The Sky Just Got Another Star

Regis Philbin dies — TV host was 88 - Chicago Sun-Times

As if this year hasn’t proven hard enough on our collective psyche, now the angels steal Regis Philbin from us. And yes, he lived a long, good life and he leaves behind a legacy that would be the envy of the most heralded of Popes. But still, his passing makes for one less thing that’s good with the world.

Regis was one big deal, a Bronx born kid who made good on the biggest stage after breaking into show business as a page on the Johnny Carson show. But his story speaks to the value in holding onto your dreams. Because his road to stardom sure as hell wasn’t paved in gold, and the signs, at least early on, were telling him to get lost.

He moved into Steve Allen’s time slot with a talk show of his own in the early sixties, and tanked. And when it looked as if a national brand was not in the offing, he never stopped being Regis. In the seventies, he did a variety show in St Louis and he also hosted a morning talk show out of Los Angeles. In 1981 he hosted a variety show on NBC with Mary Hart that lasted all of four months. It would take four more years for him to catch some much deserved lightning in a bottle when he paired with Kathie Lee Gifford for a morning show, after which things would never be the same for Reeg.

Or for us either.

Thing about Regis, he never took the ebbs personally. He knew that nothing was given and he considered it a privilege to simply be in the game. So when he got busy making all sorts of history on the flip side of syndication for his show Live, he never considered himself a big deal. Even though he was. In an industry where he won awards and produced big ratings, to setting a Guinness world record for most hours on camera in 2004 to hosting Who Wants to Be a Millionaire– helping to usher in a new age of game shows in the process.

To his lasting credit, the guy never changed. And it’s what we came to love about him most of all. Let’s face it, when you can make Kelly Ripa bearable, you’re doing something right. Regis did that, he made friends . . with everyone. From Presidents to soccer moms, from rappers to writers to Howard Stern. He made everyone believe the world was a better place. And as a fan of the Miami Hurricanes, I couldn’t even hold it against Regis for waving the flag of the Fighting Irish. Yeah, he was that good.

So now the mystic gets him, and I bet he showed up in one of those fantastic suits of his, sporting that signature smile. I sure hope that St Peter gives his people a couple weeks paid vacation for landing Regis.

They deserve it.


58 thoughts on “The Sky Just Got Another Star

  1. B,

    When you told me you were doing a special post on Regis, I hadn’t yet heard he had passed! Bloody hell this avoiding the news thing is not always a good thing.. I am amazed no one I know posted it on FB, FFS.

    K. Got that out of my system. Regis Phlibin was a gentleman through and through. When they say to live your life with grace, they should put up Reeg’s face with a link to his bio so they can see how it’s done.

    There are those people out there, and they are few, who live their lives with aplomb. This was him. The sky got a shiny star for sure, this time.

    Beautiful tribute, Bronx.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written and well deserved.
    You’re right, the world is a less happy place without him here. The thing I always liked about him is his ability to laugh at himself. He wasn’t afraid to make himself look foolish on his shows and in turn he endeared himself to everyone. So many people think they have a sense humor but unless you can laugh at yourself, you just don’t get it. And yes, he never forgot where he came from. He was one of kind and perfectly made for television. His light will certainly be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re another thing I can’t hold against the Irish. You guys . . . stop being so damned awesome, will ya? 🙂

      He WAS a real human being. He wasn’t a star in his own life, he was a human being who played a star on TV. You’re right, Boss.

      And thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t realize he was a Bronx boy. Should’a known. He was so well liked, by everyone. I remember a neighbor I had weeping when he retired. She said, “Who will I have my coffee with now?” I always remembered that. He had a great life, and was so well loved.

    We should all be able to check out with that stamped on our passport.

    Godspeed Reg!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To ease the pain of homesickness, I one day turned in to Live with Regis and Kathy Lee. It wasn’t home, but it helped ease me into a life in the new one. It was Regis Philbin who helped me find a kind of joy in my new surroundings.

    Wonderful remembrance. Thank you. ~Janet

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That was a sweet tribute. He was entertaining that’s for sure and don’t think there was scandal in his life like these new cardboard cutouts they have now. It was always funny his hardcore love of The Fighting Irish that always stands out, that and how he gave hundreds of thousands of people smiles, smiles and shiny new suits with the same color tie. Every guy I knew was sporting the Regis look. It was sad to see that in the news, all the good ones keep going and leaving us here with crappy people. A few good ones left though…

    Liked by 1 person

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