Regis Philbin announced he’s retiring from “Live! With Regis and Kelly,” on Tuesday and former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford told Access Hollywood Live that the TV legend had hinted about his exit.
“We try to have dinner like every six weeks or something and the last couple of times that we had dinner he was talking very openly with me about it,” Kathie Lee, who co-hosted with Regis for 15 years, told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Tuesday. “He said, ‘I think it’s going to be at the end of this contract year,’ which would be September 2011, so that’s exactly what it’s going to be.”
Regis’ 80th birthday is right around the corner, but according to Kathie Lee, he’s won’t be slowing down in the least.
“He’s going to have a landmark birthday in August, It’s a new beginning for him… I don’t think Reg will ever retire,” she continued. “He loves what he does so much. But he can work in a lot of different ways and he can do it on his own schedule.
“You get tired of the sameness of something and as we age, you get tired of having to be on someone else’s schedule all the time,” Kathie Lee continued. “And even though he lives across the street from the studio, sometimes I know winters get to him I think he would rather be in sunny Florida or California and I’ve got a feeling he’s got some stuff up his sleeve.”
According to Kathie Lee, Regis should prepare for a slew of potential new jobs.
“There’s a million things Reg can do, there are going to be tons and tons of offers for him,” she added. “He’s still hot as pistol! How many people – except for Betty White – can say that in their ‘80s?!”
Jerry Seinfeld also released a statement to Access about the talk show host’s retirement, saying, “Regis is one of the greatest hosts in television history, but what’s most wonderful about him is that he is simply good company. Every place he goes is much better for having him, and everyone he’s with is much happier when he’s around.”
On Tuesday’s “Live! With Regis and Kelly,” Regis told the audience, “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.”