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For budgetary reasons he had no writing staff, so he began each show with what has become his hallmark, the "host chat" segment (influenced by Jack Paar), where he engaged his audience (and later his co-host) in discussions about his life and the day's events.Philbin gained his first national exposure in 1967 as Joey Bishop's sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show on television (1967–1969).
But his feelings were wounded when he learned from the network grapevine that ABC executives were dissatisfied with his work and his thick accent, so during the opening of one 1968 program, he launched an unplanned diatribe about "not being wanted and letting down" the program and abruptly quit on air.A few nights later, assured by Bishop that all was well and the barbs were not personal, Philbin returned.As revealed in his book, How I Got This Way, this was actually all a ruse planned by Bishop and Regis to steal the spotlight and attract some of Johnny Carson's viewers.When The Joey Bishop Show was canceled, Bishop returned the favor and walked off the show on the air unannounced, leaving Philbin to successfully carry the night on his own.He was supposedly named "Regis" because his father wanted him to attend the prestigious Regis High School.It was long believed that Philbin was an only child, but on the February 1, 2007 broadcast of Live with Regis and Kelly, Philbin announced that he did have a brother, Frank M.
Philbin (March 1, 1951 – January 27, 2007), who had died from non-Hodgkin lymphoma several days earlier.
In 1957, Regis left his job as assistant news editor to Baxter Ward at KCOP, Los Angeles to make his fortune in New York. His first talk show was The Regis Philbin Show on KOGO-TV (now KGTV) in San Diego, California.
His trademarks include his excited manner, his Bronx accent, his wit, and his irreverent ad-libs.
Philbin is most widely known as the host of the New York City-based nationally syndicated talk show Live!
with Regis and Kathie Lee starting in 1988, which became Live!
with Regis and Kelly starting in 2001, and continued on with former NFL player Michael Strahan after Philbin's departure in 2011.