Regis Philbin Says Goodbye to 'Live!'

Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa on set during Regis Philbin's Final Show of "Live! with Regis & Kelly" at the Live with Regis & Kelly Studio on November 18, 2011 in New York New York. (Getty Images)more pics » Regis Philbin (Getty Images) Regis Philbin wrapped up his 28 year run with Live! With Regis and Kelly this morning.

The 80-year-old, who began his TV career in the 1960s and has logged a record 17,000+ hours on television, was treated to a moving farewell that included appearances by celebrities like Tony Danza, former co-host Kathie Lee Gifford, the cast of Rent, and his wife Joy. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also stopped by to give Regis the keys to New York City.

During the show, Philbin reflected on his time on Live! and on the joy that it has brought viewers throughout the years. "Some people ask, 'Why has the show stayed on so long?'" he mused. "People tell me why they watch it ... because it makes them feel better. And it can't get any better than that. It makes them happy. "

"I wanted this to be a show where people would feel better about themselves, would look at life in maybe a different way, a funnier way," Philbin went on to say. "I think that's what we've accomplished ... I'm going out a pretty proud and happy guy."

In his typical style, Philbin remained upbeat throughout the farewell activities. But many others held back tears as they expressed their feelings about his departure from Live!. Co-host Kelly Ripa bid Regis adieu with an emotional speech:

"For 28 years, millions of viewers have had the great fortune of starting their day with you. For 11 years, I have had the great fortune of starting my day sitting next to you," she said. "You took this soap actress and plopped her behind a desk and made her your partner in crime. My life is forever changed."

"As you go forward, I'm thinking of the people at home who are suffering from cancer… the mother who's been up nursing all night, who watch you and your story makes them feel better," Ripa went on to say. "I look forward to your next steps and hope they fill you with the joy you've filled all of us with all these years."

In the final moments of the show, Regis also extended a heartfelt thanks to his fans for their support. "I guess it was fate that it happened this way. I'll never be able to answer all the letters and messages that have poured in but I'll always remember spending these mornings with all of you. God bless you all and I hope I see you again real soon."


See more Regis Philbin photos:
  • Regis Philbin in Regis Philbin&squot;s Final Show Of "Live! With Regis & Kelly"
  • Regis Philbin in Regis Philbin&squot;s Final Show Of "Live! With Regis & Kelly"
  • Regis Philbin in Regis Philbin&squot;s Final Show Of "Live! With Regis & Kelly"
  • Regis Philbin in Regis Philbin&squot;s Final Show Of "Live! With Regis & Kelly"
  • Regis Philbin in Regis Philbin&squot;s Final Show Of "Live! With Regis & Kelly"
  • Regis Philbin in Regis Philbin&squot;s Final Show Of "Live! With Regis & Kelly"
  • Regis Philbin in Regis Philbin&squot;s Final Show Of "Live! With Regis & Kelly"
  • Regis Philbin in Regis Philbin&squot;s Final Show Of "Live! With Regis & Kelly"
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