A collection of television history will cross the block to raise money for charity at The Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc. in its Red Carpet auction on Wednesday, March 24, at 10 am, when it offers items donated by the family of the late Regis Philbin. The longtime TV host was once dubbed the hardest working man in show business.
After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1953 and serving in the U.S. Navy, Philbin (1931-2020) began an illustrious career in television. He started 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 here working with Bishop, and developing an on-air rapport, that Philbin has said he learned how to interview people and set him on his future career path as a TV show host. Holding a Guinness world record for the most hours on U.S. television, he is best known for co-hosting a syndicated morning talk show, Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, which started in 1983 in New York and was syndicated nationally five years later. Philbin retired from the show in 2011, which continued with other co-hosts. He 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. He died in July 2020 and the items in this auction came from his Greenwich, Conn. estate.
“His family donated much of Regis’s cherished memorabilia and objects, ranging from awards, posters, books and photographs to Letterman jackets. 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,” said Pam Stone, owner and founder of The Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc. “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.”
In his career, Philbin met and worked with a slew of well known personalities such as Jerry Seinfeld, Don Rickles and Burt Reynolds and owned several signed items relating to them. An auction highlight is a lot of three items relating to Seinfeld ($200-$1,500) including a candid photo of Regis and Seinfeld taken on set of his Live show, a Seinfeld-signed copy of Seinfeld The Coffee Table Book along with a coffee book table in the shape of a book. The author of several books about his own career, a few signed examples 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 legendary comic Don 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 also crossing the block, including an elegant blue glass award made in Poland ($200-600), inscribed “A Giant Of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts, Regis Philbin” presented 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 Philbin’s memorabilia and several relating to his TV career or his years at Notre Dame are on offer, including a 2002 Golden Bear Letterman jacket ($100-300) for Worldwide Pants Incorporated, 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 ($100-300).
Graduating Notre Dame was a source of pride and Philbin had a number of mementos ranging 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 vs 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 sports entertainment, 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 Regis with a WWE champion belt to commemorate Monday Night Raw’s 1000th episode ($100-500), which is featured in this auction as well as a copy of Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks, the autobiography of pro wrestler “Classy” Freddie Blassie, with an inscription to Regis.
A lifetime baseball fan, especially his hometown team, the New York Yankees, Philbin threw out several ceremonial first pitch balls at season opening practice games and on offer here is a baseball Philbin threw from the mound at Yankee Stadium in fall of 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 Regis entering a room decorated with money ($100-200).
The monthly Red Carpet sales feature choice collections of antique, Midcentury Modern, brand furnishings, sterling, china, crystal, jewelry and fine art. With a mission of “to donate, to discover and to do good,” the foundation is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and auction proceeds support community organizations. Consignors get a tax deduction, the buyer gets a great deal and local non-profits get much needed funds.
The auction gallery is at 185 Kisco Ave, Suite 201. For more information, https://www.thebenefitshop.org or 914-864-0707.
185 Kisco Ave Suite 201
Mount Kisco, New York
About Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc.
The Benefit Shop receives donations from the finest estates in Bedford and beyond and showcases them in one convenient and beautifully-staged location. The estates get a tax deduction, the buyer gets a great deal and non-profits in the community get the money. This elegantly-conceived, eco-friendly concept is the brainchild of Pam Stone and she is thrilled at the response from the community. It’s no secret that non-profits, from hospitals to homeless shelters, are having a tough time in this economy. Responding to the call for funding to fill the gaps , local resident Stone imagined a new possibility, an auction gallery with donated merchandise from the grand estates that surround the area. For 10 years, Stone has been busy visiting estate sales in the area, encouraging people to make high quality, tax-deductible donations for the satisfaction of helping a host of community organizations, including Neighbors’ Link and the Boys and Girls Club, as well as the continued support of Northern Westchester Hospital. According to Pam, “Often these kinds of shops benefit a big national charity, but I really wanted the beneficiary to be my community, for the people who live and work here.” Mission statement: To donate, to discover, to do good.