A collection of TV history will cross the block at The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc. in Mount Kisco when it offers items donated by the estate of the late Regis Philbin at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 24.
The longtime TV host and Greenwich resident was once dubbed the hardest working man in show business and given the “outregis” nickname by one of his colleagues, Kathie Lee Gifford.
“His family donated much of Regis’ cherished memorabilia and objects, ranging from awards, posters, books and photographs to Letterman jackets,” Pam Stone, owner and founder of The Benefit Shop Foundation, said in a statement. “The collection of nearly 200 items really shares the story of his life, career and his love of sports from the New York Yankees to WWE wrestling. Regis was raised in the Bronx and spent most of his career in New York, so it’s absolutely fitting that these items are being sold to benefit the Bronx Food Bank.”
After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1953 and serving in the U.S. Navy, Philbin (1931-2020) began his career in TV, starting out as a page for “The Tonight Show” before getting his big break in the late 1960s as Joey Bishop’s sidekick on “The Joey Bishop Show.” It was in working with Bishop, and developing an on-air rapport, that Philbin said he learned how to interview people. It would set him on his career path as a TV host. Holding a Guinness world record for the most hours on U.S. television, he is best-known for co-hosting the syndicated morning talk show “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee,” which started in 1983 in New York City and was succeeded by Live! With Regis and Kelly” when Kelly Ripa replaced Gifford. Philbin also served as host of shows like “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” “Million Dollar Password” and the first season of “America’s Got Talent.”
In his career, Philbin met and worked with a many well-known personalities such as Jerry Seinfeld, Don Rickles and Burt Reynolds and owned several signed items related to them. An auction highlight is a lot of three Seinfeld items ($200-$1,500,) including a candid photo of Philbin and Seinfeld taken on set of his “Live” show, a Seinfeld-signed copy of “Seinfeld The Coffee Table Book,” along with a coffee table in the shape of a book. The author of several books about his own career, Philbin kept a few signed examples, which are featured in the auction, including a first edition of his autobiography, “How I Got This Way” ($100-300).
Other celebrity memorabilia include a poster depicting Philbin with Rickles ($100-300) when the two did a show at the Mountaineer Casino and a Burt Reynolds-signed Golden Gloves poster ($100-500) inscribed, “Regis / So I told you I was a contender /Love & respect to a great athlete, artist, and friend Burt.”
Several of Philbin’s many awards are up for auction, including a blue glass award made in Poland ($200-600) and inscribed “A Giant Of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts, Regis Philbin,” that was presented to him by the Library of American Broadcasting in 2014; an American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial Award ($300-600); and a lifetime achievement award ($200-600) from the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association.
Jackets, especially Letterman-style ones, are among the auction items as well, with several relating to his TV career or his years at Notre Dame, including a 2002 Golden Bear Letterman jacket ($100-300) for Worldwide Pants Inc. the production company founded by David Letterman. Also represented in the sale are his Adidas leather and wool Letterman jacket, reading Adidas / ND Irish ($100-300), and a 1953 Notre Dame Champion windbreaker
Other Notre Dame mementos range from a signed Notre Dame digital print by Kathleen Keifer ($100-300), 18 by 24 inches, and a signed piece of wood art of the Fighting Irish mascot by Erik Warren ($50-200) to a Notre Dame versus Navy football ($50-100),inscribed with his name and the game date of Oct. 31, 1992, along with other sporting items, a commemorative dish and desktop accessories.
Philbin was a big fan of professional sports, especially WWE wrestling, and often had wrestlers on his talk show, such as The Destroyer and Hulk Hogan. In 2012, WWE chairman Vince McMahon presented Philbin with a WWE champion belt to commemorate “Monday Night Raw’s” 1000th episode ($100-500). It is featured in this auction, along with a copy of “Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks,” the autobiography of pro wrestler “Classy” Freddie Blassie, with an inscription to Philbin.
A lifetime baseball fan, especially of the New York Yankees, Philbin threw out several ceremonial first pitch balls at season opening practice games. On offer here is a baseball Philbin threw from the mound at Yankee Stadium in the fall 2011 against the Minnesota Twins.
Rounding out the auction are a 2004-2005 Silvers NBA jersey with an embroidered patch reading “Regis” ($100-300) and a Wade Max-framed photograph of Philbin entering a room decorated with money ($100-200).
The monthly Red Carpet sales feature choice collections of antiques, midcentury modern brand furnishings, sterling, silver, china, crystal, jewelry and fine art. With a mission “to donate, to discover and to do good,” The Benefits Shop Foundation is a nonprofit, with auction proceeds supporting community organizations. Consignors get a tax deduction, the buyer gets a great deal and local nonprofits get much needed funds.
The auction gallery is at 185 Kisco Ave, Suite 201. For more, visit thebenefitshop.org or call 914-864-0707.