This morning, Regis Philbin blew a kiss and said goodbye to his loyal morning show audience of more than 28 years.
Philbin, 80, has been a ubiquitous presence on America's small screens for 50 years, from The Joey Bishop Show
in the 1960s to millennial game show hit Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
, and holds the world record for most time on television, with approximately 17,000 hours.
This morning, surrounded by family, friends and crying admirers, including his Live with Regis and Kelly
co-host Kelly Ripa, Philbin celebrated his final hour on the program with a joyful look back at his career -- sprinkled, as always, with Philbin's trademark spontaneous wit. After a sweet-bordering-on-saccharine montage entitled, "You Make Me Smile," Philbin's evaluation was, "A little long, but okay." And when it came time for his final words, he joked to his producer, "Let's get this over with!"
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The star-studded audience for his final hour included Katie Couric, Donald Trump, Tony Danza, Disney CEO Robert Iger, Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford (his co-host before Kelly), Alan Alda, Meredith Vieira and Diane Sawyer. Others, including Justin Timberlake and Anne Hathaway, offered pre-filmed tributes.
Other honors included a key to the city courtesy of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, and a commemorative plaque, ABC's first ever, outside their Manhattan studio.From his Farewell Special, watch a look back at Regis's return to New York City in 1983:Watch Regis's final words on Live with Regis and Kelly:And finally, from last night's episode, watch David Letterman's "Top Ten Things We'll Miss About Regis":
Philbin may be leaving his morning show, but he's not retiring. His immediate plans include a tour to promote his new book, How I Got This Way.
After that? Even he doesn't know. "Where's Regis going?" he said. "Regis doesn't know. Stop asking me!"
What will you miss about Regis? And will you tune in Monday when the show morphs into Live with Kelly?
(Image courtesy of ABC)