Regis Philbin Retiring: Nicki Minaj, Kathie Lee Gifford, Kelly Ripa, Best Moments

After 25 years, Regis Philbin is ending his daytime talk show run. From getting fashion tips from Sammy Davis Jr. to crooning “Rudolph” to getting touchy-feely with Nicki Minaj, WATCH VIDEO of the funniest moments in his record-setting career.

Hasta La Regis!

When it comes to talk-show hosts retiring, 25 seems to be the magic number. First Oprah Winfrey announced Season 25 would be her last, then Larry King called it quits in December 2010, and then Regis Philbin announced he would retire from Live With Regis and Kelly in late 2011 after 25 years as the co-host. It’s no wonder Jay Leno was reluctant to retire from The Tonight Show in 2009—he’d only been there for 17 years!

Playing Puff, Puff, Pass With Sammy Davis Jr.

Before he could become a hosting legend, Reege had to pay his dues as the sidekick to Joey Bishop on The Joey Bishop Show. In this episode, Sammy Davis Jr. schools a young—and frankly adorable—Regis in fashion and the proper use of a roach clip.

The Original Dream Team

Oh, sure, right now we may be all about Kathie Lee and Hoda— and with good reason!—but once upon a time, Regis and Kathie Lee were the reigning morning show duo. In this clip from September 1988, they prepare to leave behind the desolate wilds of local programming for the glitzy world of syndication.

Reege Gets All Clay’d Up

No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is indeed a claymation Regis crooning “ Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” with special guest Donald Trump. File this under “stuff we couldn’t make up even if we tried.”

Getting Handsy With Nicki Minaj

One of the benefits of being 79 is a decreased need to filter oneself. Suddenly, you have all the freedom to say and do whatever you want because, hey, you’ve lived long enough, you’ve earned it! Which is great for the 79 year old, but for everyone else in the radius of the lucky near-octogenarian, it means you might get smacked on the butt on live TV. Just ask Nicki Minaj.

Fooled Ya!

Here’s a good case for putting vanity aside for a moment and wearing glasses if you need ‘em—in November 2009, Regis accidentally terrified guest Meryl Streep when he mentioned her daughter’s broken leg. Turns out the cue card actually mentioned her daughter’s big acting break. Oy!

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Something Fishy

Here's hoping Reege's exit from daytime TV doesn't keep him from being a regular on Letterman, because we'd hate to miss out on more moments like this one, where Dave force fed a visibly uncomfortable Regis raw fish. Oy gefilte!

Regis Philbin, This is Your (Millionaire) Life!

When Who Wants to Be a Millionaire debuted in 1999, it was a ratings monster, revitalizing the primetime game-show format. So, yes, you can blame Millionaire for Downfall and Million Dollar Money Drop. Regis was the venerable host from 1999 to 2000, but in this clip, the tables are turned and Reege gets roasted by his successor, Meredith Vieira. Oddly enough, he has trouble sussing out the answer to a question based on his own time hosting the show.


For someone who feels comfortable enough giving Nicki Minaj a friendly little tap on the behind, Regis sure worked himself into a tizzy over a New York Post article on a sexy workout trend. He was shocked—shocked!—to learn that "women are going to the gym to get fit... and more."

Regis Has Joined the Internet

Hey, you remember that scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the monkeys were puzzling over the monolith? Let’s just say Regis did a fairly faithful reenactment while trying to turn on his new iPad. Ook ook ook….

The Secret Word Is: Candy!

Above all else, we love Regis when he’s displaying his very particular, irreverent sense of humor, such as auditioning to be a U.S. Open ball boy, camping it up in drag, and in this clip, going on a candy-fueled shopping spree with Pee-wee Herman. That, more than anything, is what will be missed when he signs off for the last time.