Regis Philbin, who died last week at the age 88, was remembered Friday on the morning show that he started in 1983 and retired from in 2011.
Regis was a great story-teller and left the audience and viewers of “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” (and later “Live with Regis and Kelly”) laughing about his time at his beloved Notre Dame, his family and his adventures in New York City.
I have heard many celebrities who were on the talk show share stories of how they always felt like they were Regis’ best friend. That he made them feel so comfortable and at ease. That he always spoke to them when he saw them later at events and even at random encounters. They said he just treated them like a real friend.
I have my own Regis story where I can confirm that you really do feel like his friend after talking with him for only a few minutes, which is not always the case with “celebrities.” I attended several tapings of the “Live with Regis and Kelly” morning show on visits to NYC. Regis always visited with members of the audience during commercial breaks and after the show. One time, my friend and I got a photo with him and he gave us a suggestion on where to go for lunch. He was so friendly and gracious. He asked if I had a notebook and wrote down the name of the restaurant and a few suggestions on things we might want to order.
I have met other celebrities at talk shows and similar events and he is certainly the most down to earth and friendliest. He was in no hurry and enjoyed talking with the people in the audience. You really did feel like his friend after talking with him. I remember telling my friend, “I thought for a minute that he was going to join us for lunch!”
I was in the audience of other talk shows and Regis was the only host I saw who took the time to talk with audience members and pose for photos. He certainly made our visit special and left us with memories that are special years later.
As I remembered my Regis experience last week, I looked for the photo to share with friends. I also looked through some other photos from that trip that was probably 15 years ago. A few other highlights from that trip were seeing “Steel Magnolias” on Broadway with Delta Burke in the cast, enjoying a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity 3, having lunch at Tavern on the Green, stopping by the Soup Kitchen made famous from the “Seinfeld” television show and meeting Meredith Vieira and Sherri Shepherd.
Looking for my Regis photo allowed me to remember exploring New York City. I’m thankful for the opportunity I had to meet him and that great trip exploring the city he loved so much.