US Navy Veteran, TV Personality Regis Philbin Dead at 88

Television personality and talk show host Regis Philbin passed away on July 24, 2020 at the age of 88 from cardiovascular disease. But before his fame, Philbin, who was born on August 25, 1931, was a United States Navy veteran and the son of a U.S. Marine who served during WWII. He joined the Navy as a supply officer for two years where he served in Coronado, CA.

Nick Primiano, a tech executive, 16-year Marines Gunnery veteran and top LinkedIn poster about the armed forces, highlighted Philbin’s service, a part of his biop few knew about.

Thousands commented, including Raymond Caroli, retired former Deputy Chief and Commanding Officer of NYPD Police Academy, also an alum of Cardinal Hayes, the all-boys Catholic high school in the Bronx. “Hayes has been around for over 75 yrs and is a beacon of hope to the young men of the Bronx who aspire to break out of the cycle of poverty through a solid education, 98% of Hayes graduates go to college.”

“Regis has been a huge benefactor to the school for many many years and has donated tons of funds and coordinated various events. He never forgot where he came from and the importance of this school.”, Caroli continued.

Philbin went on to complete his bachelor’s degree in sociology at the University of Notre dame in 1953.

Regis was best known for his work on the morning show, “Live!” Originally co-hosted with Kathy Lee Gifford, then co-hosted with Kelly Ripa. Philbin also hosted the popular game show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire during its original run on prime time.

His career in the entertainment industry spanned over 60 years and he always had a warm, friendly professional, but playful demeanor which captivated audiences.

He first broke into the business on a local TV talk show of his own namesake, The Regis Philbin Show in 1961 in San Diego, CA on KOGO-TV.

Philbin broke into network TV on the Joey Bishop show in 1967 as Joey’s sidekick.

Regis earned the moniker, ‘the hardest working man in showbiz’ due to his relentless schedule, at times working multiple jobs at the same time.

During the 70’s for instance, Philbin worked as co-anchor for a TV show, A.M. Los Angeles, a local morning talk show on KABC-TV, first with Sarah Purcell (1975 to 1978), then with Cyndy Garvey (1978 to 1981). Philbin’s presence brought the show from the bottom of the local ratings to No. 1.

Simultaneously, Philbin commuted on the weekends to St. Louis, MO to do another TV show, Regis Philbin’s Saturday Night in St. Louis on KMOX-TV (now KMOV).

He went on to host game shows, appear on TV sitcoms as a guest, a regular character and even did voice over work. He appeared on stage in the theater and musicals as well. Philbin was a renaissance man and one of a kind personality. He will be missed.


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