Kathie Lee Gifford fondly remembers her last visit with longtime friend and iconic TV personality Regis Philbin.
Calling into “Today" from her Connecticut home, Gifford recalled how fragile Regis looked when he visited her roughly two weeks ago with his wife, Joy.
“We laughed ourselves sick. We always just picked up right where we left off,” Gifford said. However, she added that she “sensed much more fragility in him since the last time I had seen him.”
She remembered thinking, “‘Lord, Is that the last time I’m gonna see my friend?’ Cause he was failing, I could tell,” she explained. “I then called, of course. I don’t know, something told me the other day when I was in Tennessee, ‘Get on a plane and go home. Get on a plane.’ I didn’t know why, but I had learned to listen to that voice.”
Gifford continued, “I got on the plane, came home and immediately heard the news about Regis. [I] called Joy immediately and talked with her. Yesterday, I drove over to her house with a big vat of frutti di mare and every gift wine I had to give to her and the girls. They were in their living room going through pictures. There were just thousands of pictures. We just reminisced for a little while.”
She said Joy was thankful that she was able to share one last laugh with Regis while at Gifford's home. “And she said, ‘and the day that we came to have lunch with you was the last time I heard him laugh.’ So that will forever be a precious gift the lord gave me, that I got to laugh again with one of my best friends in all my lifetime," Gifford shared.
Regis passed away on Saturday, July 25 at the age of 88.
The pair’s adventures first began in 1985 when they began hosting the local daytime series, “The Morning Show.” When it was syndicated in 1988 by Disney, it was rebranded as “LIVE with Regis and Kathie Lee.”
“It changed the landscape of daytime television forever,” Gifford said, adding, “We didn’t know! We weren’t trying to do that! We were just being who we were!”
She attributes their success to an authentic friendship that lasted long after she departed the show in 2000. Kelly Ripa replaced Gifford as co-host in 2001.
“You know, in all the years we were together, we never had one cross word. Not one,” Gifford recalled.