After nearly three decades of weekday morning antics and interviews, Regis Philbin is stepping off his chair for good.
Philbin on Tuesday told the audience of the “Live with Regis and Kelly” show in New York that he was planning to retire after the summer, but he did not give an exact departure date.
“There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera — especially certain old people!” said Philbin, who turns 80 in August.
The show’s producers said “Live” will continue on with a new co-host joining Kelly Ripa, who has been with the show for nearly 10 years. Ripa replaced Kathy Lee Gifford in 2001.
Philbin called David Letterman later Tuesday during the taping of Letterman’s late night show.
“I’m telling you, I’m sick about this, ladies and gentlemen, because he’s one of a kind, and television will not be the same, and it’s just — it’s making me ill. God bless Regis Philbin,” Letterman said on air.
The Emmy Award-winning Philbin has been on television for more than 40 years and has hosted “Live” since it premiered in 1983 with the name “The Morning Show.” The show, “Live with Regis and Kelly” has been syndicated for 23 years.
David Bushman, curator for television at the Paley Center for Media said Philbin “will go down as an iconic daytime television figure.”
“His personality is so perfect for the medium. He opened up his life, almost like a reality TV star, in the sense that you know so much about his real life,” Bushman said. “His heart surgery is just one example of that. … People find an Everyman quality to him.”
Philbin started his career in show business as a ‘page’ on the Westinghouse Tonight Show in 1964. One of his first breaks in television came by serving as the sidekick in “The Joey Bishop Show” during the 60’s which competed with the Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. In 2004, he set the record for “Most Hours on TV” by the Guinness Book of World records.