Regis Philbin dishes on his Irish roots, Bing Crosby and Notre Dame


“The new coach Brian Kelly certainly has the right name, doesn’t he? But I’ve given up . . . they keep saying that this is the guy who’s gonna save it. But they’ve got to show it to me now.”

Philbin has traveled to Ireland, and brought his morning show over there in the 1980s to film at the Philbin family homestead in Co. Mayo.

“We took a crew over to seek out my great-great grandfather’s home,” Philbin recalled.  “We went over there and we got to the priest in the town and he directed us right to the location. It was just a foundation of where the house was.

“So I said, let’s have a party for whatever Philbins were left here in town. Well, it got around and the whole town came running! It was a memorable trip for us.”

The show will naturally have a St. Patrick’s flavor on March 17, with Celtic Woman among the guests. Philbin says he’s a big fan of this year’s grand marshal, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

“He’s just a great guy. I took him to Notre Dame last season and he loved the campus,” Philbin says.

“We played USC and I thought Notre Dame had a chance to beat them because they had lost a few games, but no, we lost!”

Philbin is certainly feeling physically better than he did on St. Patrick’s Day three years ago, when he had triple-bypass surgery.  “I could hear all the rootin’ tootin’ on the street and I was saying, God, I wish I was out there,” he recalls.

Philbin also had hip replacement surgery at the end of last year, and every day he’s feeling stronger and stronger. “They say after six months everything will be just fine, but in the meantime I’m doing well,” he says.

And that prognosis is music to his fans’ ears. 

He admits the day-time television job as co-host of Live with Regis and Kelly sometimes gets to him and he gets tired of it.

“Barbara Walters is leaving her Academy Awards show that she’s done for so long, and why, if you ask her, she’ll say that she’s tired of it. And there are times when I get tired of this,” Philbin says.

“The first show segment is all ad-libbed and all spontaneous. You’ve got be prepared to make it happen so it’s a responsibility. Yes, I do get tired, but when the bell rings you go out and do it.”

Millions around America are glad he does.