Regis Philbin's list of accomplishments as infinite as his appeal was universal. And having known him over the years—for a while we even went to the same gym—I wanted to add my personal tribute to the avalanche of accolades that have come pouring in. Regis had a way of making everyone he met feel instantly at ease. While some stars are totally different in real life, his sense of humor and sincere warmth were exactly the same as his on-air persona. We all appreciated it, even those of us about to go through the grueling workouts of trainer Radu. When my first book, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner of Champions, was published, I was asked to appear on his morning talk show. (His beautiful wife Joy was his co-host that day, and the other guest was Danny DeVito.) Regis had wanted me to recreate the baked stuffed potato that a superstar athlete in my book had heralded for pregame dinners. I must admit I was a bit nervous. It certainly didn’t help when he said, albeit with a twinkle, “You better be good!” Right then the little red light went on and we were off and running. All went well with the interview. Until, that is, it was time to stuff the potato. Unfortunately, as I was putting in the cheese, it slipped out of my hand—and right into Regis’ shoe. Both Danny and Regis were overcome with hysteria. I, on the other hand, was mortified. But soon after I was laughing along with them. That was the kind of guy Regis was! You just couldn’t stay down around him.
Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to have both Regis and Joy on MY show, which my producer, Laurie, decided to rerun below.
He talked about his coronary bypass and what changes he made to his daily routine because of it. Alas, sometimes the powers that be have other plans and he was taken away from us way too soon. Suffice it to say, however, that he left the world a better place — and the heavens are shining infinitely brighter from his light.