Kathie Lee Gifford is mourning the death of one of her closest friends, Regis Philbin. She posted a tribute to the late TV host following his death on Friday at the age of 88 due to natural causes. In this post, Gifford reflected upon her 15 years with Philbin while co-hosting Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee.
"There are no words to fully express the love I have for my precious friend, Regis. I simply adored him and every day with him was a gift. We spent 15 years together bantering and bickering and laughing ourselves silly—a tradition and a friendship we shared up to this very day. I smile knowing somewhere in Heaven, at this very moment, he's making someone laugh," Gifford captioned her photo alongside the late TV legend. "It brings me great comfort knowing that he had a personal relationship with his Lord that brought him great peace. I send all the love in my heart to Joy, to his children, to the rest of his family and to the innumerable people he touched over his legendary life. There has never been anyone like him. And there never will be."
View this post on Instagram
The two TV personalities helmed the morning show for a staggering 15 years (1985-2000). During this time, they drew rave reviews and showcased impressive chemistry. The co-hosts earned eight consecutive nominations for Outstanding Talk Show Host (1993-2000) during the Daytime Emmy Awards.
Following their time together, Gifford stepped away from morning television in 2000. She later returned in 2008, joining Today. She worked alongside co-host Hoda Kotb until April 2019, following an announcement that she would step away to move to Nashville.
Philbin continued hosting Live! following Gifford's departure. He partnered with new co-host Kelly Ripa and remained on the morning schedule until 2011. He ultimately retired from a packed schedule. Although Philbin walked away from television as a champion after he and Ripa shared the Outstanding Talk Show Host Emmy in 2011 and 2012.
When Gifford later left the Today show after 11 years, her former co-host showcased the strength of their friendship. Philbin recorded a special video for her final show and talked about the impact that she made on his life. "Kathie Lee, you want to know the best part of my life — my TV life — was the 15 years I spent with you," he said in the video. "I want you to know how I will always remember the great times that we had working together and how you are as a person, just great."
Gifford also said that Philbin personally reached out to her when he heard she was leaving Today and said that he was "so happy" for her. He also said that "not a day goes by" that he doesn't think about their 15 years together. "It was never the same after you left' because it isn't," Philbin told his former co-host.
Philbin is survived by his daughters, Joanna Philbin, Amy Philbin and comedy writer J.J. Philbin. His son, Daniel Philbin, died in 2014. Philbin was married to Catherine Faylen, the mother of Daniel, from 1955 to 1968 and Joy Senese from 1970 until his death.