The man who started it all. Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest honored original Live host Regis Philbin three days after the TV legend’s death.
“Mark [Consuelos] and I were lucky enough to have all of our children with us this past weekend on Saturday, so we were all together when we heard this horrible news,” the All My Children alum, 49, began with tears in her eyes. “As people get older, you always know that certain things are inevitable, and passing away is one of those things, but Regis is one of the people that we all believed would somehow figure out a way around the inevitable. It was not in the cards, I suppose.”
The American Idol host, 45, added, “I got a text in the morning on this day over the weekend, and I actually didn’t believe it. … It was before the news came out, and I sent you a note and I said, ‘I hope this is just a rumor and not true.’ For a minute, I convinced myself it was just a rumor, and then of course we saw the news.”
Seacrest also remembered looking up to Philbin as a young broadcaster and feeling like he “had made it” in the industry when they finally worked together years later on ABC’s Disney parade.
Philbin died at the age of 88 on Friday, July 24, from natural causes. The following day, the former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host’s loved ones said in a statement to Us Weekly, “His family and friends are forever grateful for the time we got to spend with him — for his warmth, his legendary sense of humor and his singular ability to make every day into something worth talking about. We thank his fans and admirers for their incredible support over his 60-year career and ask for privacy as we mourn his loss.”
Ripa and Seacrest previously paid tribute to Philbin via Instagram. They shared the same statement on Saturday, July 25: “We are beyond saddened to learn about the loss of Regis Philbin. He was the ultimate class act, bringing his laughter and joy into our homes everyday on Live for more than 23 years. We were beyond lucky to have him as a mentor in our careers and aspire everyday to fill his shoes on the show. We send our deepest love and condolences to his family and hope they can find some comfort in knowing he left the world a better place.”
Live began as The Morning Show in 1983, with Philbin and Cyndy Garvey as hosts. It became a national success in 1988 when Kathie Lee Gifford replaced Garvey, now 71, and the show was rebranded Live With Regis and Kathie Lee. Ripa took over Gifford’s seat in 2001 and has hosted the ABC talk show ever since. Philbin walked away from the series in 2011, and Seacrest joined Ripa six years later on what is now known as Live With Kelly and Ryan.
Gifford, 66, took to Instagram on Saturday to remember Philbin, writing, “There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift. We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly—a tradition and a friendship we shared up to this very day. … There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.”
Philbin is survived by his wife of 50 years, Joy Philbin, and three daughters. He shared Amy with ex-wife Kay Faylen and Joanna and J.J. with Joy. His and Faylen’s son, Daniel, died in 2014.
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