The Good Place creator Michael Schur pays tribute to father-in-law Regis Philbin: 'What a run'
Schur's connection to Philbin, who died July 24 at age 88, goes a bit deeper, however: the writer is married to Philbin's daughter J.J., who is also a TV writer and producer.
"I've never really been able to articulate what his life and career meant. It's too huge," Schur wrote on Twitter. "You can't wrap your arms around it. He literally holds the Guinness Book Record for most hours on TV. Luckily, I've never really *had* to articulate it, because most people just kind of get it. For decades, Regis was always there, on TV, chatting and complaining and making people laugh. He needed no explanation.
"Still, I've been trying for 20+ years to find a way to explain, in a pithy way, how monumental his career was in the medium that his daughter and I both work in," he continued. "Over the past few days, I think I found it."
Schur then shared photos of four papers found among Philbin's personal collection of memorabilia ("he kept *everything*," Schur notes): the script from the legendary host's first time reading sports news on TV, in 1956, with reports on the football, baseball, and boxing news of the day. The script includes references to then-current, now-legendary players such as Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams. As Schur puts it, "Regis is 25, and he's on TV talking about Mickey Mantle (who won the MVP that year, at 24), Ted Williams, and Duke Snider. It was so long ago, the Cleveland Browns led the news."
"You want to see a career no one will ever duplicate? Here it is," he continued. "A guy who was on TV when Harvey Haddix struck out Duke Snider, and also handed million-dollar checks on a futuristic game show set. A guy who reported on both [1940s-60s Browns player] Lou Groza and Eli Manning, Yogi Berra and Gary Sanchez."
Philbin's 60-year career, of course, took him from the sports desk to legendary status as the host of Live With Regis and Kathie Lee, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and more.
"Regis hated 'memory lane,' so I hope he forgives me for this one last trip. No one will ever be what he was, in the medium he dedicated his life to. What a run," Schur concluded, adding links to donate to the New York City Food Bank and the Center for the Homeless charity in Philbin's honor.