Regis Philbin dies at 88: Reports
s television and he was the face of morning tv in the united states for more than 20 years in 1988 he started on the popular live with regis and kathy lee on abc and, of course, Some may remember him as the first host of who wants to be a millionaire known for his excitable personality: warmth, humor, his new york accent and his distinctive delivery. Philbin was loved by audiences beginning his career as a tv writer before making his way in front of the camera back in 1961 and according to people magazine, his family, said in a statement that he died of natural causes. Well, in 2009, tamara tiger traveled to new york to co host with regis philbin for a day on, live with regis and kelly. She was working with ctv at the time joins us in vancouver, tamera nice to see you nice to meet you michael now. Full disclosure tamara – and i not only worked with each other at another network i’ll just say our desks were not that far apart, so it really is good to be speaking with you today. You know i want to begin uh with how you even got to to co host with regis philbin. As we say, 2009 walk us through how that opportunity, even presented itself to you it’s hard to believe it was 11 years ago. I was um. It was right before the olympics and i was doing the weather at um uh during the the five o’clock six o’clock news, uh and uh.
There was this. I guess it’s kind of like a contest that went out to all the tv stations uh across north america that aired regis and kelly and it was to host a day with regis, while kelly was on vacation and then they flipped it. A couple of weeks later and did the same thing to replace kelly or to replace regis when he went on vacation and it was super fun. I was the only canadian that went. It was the first time i had ever been to new york. I mean what a way to go to new york um stayed in a fancy hotel uh. I knew that the guests that day were they were geraldo rivera and it was um. Oh my gosh, why am i renee zellweger? How could i forget bernie zellweger? I was so nervous i can’t yeah yeah. I just can’t explain how nervous let’s talk about that, because you know in the introduction we said that you know he was the face of morning tv in the united states, but that show which also aired in canada airs in canada and it’s. You know recent iteration most recent one. It was a huge ratings grab at the time. So how daunting was it for you? Yes, here you are entering this contest to want to co host with regis, but how daunting was it for you to say well i’m going to sit beside mr tv, this man, who that has dominated american television for decades now yeah, and i mean i didn’t, even Enter the contest the station entered it, you know, on behalf of the network, decided oh let’s enter these.
You know these two people, one from toronto, one from vancouver on from the network to go. I had nothing to wear. I have just had a baby uh. I started going to the gym as soon as i found out that i won the gym immediately and i was um saying uh i borrowed the dress from uh fancy store. I got a new parachute and um. I i just couldn’t believe it was happening, and i remember because i’ve been married, that you know a few years earlier and i remember the best advice i got when i got married was discover every minute of the day. People go by like that and you won’t remember anything, so i thought okay i’m going to be present for every single. Second, no matter how nervous i am yeah, it was so hot. It was august in new york and um, and everything just started to happen. So fast and the weirdest part michael, was when i got there and i’m in the abc studios in the basement. It was nothing fancy at all about that, because you know here you are in the basement. As you say, nothing tv always looks better on screen than it does in real life, but talk to us about that moment that regis actually introduced himself to you, because my understanding is, he was really quite kind with you. He was very kind, so they said you’re not going to meet him before you grow up, and i said okay, so i sat in my dressing room, uh, extremely nervous and i could hear him in the hallway and he popped his head in the door and he Yelled in his way very tight and um and then he closed the door and disappeared.
And i um is that weakness and of course he did it again and he did it again and then he came in and sat down with me and uh and we had a little chat. This is when i was giving him um a canadian hockey jersey and i had all these gifts from the olympics for him and he um. He was just so kind to me and when it was time to go, he came to my dressing room. He opened the door and said: are you ready to go kid and i said oh, my gosh, he said it’s gon na be great and grabbed my hand and we walked down the hallway and, as we were walking i said i’m so nervous. I couldn’t uh, my heart was just pounding in my throat and i said i’m so nervous and you think you’re gon na be great right and that’s. What he worked off of was with two cards and i loved it. I loved seeing how he did well. You know i have to ask, though, and forgive me for jumping in because we have about one minute left, though, now that you hear this news, and many people are saddened by this news, because again they they know regis building through television. How are you feeling to hear that he has passed away now? Well, i’m, sad! I mean you know i i think about what he contributed to um a lot of us growing up and watching tv and watching him for seconds um.
But you know what what i’m grateful for is that i got to experience his kindness and how giving he was um. How he allowed me to talk. I mean, as you know, live television is not easy. When you’re sitting beside him, he had a way of treating everybody. The same i mean this is my experience and what i saw and his charisma walks in the room before he does. Definitely he is probably one of the most charismatic people i have ever been in the same room. You know tamara. I knew you would be the perfect person to speak with once your name came up. So listen. I miss you i’m. So glad we were able to talk today and thanks for sharing that i miss you too.