On Friday, TV host Regis Philbin died at age 88. He is survived by his wife, Joy Philbin, and his children.
In a statement to People, Philbin’s family wrote, “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.”
The couple was together for nearly five decades.
Read on to learn more about Philbin’s wife, Joy.
1. She Appeared in ‘Miss Congeniality 2’
Joy was born on February 1, 1941, in New York City as Bette Joy Senese.
Her IMDB page reveals she appeared as herself in the 2005 film Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous.
She also played herself in the 1993 TV series Mad About You in the episode, “The Man Who Said Hello.”
Other TV appearances include Home & Family, Entertainment Tonight, Today, Rachael Ray, Live with Kelly and Ryan, and Late Show with David Letterman, among others.
In 2015, Regis and Joy performed together at Foxwoods. Asked what they would be sharing with their audience by the CT Post, Joy said, “Some singing and amusing stories. Regis has lived a long life and has lots of funny tales to tell. I join him midway and we sing together.”
2. She and Regis Have Two Daughters
Regis and Joy have two daughters together: Joanna Philbin, born in 1973, and J.J. Philbin, born in 1974.
J.J. attended the University of Notre Dame and started writing for Mad TV after graduation. She then joined the script department for SNL before becoming a writer on the ABC drama series That Was Then.
Today, J.J. works as a producer and writer and is best known for the TV series New Girl and The O.C. J.J. has been married to Michael Schur, a series creator, writer, and producer known for The Office and Parks and Recreation, since 2005. The couple met while working on SNL. Together, they have two children: Ivy Elizabeth and William.
In 2000, J.J. and the other SNL writers were nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award in the Comedy/Variety Series.
Regis’ daughter Joanna attended Brown University as an undergrad. An accomplished author, she has written books such as The Daughters Take the Stage Series, Rules of Summer, and Since Last Summer.
3. She Occasionally Co-Hosted With Her Husband
From time to time, Joy would co-host Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. She also appeared as a co-host on Live with Regis and Kelly in Ripa’s absence.
In a 2011 interview with Parade ahead of Regis’ final taping of Live with Regis and Kelly, Joy shared of her husband, “I’m looking forward to him being challenged by something he hasn’t done before. I’m hoping that it will be a short retirement before he goes back to something. I think it’s going to be an adventure. We hate the thought of moving on because the whole show and the staff are like family and it’s going to be a very sad departure.”
Asked if the two would ever consider a reality show, Joy joked, “You mean where the camera follows you around all day? Where you get up in the morning and they’re in your kitchen waiting for you? I can tell you that’s not going to happen!”
When the CT Post asked about Joy and Regis co-hosting and performing together as a pair, Joy offered, “We never knew what one would say to the other. One time Regis and I had a disagreement the night before, so when we got onstage I wasn’t really speaking to him. Everything was live and there was obviously a chill between us; you can’t fake those things in front of the camera. We let the audience in on it, told them what had happened, and then took a vote (to see who was right.)”
4. Joy Is Regis’ Second Wife
Regis and Joy married in 1970. Prior to that, he was married to Catherine Faylen from 1955 to 1968. Faylen was the daughter of actor Frank Faylen.
With Faylen, Regis had a daughter, Amy, and a son, Daniel. Daniel, otherwise known as Danny, according to The Life and Times of Hollywood, was born with a spinal cord defect that required both his legs to be removed. Danny passed away in November 2014 from natural causes. He was 49. During his life, he worked with the Defense Department workforce; in 2002, Danny was one of 16 people with disabilities honored for outstanding contributions.
In their retirement, Regis and Joy split their time between New York City and Beverly Hills.
In November 2019, the couple sold their English-inspired mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, which they had originally purchased in 2008 for $7.2 million. It sold for $4.595 million, according to Greenwich Time.
5. Regis ‘Worshipped’ Joy
In a recent interview with Closer Weekly, a source close to the couple shared, “Regis worships the ground Joy walks on. They truly are best friends. Everyone loves Regis and Joy, they’re great company, have amazing stories, and they compliments each other perfectly. It’s one of Hollywood’s longest lasting marriages and a true love story.”
In their interview with Parade, the couple was asked what the secret is to a long, happy marriage in Hollywood.
Regis joked, “What is the secret, Joy? My fear of you?”
Joy added, “There’s just something about Regis. There’s always something new on the horizon and it keeps our lives active and fun. I’d rather be with Regis than any other person in the world.”