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Broadcaster, ND alumnus Regis Philbin dies at 88

| Saturday, July 25, 2020

This report was updated July 26 at 10:26 p.m.

Media personality and Notre Dame alumnus Regis Philbin died of natural causes Friday at age 88, the family told People magazine.

Philbin hosted a number of television shows including “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee,” which was later renamed “Live with Regis and Kelly.”

During his career Philbin won six Daytime Emmy Awards and was nominated for 37. He was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2006.

Philbin was born on Aug. 25, 1931, in New York City to Frank and Florence Philbin and graduated from Notre Dame in 1953 with a degree in sociology. After serving in the Navy, he worked as a page on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” He first started his career working by parking cars at a Los Angeles TV station.

His first talk show was “The Regis Philbin Show” on KOGO-TV, which aired out of San Diego. In 1967, he joined “The Joey Bishop Show.” He was also the original host of the U.S. version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in 1999.

The famed host logged over 15,000 hours on the air — the most broadcast hours logged by a TV personality — which earned him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Philbin remained a fan of Notre Dame football and a supporter of the University after he graduated. In a statement released Saturday, University President Fr. John Jenkins extended his prayers to Philbin’s wife and two daughters.

“Regis regaled millions on air through the years, oftentimes sharing a passionate love for his alma mater with viewers,” Jenkins said in a statement on Saturday. “He will be remembered at Notre Dame for his unfailing support for the University and its mission, including the Philbin Studio Theater in our performing arts center. He likewise was generous with his time and talent in support of South Bend’s Center for the Homeless and other worthy causes. Our prayers are with his wife, Joy, and their daughters and Notre Dame alumnae Joanna and J.J.”

Philbin’s funeral service will be held at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Philbin will be laid to rest at Cedar Grove Cemetery on campus. No date has been set for the service or burial.

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