes” segment of “Long Ago and Far Away.”
In 1991, Philbin teamed up with Kathie Lee Gifford to host the Miss American Pageant, and in 1993, he was cast as Winslow Keene on the NBC TV film “Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host.” Subsequent acting assignments followed, including playing District Attorney Bradly in a 1996 episode of ABC's “Life's Work” and Darren Tate in a 1998 episode of CBS' “Diagnosis Murder.” He also did voice-over work for HBO’s “Mother Goose: A Rappin' and Rhymin' Special” (1997, as Jack) and the “Disney's Hercules” episode of “Return of Typhon” (1998, as Typhon).
1999 proved to be Philbin's banner year. In addition to nabbing his first Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Talk Show Host for “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee,” he also hosted the American version of the well-liked British game show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” (ABC). Debuting on August 16, the series was an immediate hit and went on to become one of the most successful shows on TV before its cancellation in 2002. When it was revived as a syndicated daytime show, Philbin was replaced by Meredith Vieira.
After working together for more than 20 years, Gifford ended her partnership with Philbin and left “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” in 2000 after a string of personal problems, including her husband's extramarital affair. Following Gifford's departure, the show was renamed “Live with Regis” with Philbin maintaining his duties with the help of several guest co-hosts. He took home his first Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host in 2001. Later that same year, he picked up another Daytime Emmy in the category of Outstanding Game Show Host for his work in “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”
It was also in 2001 that the lively soap opera actress Kelly Ripa was named the successor of Gifford. The show was then changed to “Live with Regis and Kelly.” The pairing proved successful and the twosome has since jointly netted five Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Talk Show Host (2002-2006).
In 2004, Philbin hosted “Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire,” a spin off of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” The show, however, was axed within four months. He also appeared in two episodes of “The Apprentice,” was cast as himself in the comedy film “The Breakup Artist” as well as hosted “Walt “Disney World Christmas Day Parade,” “New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005” and “Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve 2005.” For his work in 2005's “Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade,” Philbin won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Special.
Next Philbin hosted the first season of “America's Got Talent” (2006), in which Piers Morgan, Brandy Norwood and David Hasselhoff served as the judges. The reality TV series was created by Simon Cowell of “American Idol” fame. The same year, he could also be seen playing the role of Handsome Hal Halverson on an episode of the comedy series “Hope & Faith,” starring Kelly Ripa. In 2007, Philbin provided the voice of Mabel, the ugly stepsister, on the cartoon film “Shrek the Third.” He also received a 2007 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Class Special for 2006's “Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade.”
In June 2008, Philbin will host “Million Dollar Password,” an update of the classic game show “Password.” He is also set to appear in a new documentary film directed by Matthew Levy called “New York Street Games” (2008), along with Keith David, Joe Pantoliano, Hector Elizondo, David Keith and many others.
In addition to becoming a popular TV personality, Philbin is also known as an author and singer. He has published two biographies: “I’m Only One Man” (1995) and “Who Wants to be Me” (2000). His LP, “It’s Time for Regis,” was recorded in 1968. More than thirty five years later, he returned to the studio for the 2004 CD “When You’re Smiling” and the 2005 album “The Regis Philbin Christmas Album.” In 2006, he launched “My Darker Moods,” a jazz experimental album that featured Bill Frisell, John Zorn, and members of the alternative band Sonic Youth.
Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Special Class Special, “Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade,” 2006
Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Game Show Host, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” 2001
Daytime Emmy: Outstanding Talk Show Host, “Live with Regis,” 2001
TV Guide: Personality of the Year, 2001