It’s the end of an era Friday, as iconic talk show host Regis Philbin calls it a day on his long-running ABC morning show.
The 50+ year show biz mainstay made the landmark announcement he’d be leaving earlier this year, telling viewers “this will be my last year on the show.
“It’s been a long time,” he said on his January 18 broadcast. “It’s been 28 years and it was the biggest thrill of my life to come back to New York, where I grew up as a kid watching TV in the early days, you know, never even dreaming that I would one day have the ability, or whatever it takes, to get in front of the camera and talk to it.
“There is a time that everything must come to an end for certain people on camera — especially certain old people!” said the venerable showman.
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Regis said “contractual issues” was one of the reasons behind his departure.
“The contractual issue just never worked out, but I was going to leave before that anyway,” Regis told The Mojo in the Morning radio show.
“That’s a loss on their part because I’ve got to admit, it looks to me like they’re kind of forcing you out and I think it’s a mistake,” radio host Spike responded. “The audience still loves you. Your obviously still ready to work so I don’t know why they wouldn’t want you.”
“Of course it’s a big mistake, but Regis is moving on,” Regis said.
With Regis on the mind, here’s a few highlights from his amazing run:
* In 2004, Philbin appeared for his 15,188th hour on national TV, overtaking the title of the most-filmed television personality from newsman Hugh Downs; by 2009, the total was up to 16,343 hours.
* Philbin has been well-honored with two Daytime Emmy Awards for his efforts on the show (2001, tied with Rosie O’Donnell; 2011, tied with Dr. Mehmet Oz).
* Besides his morning show, Philbin has also hosted America’s Got Talent, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and Million Dollar Password.
* Philbin’s been in films such as 1972′s Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask); 1992′s Night and the City; and 2003′s Cheaper by the Dozen.