Arts & Entertainment

Regis Philbin Hosts Last Episode of "Live" After 28 Years

TelevisionEntertainmentConcertsMusicKelly RipaLive! with Kelly and Michael (tv program)Kathie Lee Gifford

NEW YORK (KTLA) -- It's the end of an era. Regis Philbin hosted his last "Live with Regis and Kelly" show on Friday.

Philbin, 80, has co-hosted the show for 28 years, and has worked in live television for nearly five decades.

Philbin's final appearance on "Live" included many touching tributes to the show business veteran.

The star-studded audience included Katie Couric, Donald Trump, Tony Danza, Alan Alda and Meredith Vieira. Former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford was also on hand.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave Philbin a symbolic key to the city.

Several celebrities, including Justin Timberlake and Anne Hathaway, recorded video tributes to Philbin.

Another segment called "Being Regis" featured the many celebrities who have tried to imitate Philbin over the years, including Dana Carvey, Ben Affleck, Darrell Hammond, Tom Hanks and Neil Patrick Harris.

Co-host Kelly Ripa had kind words for Regis, who she credited with helping her transition from soap-opera actress to talk show host.

"Your light is what shines around all of us and made us look so bright for so long," she said.

Philbin's wife, Joy, and two daughters spoke lovingly about Regis, the family man.

In the final moments, Regis thanked the staff, crew, producers and co-hosts.

"Twenty eight and a half years, and we've had a wonderful show and a great time," Philbin said.

"Some people ask why has the show stayed on so long," Philbin said.

"They watch it they say because it makes them feel better and it can't get better than that," he said. "It makes them happy, and I'll never be able to top that."

No word yet on a replacement for Regis on "Live." Jerry Seinfeld will host with Kelly Ripa next Monday through Wednesday.

Philbin says he has had offers to work on several projects, but nothing yet that he is considering.

He made the announcement that he was leaving during the show's January 18 broadcast.

"It's been 28 years and it was the biggest thrill of my life to come back to New York, where I grew up as a kid watching TV in the early days," he said.

"There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera -- especially certain old people!" he added.

Philbin later explained that "contractual issues" were part of his decision to leave, but he insisted that he was planning to call it quits anyways.

In addition to his morning show, Philbin has hosted "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire," "America's Got Talent" and "Million Dollar Password."

The morning show took off in 1985, when he was paired with Kathie Lee Gifford. The show became nationally syndicated as "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee" in 1988.

When Gifford left in 2000, the show was temporarily named "Live with Regis," and Philbin was joined by a rotating cast of guest hosts.

Kelly Ripa was chosen as the permanent co-host in 2001, and the show was re-named "Live with Regis and Kelly."

Philbin was won two Daytime Emmy Awards, in 2001 and 2011.

He also set a Guinness World Record on the August 20, 2004 "Live" show for "Most Hours on Camera," with a total of 15,188 hours on television. His on-air hours have continued to accumulate since then.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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