Regis Philbin died at the age of 88, leaving behind his wife, Joy Philbin, and four children. He came from a large family, but he wasn’t a stranger to grief. His own son died years earlier, and his younger brother died of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Philbin died at the age of 88, just one month before his 89th birthday, People reported. In a statement to People, his family said:
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 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.
Here’s what you need to know about his kids and family.
1. His Dad Was in the Navy & His Mother Was an Italian Immigrant
Philbin was born to Francis “Frank” Philbin and Filomena “Florence” Philbin. His dad was a U.S. Marine who had served in the South Pacific in World War II and his mom was an Italian immigrant from Greci, Campania. Philbin grew up in the Bronx and was raised a Catholic.
Philbin told the Wall Street Journal that he was named after the Catholic Regis High School in Manhattan because his dad had gotten into a fight with a priest there and felt really bad about it. He said his dad worked at Sperry Gyroscope in the personnel department on Long Island. Philbin said his dad had told him that he flew one of the biplanes that circled the Empire State Building in King Kong, but he was never certain if that was a joke or not.
2. His Younger Brother Died of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
An iconic Regis Philbin moment from ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ (1999).
May he rest in peace. 🕊pic.twitter.com/2clabBgF4O
— Complex (@Complex) July 25, 2020
Regis Philbin had one brother, Frank M. Philbin, who was 20 years younger than him, the New York Post reported.
On January 27, 2007, Frank Philbin died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the age of 55. Regis Philbin hadn’t mentioned his brother in the press over the years at his brother’s request. Frank had wanted to stay out of the spotlight. He was a pilot in the Air Force for seven years and then had a 25-year career as a pilot with Delta. He was survived by his wife, Cathy.
Regis said about his brother: “He was a lot younger than I was. I was at Notre Dame when he was born, so I kind of grew up not knowing him because I was out in Hollywood knocking on doors when he was in grammar school. He turned out to be a terrific young guy.”
3. He Had an Aunt Who Was ‘Tough’ & an Uncle Who Helped Him Get a Job with NBC
Legendary TV personality, game show host and author Regis Philbin has passed away at age 88. 🕊 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/AuMYRL4fOe
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) July 25, 2020
Philbin also had an aunt who was “tough,” he told the Wall Street Journal. He said that for a while, he and his family lived in a two-story house on the ground floor. His aunt owned the home and lived on the second floor. He said that every night at 9 p.m., she’d go down the dark stairs to turn off the furnace, and she was never scared.
He said that after he served in the Navy, his Uncle Mike got him a job as a page at NBC Manhattan. A few months later he was offered a job in LA and although he felt conflicted, he moved out there because he knew that’s where the TV industry was heading.
4. Philbin Had a Son & Daughter With His First Wife
Regis Philbin had two children with his first wife, Catherine “Kay” Faylen. They had their first child, Amy Philbin, in 1961 and their second child, Daniel Philbin, in 1967. They divorced a year after Daniel was born.
Amy Philbin, Regis’ oldest child, was born in 1961. She’s stayed mostly out of the spotlight, but had pursued a singing career, Closer Weekly reported.
Daniel Philbin died in 2014 at the age of 49, ET Canada reported. He was born with a spinal cord defect that required his legs to be amputated, Closer Weekly reported. He was honored by the Department of Defense for his contributions after September 11, 2001.
5. He Had Two Daughters With His Second Wife
Philbin married his wife Joy in 1970 and they were still married when he passed away. He and Joy Philbin had two children: Joanna Philbin (born 1973) and J.J. Philbin (born 1974.)
Joanna attended Brown University and is a successful author. Her numerous books include The Daughters series, Since Last Summer, and more. According to her bio, she worked at Seventeen, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and Miramax Films after graduating from Brown University. She moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to work in TV writing and got a job with Las Vegas. During the writer’s strike, she worked on her book and sold it eight months later.
J.J. is also in the TV industry like her dad, working as a producer and writer. She wrote for Mad TV after graduating from the University of Notre Dame and then joined the script department of SNL. She also wrote for the ABC series That Was Then and is known for her work with New Girl and The O.C. She’s married to Michael Schur and they have two children: Ivy Elizabeth and William.
J.J. was the co-creator and executive producer for Single Parents. When it launched, she wanted her dad to appear on the show, ET Online reported. He appeared as a guest for one episode as part of a birth storyline.
Regis said about his daughter’s role as executive producer: “She’s tough, but she’s good.”