In the wake of Regis Philbin’s death, his son-in-law has shared one of the best tributes yet to his decades-long career in broadcasting.
Philbin, whose career included nationally syndicated morning talk show Live With Regis and Kathie Lee and the phenomenally successful game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, died July 24 of a heart attack from coronary heart disease. He was 88.
One week later, Michael Schur, who married Philbin’s daughter Jennifer Joy “J.J.” in 2005, shared several letters that the TV legend’s family had found while sorting through his papers. He said he thought it explained how “monumental” his career had been. Schur said he had been looking for a way to do that for more than 20 years.
We sorted through decades of papers, pictures, and other memorabilia (he kept *everything*). We found a million autographed books and photos, from every notable person you can think of. Then, in his office, I found four pieces of paper that kind of tell the whole story.— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) July 31, 2020
The proof was in several games the avid sports fan had covered. Philbin had saved the scripts he used for reporting on games played by baseball legends including Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams.
His first time doing sports on TV. 1956. Regis is 25, and he's on TV talking about Mickey Mantle (who won the MVP that year, at 24), Ted Williams, and Duke Snider. It was so long ago, the Cleveland Browns led the news. Harvey Haddix, he of the 12-inning perfect game, got a save.— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) July 31, 2020
You want to see a career no one will ever duplicate? Here it is. A guy who was on TV when Harvey Haddix struck out Duke Snider, and also handed million-dollar checks on a futuristic game show set. A guy who reported on both Lou Groza and Eli Manning, Yogi Berra and Gary Sanchez.— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) July 31, 2020
Regis hated "memory lane," so I hope he forgives me for this one last trip. No one will ever be what he was, in the medium he dedicated his life to. What a run.— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) July 31, 2020
Both Schur and J.J. Philbin work in TV. He’s written and produced shows including Parks and Recreation, The Good Place and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Her credits include writing and producing New Girl, Single Parents and The O.C.
Schur shared his loving words about his late loved one two days after the TV star was buried in a private ceremony on the campus of his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. “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,” his family told Entertainment Tonight in a statement.
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