Kathie Lee and Regis became an iconic daytime duo, beginning in 1988 on ABC’s “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee.” They hosted the show together until Gifford left the show in 2002. However, the two remained close. They were often spotted together at dinner or at events, and Philbin joined Gifford on “Today” in 2017.
Philbin died Friday, July 24, 2020 at age 88. Philbin had been suffering from heart disease, although he had been in relatively good health since his retirement, TMZ reported. Giffin shared a message of strength and heartbreak Saturday morning, before news of his death was widely known.
Here’s what you need to know:
Kathie Lee Shared a Message of Heartbreak & Perseverance Soon After Regis Philbin’s Death
— E! News (@enews) July 25, 2020
Kathie Lee Gifford called on her faith to persevere through the despair of losing Regis Philbin, her longtime friend and former colleague. She wrote on Twitter early Saturday morning, sharing a scripture about eternal life and about holding steadfast to faith.
Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. I Timothy 6:12 LORD, give us the strength we need to persevere on our journey. Hold us up by Your righteous right hand and deliver us from despair.🙏🏻
— Kathie Lee Gifford (@KathieLGifford) July 25, 2020
“Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. I Timothy 6:12,” she wrote on Twitter early Saturday morning. “LORD, give us the strength we need to persevere on our journey. Hold us up by Your righteous right hand and deliver us from despair.🙏🏻”
Regis Philbin’s family shared news of his death with PEOPLE on Saturday. He was only one month away from his 89th birthday.
“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,” his family shared in a statement with PEOPLE Saturday. “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.”
Kathie Lee Gifford & Regis Philbin Remained Close After She Left ‘Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee’ in 2002
So sorry to hear about the sad news about Regis and can’t help but think of you, Kathie. Prayers for you and his family and may God give you all comfort!🙏💔
RIP Regis, we’ll miss you deeply! pic.twitter.com/wNoS5fwgC8
— Ana Sofía (@anasof) July 25, 2020
Kathie Lee Gifford and Regis Philbin remained close friends after she left ABC’s “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee” in 2002. They were often spotted together. PEOPLE reported they spotted them catching up over dinner at Craig’s in West Hollywood in January of 2018.
In March of 2018, Regis joined Kathie Lee on Today when Hoda Kotb was out on maternity leave.
“I’m happy you’re back — we can have some laughs now,” Gifford told Philbin at the beginning of the show.
They tested their relationship in a game show inspired by “The Newlywed Game,” facing off against a married couple in “The Dynamic Duo Duel.”
Gifford won the first round, naming Philbin’s favorite song, “Pennies from Heaven” by Bing Crosby. In the second round, they both said the other was the funniest. In the final round, the duos were asked to name each other’s phobias.
Kathie Lee wrote “death” on the whiteboard, saying to Regis, “It’s the same as mine.”
“I hadn’t thought of that,” he answered.
Regis Philbin Presented Kathie Lee Giffin With The Visionary Award in February 2020
— TrekCore.com 🖖 (@TrekCore) July 25, 2020
Kathie Lee Giffin was named the winner of The Visionary Award at the Movieguide Awards in a ceremony that aired on Hallmark Drama in February, 2020. You can watch the full presentation here, and the touching reunion between Giffin and longtime co-host, Philbin.
They shared a hug as he handed her the award.
““Most of the time, I go, ‘Why? Why me?’” she said in her acceptance speech. “All I’ve been doing my whole life is walking with Jesus. And he takes me on adventures, since I was 12 years old. All I wanted to be when I was growing up was an actress and a singer.”
When Giffin announced she was leaving “Today,” she said on her show Philbin gave her a message.
“Kath, I’m so happy for you,’” Gifford said Philbin told her. “‘There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the 15 years we spent together and how much I loved you.’ He said, ‘It was never the same after you left’ because it isn’t.”