Sadly, Regis Philbin, the iconic daytime television star and decades-long titan of his industry, passed away last weekend at the ripe age of 88. Since the news of his passing hit the airwaves, celebrities, fans, and friends alike have taken to social media to remember the iconic New Yorker, and express their gratitude for his life and their sadness of his passing.
Ben Stiller, who recently lost his own comedian and entertainer father, Jerry Stiller, expressed his sadness at his passing. “Sending lots of love to Joy. I loved Regis Philbin. A television legend. And as nice in life as he was on TV. What a career,” he tweeted.
Sending lots of love to Joy. I loved Regis Philbin. A television legend. And as nice in life as he was on TV. What a career. #RIPRegis
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) July 26, 2020
David Letterman paid tribute to Philbin in a statement that was effusive and heartbreaking. “In the same category as Carson,” he wrote. “Superlative… When he retired I lost interest in television. I love him.”
Mike Birbiglia, the comedian, told his own story on video of when he met Regis Philbin — saying that he was “always entertaining others and giving them their own Regis moment.”
The time I met Regis Philbin on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Completely kind. Completely gracious. Always entertaining others and giving them their own Regis moment. Rest in peace one of the greats. 😢❤️ #RIPRegisPhilbin pic.twitter.com/WGJHI8Y8V8
— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) July 26, 2020
Kathie Lee Gifford, who originated Regis’s long-running daytime television show Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee, wrote a lengthy statement about her long-time friend and collaborator. “I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift… There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.”
Kelly Ripa, who followed Kathie Lee to co-host the show, also posted a tribute, co-written with Ryan Seacrest, to the icon on her Instagram. “We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire everyday to fill his shoes on the show,” she wrote. (She has taken over the show alongside Ryan Seacrest following Regis’s retirement.)
View this post on Instagram
We are beyond saddened to learn about the loss of Regis Philbin. He was the ultimate class act, bringing his laughter and joy into our homes everyday on Live for more than 23 years. We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire everyday to fill his shoes on the show. We send our deepest love and condolences to his family and hope they can find some comfort in knowing he left the world a better place. – Kelly and Ryan
She also went on live television and talked about the giant, saying that her children “worshiped him.”
But perhaps the funniest — and most believable — tidbit about the famous every-man is from someone who once worked at a grocery store he regularly went to. She tweeted, “in high school i bagged groceries at a store up the street and Regis Philbin would com in all the time. the owner special-ordered his favorite ice cream sandwiches and one time Regis said to me, ‘Have you had these ice cream sandwiches? Ya gotta try these!’ Can u hear this tweet,” she added.
The box was a generic bo of IGA brand ice cream sandwiches.
the box has been updated since 2005 when i worked there, but i loved that it was a generic brand pic.twitter.com/LdknNIinL9
— Maryellen Stewart (@maryellen) July 26, 2020
Philbin will be remembered for his ad-lib approach to television; he eschewed scripts and often preferred to talk freely with guests. While his tenure on Live! was lauded for obvious reasons, most fans will remember him best for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. He will be missed.