When Meredith Vieira appeared as a celebrity guest during a special Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? episode with the late Regis Philbin as host, she was already a veteran television star by then. However, even the host of the daytime Millionaire was nervous about appearing with the legendary Philbin. In fact, she got so nervous she vomited before the show started.
"I was once a guest on the primetime version for charity," Vieira said during a visit to E! News' Daily Pop Friday. "I literally threw up before I went on the air. That's how scared I was!" Vieira appeared on Daily Pop ahead of the premiere of her new game show, 25 Words or Less. The syndicated daytime game show is returning for a second season in September, with teams competing in pods and Vieira hosting from her home in New York City due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After the primetime version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? with Philbin ended in 2002, Vieira took over the syndicated daytime version until 2013. In 2004 and 2009, Philbin returned for special event episodes. In April, ABC revived the show, with Jimmy Kimmel hosting and celebrities competing. After Philbin died earlier this month, Vieira recalled his "kindness" in an interview with PEOPLE.
"Well the obvious that everyone will miss is he was the constant entertainer," the former Today Show anchor said. "He's in a league by himself or with just a handful of folks through the years. He was so good at conversation, so good at listening and such a great listener." Vieira said she will miss his kindness the most and remembered him as a "humble" man who often laughed at himself. He also offered her some advice when she began hosting her talk show The Meredith Vieira Show.
"It's really hard to launch a talk show, really, really hard — and hard to get people to come on. Is it going to be good, is it not? Nobody wants to be the one to step into the pool first," Vieira told PEOPLE, adding that Philbin was one of the first to offer help. "[He] didn't have to do that," she recalled. "He did it because I think he knew what it was like. He wanted to show his support."
Philbin died on July 24 from natural causes, just a month before his 89th birthday, his family said. He was laid to rest at Cedar Grove Cemetary at Notre Dame University. "Regis was laid to rest at his beloved Notre Dame, following a private ceremony on Wednesday," Philbin's family said in a statement on July 31. "Again, our family would like to thank everyone for the incredible love and support you've given us and for the hilarious tributes and touching memories you've shared."