World records, New York City and final answers: A timeline of Regis Philbin's life

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Saturday, July 25, 2020
Television personality Regis Philbin dies at 88
Legendary television personality Regis Philbin, known for his ABC morning show and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," has died at 88.

NEW YORK -- As the Guinness Book of World Record holder for the most broadcast hours logged by a TV personality, Regis Philbin's life and career have many chapters.

The late Philbin spent a great chunk of those 16,000+ hours on "Live with Regis and Kathy Lee" -- later "Live with Regis and Kelly" -- and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

But his journey started from humble beginnings. After leaving the Navy, Philbin several odd jobs before landing his first on-air role as a fill-in sportscaster on a local Los Angeles TV station.

Here's a timeline of Regis's life and legacy:

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Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa appear on Regis' farewell episode of "Live! with Regis and Kelly", in New York on Nov. 18, 2011.
AP Photo/Charles Sykes

1931: Regis Francis Xavier Philbin was born on August 25 and grew up in the New York borough of the Bronx.

1953: Philbin graduated from Notre Dame University and joined the Navy.

1955: Philbin talked his way into a meeting with the stationmaster at KCOP-TV in Los Angeles. He got a job parking cars, then progressed into work as a stagehand, courier, newswriter and producer of a sports telecast. When its sportscaster didn't show up one day, Philbin filled in.

1961: His first talk show, "The Regis Philbin Show," airs from KOGO-TV in San Diego to a national audience. The program of music and celebrity interviews was taped two weeks before each airing. It was canceled after four months.

Celebrities and public figures are paying tribute to legendary TV personality Regis Philbin, who died Saturday at age 88.

1967: Philbin was hired as the announcer and sidekick to comic Joey Bishop on his network show. That's where he met his second wife, Joy, who was Bishop's assistant.

1970s: Philbin commuted to St. Louis each week for three years to host a local Saturday night show.

1975-1981: He co-hosted "A.M. Los Angeles" on KABC-TV, first with Sarah Purcell and then Cyndy Garvey.

1982: Philbin moves back to New York and joined Garvey on WABC-TV's "The Morning Show."

1985: Kathie Lee Gifford (then Johnson) joins "The Morning Show."

1988: Philbin and Gifford's show becomes nationally syndicated and renamed "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee." Celebrities routinely stopped by Philbin's morning show, but its heart was in the first 15 minutes when he and Gifford bantered about the events of the day.

From 2011: Regis Philbin's last day on "Live."

1993: Doctors performed an angioplasty to relieve a blocked artery. Later in life, at age 75, he underwent bypass surgery.

1999: He began hosting the ABC prime-time game show, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," briefly television's most popular show at the turn of the century. Philbin's question to contestants, "Is that your final answer?" became a national catchphrase.

2000: Gifford left her spot on "Live." After a tryout period for a replacement, then soap star Kelly Ripa (from "All My Children") filled the slot.

2008: Philbin returned briefly to the quiz show format with "Million Dollar Password."

2011: After three decades, Philbin retired from his morning TV show. On Nov. 18, Gifford came back to bid him farewell on his last day on the show they had begun.

2020: Philbin died on July 24 at the age of 88. He is survived by his wife, Joy, and their daughters J.J. and Joanna Philbin, as well as his daughter Amy Philbin with his first wife, Catherine Faylen.