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Celebrating Regis Philbin’s 80th with 8 Unforgettable Moments

After more than 60 years in show business, Regis Philbin will become an official octogenarian this week as he celebrates his 80th birthday on Thursday, Aug. 25.

The longtime talk and game show host announced earlier this year that he would be leaving his post on ABC’s Live! With Regis and Kelly in November. While the news shocked and saddened many longtime fans, Philbin certainly hasn’t left them strapped for memorable moments. Between everyday pranks, guest-starring roles and a senior moment or two, Reege has managed to keep America laughing ever since his turn as Joey Bishop’s sidekick on The Joey Bishop Show in 1967.

Philbin has served as the host of a variety of programs, including Who Wants to Be a Millionare, America’s Got Talent, The Neighbors and Million Dollar Password.  However, his time on Live!, and formerly Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee, has cemented him as a household name and will likely leave a void in the hearts of housewives, retirees and stay-at-home moms who have welcomed him into their living rooms for years.

In honor of Reege’s big day, take a look back at just a few of his most memorable (and laughable) moments.

A Little Too Close For Comfort
In what has quickly become a Live! With Regis and Kelly infamous moment, the host touched curvaceous rapper Nicki Minaj‘s bum after she finished a performance of her hit “Right Thru Me” on the show in November 2010. After she complimented his pink shirt, Philbin returned the compliment by reaching out and touching Minaj’s backside while commenting on her dress. “What just happened,” Ripa exclaimed. And, the flirtation didn’t stop there. When the singer told him that mentor Lil Wayne’s advice had been “Go hard,” Philbin quipped, “Wish I could!” Minaj later tweeted, “LOL, I was in shock!” of the incident.


How I Met Your Burger
In a classic episode of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, Philbin guest-starred as a New York City burger connoisseur who shares Jason Segel’s love of the city’s most allusive beef patty. The scene finds Reege pumping iron at the gym, threatening to punch Segel in the face and even getting physical with Neil Patrick Harris. All in all — Flawless.


Whose Show is it, Anyway?
Philbin returned to his old stomping grounds, this time testing out the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire hot seat for himself, for the 10th anniversary of the show in 2009. The former host was grilled by Meredith Viera, but frequently took the reigns — even closing out the show in his own signature style.


Sneak Attack
While guest hosting in late 2004, Alicia Keys got more than she bargained for during a discussion about her then-unidentified beau. Philbin requested a kiss on the cheek from the singer, only to turn his head at the last minute for a smooch on the lips. “Now I have to go to the hospital,” Keys laughed. “Get everything checked out.”


Dancing in the Streets
The host, always game for a gag, filmed a spot with Sasha Baron Cohen as his character from the 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Philbin, who strolled through Manhattan with the character in the video segment, took Borat to famed hot dog stand Gray’s Papaya, joked about having bought co-host Kelly Ripa for $8 million (her reported salary at the time), sang Bing Crosby‘s “Mississippi Mud” and even slow danced with the actor.


Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
In November 2009, while he and co-host Kelly Ripa were interviewing Oscar-winner Meryl Streep, Philbin mis-read his cue cards and accidentally told the actress her youngest daughter, Grace, had broken her leg. Streep reacted in shock saying “Oh my god! That’s like a shot to my heart!” Ripa jumped in to correct his mistake, and Philbin displayed the cue card on camera, which actually read “Daughter Grace just got her big break.”


What the Shrek?
Philbin made a surprise  — and incognito — appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, dressing in the costume from Broadway’s Shrek the Musical. After nearly two minutes of banter, Reege was cut off abruptly with a “who cares” from the host, just as he was beginning to explain the bizarre appearance. Apparently he was promoting something to do with his own show, but really — who cares?


Attention Please: Regis Has “Joined the Internet”
Philbin, who has famously struggled to keep up with technology over the years, attempts to explain his personal impact on the World Wide Web while struggling to turn on an iPad. Oh, and he wants an App too!




by Sophie Schillaci & Lauren Schutte

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