Remembering her friend. Kathie Lee Gifford broke her silence on Saturday, July 25, following the death of her longtime cohost and close friend Regis Philbin. The host died on Friday, July 24, at the age of 88.
“There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis,” she captioned a photo of the pair on Instagram. “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.”
“I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he’s making someone laugh,” she concluded. “It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace. I send all the love in my heart to Joy, to his children, to the rest of his family and to the innumerable people he touched over his legendary life. There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be.”
Gifford, 66, and Philbin hosted Live with Regis and Kathie Lee (originally titled The Morning Show) from 1985 until 2000, when she exited the show. The duo had remained friends through the years. Though the actress moved on to the Today Show, hosting alongside Hoda Kotb from 2008 to 2019, Philbin came by to visit often, appearing on the show multiple times through the years.
The former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host and Gifford were nominated for Outstanding Talk Show Host during the Daytime Emmy Awards for eight years in a row from 1993 to 2000.
When she exited the Today show in April 2019, Philbin sent in a video for Gifford.
“Kathie Lee, you want to know the best part of my life? My TV life? Was in the 15 years I spent with you, from 1985 to 2000,” he shared. “We stayed friends through the entire game and it was a lot of fun. I know you’re going to be moving on to a great new career, making movies. And since I’ve seen the first one, I know you’re going to be a great success. I really mean it. I want you to know how I will always remember the great times that we had working together and how you are as a person: just great.”
A month later, the A Godwink Christmas star thanked Philbin after winning a Daytime Emmy. “I want to thank Regis because he taught me everything I know about showing up and being real,” she said at the time. The following year, the How I Got This Way author presented his former cohost with the Visionary Award during the Movieguide Awards.
Philbin’s family revealed he had passed away in a statement on Saturday, July 25.
“We are deeply saddened to share that our beloved Regis Philbin passed away last night of natural causes, one month shy of his 89th birthday,” the Philbin family shared with 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.”