Regis Philbin ended his 28-year run on “Live!” Friday in an hour long show marked by emotional tributes. As he promised, the TV pro did not shed a single tear. But the farewell was marked by a number of tear-jerker moments.
(TV Column: Live blogging Philbin’s final show.)
Every shot of Kelly Ripa
From the moment Kelly Ripa took the “43 steps” from her dressing room to the stage with Philbin (she counted), the usually perky co-host seemed on the verge of tears.
More than half way into the program, a rather choked up Ripa introduced a segment of people showing their gratitude for Philbin. The montage, set to the Uncle Kracker song “Smile,” ended with a photo of Ripa with tears streaming down her face. It was jokingly declared, “A little long,” by Philbin.
Ripa proved she could combine levity with weepiness, as she read a prepared goodbye.
“I’ve had the privilege of walking 43 steps with you from my dressing room to the studio floor, five days a week,” Ripa began. “Except for when you have off on Fridays, and Fridays and Mondays in the summer.”
“Your light is what shined around all of us and made us look so bright for so long,” Ripa said, somehow holding back the water works.
(Kathie Lee Gifford, the original co-host of “Live!,” was in the audience but did not make any remarks.)
The “Honeymoon” story
After promising to never tell it, Philbin and his wife Joy shared the story of their honeymoon. The tale — he didn’t make restaurant reservations! — was only sad because of how anti-climatic it was. Even Ripa looked a little disappointed.
“Seasons of” Rege
The song “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway show “Rent” is an almost guaranteed tear-jerker. Philbin was given his own rendition with personalized lyrics about his time on the air. (Example: “Nine hundred ninety-five thousand six hundred minutes” of Rege.)
While Philbin looked ready to weep, no tears were shed.
His final farewell
Philbin remained a pro during his final goodbye speech, moving quickly through his short prepared remarks:
“Some people ask why has this show stayed on so long, and I think it's answered to me every time people tell me why they watch it. They watch it, they say, because it makes them feel better. It makes them happy. I'll never be able to top that.
“I’ll always remember spending these years together with you.”
What did you think were the saddest moments from Regis’s final show? Tell us in the comments.