Regis Philbin Signs Off Live!: "See You Again Real Soon"

Entertainment Nov. 18, 2011 AT 10:56AM
Regis Philbin Signs Off Live!: "See You Again Real Soon" Credit: Disney-ABC Domestic TV/ David Russell

Regis Philbin has signed off Live! for the very last time.

Wrapping his 28-year run on Live! With Regis and Kelly, the 80-year-old was visibly moved by the TV tribute his cohost, Kelly Ripa, and the Live! staff put on in his honor Friday.

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"I feel OK, I feel pretty good," Philbin said after walking out on stage hand-in-hand with Ripa. "I feel the weight of the whole thing…'Where is Regis going?' I don't know - stop asking me!" he kidded, referring to his next career move.

As celebs like Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez and Shia LaBeouf shared favorite Philbin memories, Ripa launched into an emotional speech about working with the TV vet for the last 11 years.

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"For 28 years, millions of viewers have had the great fortune of starting their day with you. For 11 years, I have had the great fortune of starting my day sitting next to you," she said. "You took this soap actress and plopped her behind a desk and made her your partner in crime. My life is forever changed."

"As you go forward, I'm thinking of the people at home who are suffering from cancer… the mother who's been up nursing all night, who watch you and your story makes them feel better," Ripa continued. "I look forward to your next steps and hope they fill you with the joy you've filled all of us with all these years."

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The legendary New York-bred broadcaster -- who was feted by the cast of Rent in a musical tribute -- also received the key to the city from Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "You have been New York City's biggest fan for 28 years and I wanted to tell you New York feels the same about you. On behalf of 8.4 million New Yorkers, I want to give you the key to the city," Bloomberg said, as Donald Trump, Philbin's former cohost Kathie Lee Gifford and other stars looked on from the VIP audience.

Though his colleague Ripa got emotional during his farewell, Philbin remained stoic, even in his final send-off.

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"This was the last chance I had in this business: To make it here in New York," he reasoned. "I guess it was fate that it happened this way. I'll never be able to answer all the letters and messages that have poured in but I'll always remember spending these mornings with all of you. God bless you all and I hope I see you again real soon."

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