Remembering Regis Philbin throughout his record-breaking TV career

Philbin started working behind the scenes in the 1950s and went on to work with ABC on several shows, including "The Joey Bishop Show" and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" He died at the age of 88.
5:59 | 07/28/20

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Transcript for Remembering Regis Philbin throughout his record-breaking TV career
massive mark this television legend left behind. The man gave me the start. Reporter: From members of the extended TV family brought into being by Regis Philbin, there was sadness, loss, and sweet remembrance at the passing of a legend. Kathie Lee Gifford remembering her last time together with her longtime on-air partner. I got to laugh again with one of my best friends in my lifetime. Reporter: And Kelly Ripa. As people get older, you always know that certain things are inevitable. And passing away is one of those things. But Regis is one of the people that we all believed, I think, would somehow figure out a way around the inevitable. Yeah. And, you know, it was not in the cards. Reporter: And his producer and colleague, Michael Gelman. He was one of a kind. You're not going to see another Regis. It's live with Regis and Kathie Lee. Reporter: He put millions at morning ease as the unparalleled master of host chat. With spontaneous, entertaining tales of what happened last night. What a day I had yesterday. Oh, yeah? Yeah. I did a commercial. You are are so hot, Regis. There's nobody bigger. I had to fly to Detroit to do this commercial. They flew you? Reporter: Punctuated by Regis bursts of exasperation. A host both thoroughly professional and totally himself. He could do it all on TV. The macarena, milking cows, dodging pies and pedicures. Not too close! You're making me nervous! I made an appointment to see my dentist. He would talk about nothing and make it the most interesting thing in the world. Reporter: Starting in the mid-'80s, his born in the bronx I'm only one man persona was an ideal match for Kathie Lee Gifford. The sparks made them stars. Then when it became live with Regis and Kelly, he clicked with Kelly Ripa, too. He made anybody beside him a star. The whole concept of the show was a faux husband and wife. Two people who had their morning coffee, and all these celebrity friends came over. That chemistry really is what made it. Reporter: Another pillar of his appeal, his affection for the audience. He would shake the hands of every audience member. It built the audience person by people. He became so relatable to the audience at home who felt like they were talking to a friend. That's something we're seeing now in daytime television. The hosts talking about their personal lives in a very relatable way. Reporter: In 2004, Regis set a world record for most time on camera. Then over 15,000 hours. I hope to be remembered most for -- 17,000 hours in front of a television camera. Is that enough for you? Good evening, everybody, and welcome to "Who wants to be a millionaire?" Reporter: In 1999, he helmed the top-rated show, "Who wants to be a millionaire". It was "Millionaire" that catapulted him to being a television superstar. Reporter: But there hadn't always been that much to yell about. In a career that began after he graduated from notre dame and served in the Navy. He started as a page on "The tonight show." Reporter: By the '60s, he was a sidekick and announcer on "The Joey bishop show." I haven't buttoned so many buttons since I was a kid. Reporter: After appearing to walk off the show in tears. But he never stopped working. By the time he got to new York and started "Live" with Kathie Lee, he already had a couple of decades of experience hosting a show. Reporter: Earlier this year, he returned to give his blessing to Jimmy Kimmel's hosting "Millionaire." Thank you, and I will do my best to carry on your tradition. Reporter: Kimmel tweeting, Regis, I hope our friend Rickles met you at the pearly Gates with open arms. He came of age in a world of old-school celebrities. But even after they had left the scene, the star of Regis Philbin would burn brightly. He was like the last of the show biz generation to make it big. When he started the show with me, I think he was 52 years old. And he had had a lot of ups and downs. That shaped his personality, I think, in a great way.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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