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Regis Philbin making exit from morning TV

- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Regis Philbin is saying goodbye to morning television.

The veteran show-biz personality began his final appearance as host of "Live! With Regis and Kelly" on Friday with cameras following his walk from the dressing room to the stage. At 80 years old, he is stepping down from the show he has co-hosted for 28 years.

"I can't take any more surprises," he told his off-camera executive producer, Michael Gelman.

The first came from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who came onstage to give Philbin a symbolic key to New York City. Celebrities Justin Timberlake, Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez and others paid warm tributes to Philbin on tape.

The audience for his final show was stacked with celebrities, too, including Katie Couric, Donald Trump, former host Kathie Lee Gifford, Tony Danza, Alan Alda and Meredith Vieira.

"I wanted this to be a show where people would feel better about themselves, to look at life in a different way, a funnier way," Philbin said.

Much of the final week's episodes have been devoted to paying tribute to Philbin. His pal David Letterman even stopped by, and so did Vice President Joe Biden.

Philbin is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most time logged on the air by a television personality. He's been on more than 17,000 hours. As a host, he's known best for his ability to weave something from nothing, to take stories of who he saw at a restaurant the previous night and make them interesting viewing.

His final episode also contained a film package of celebrities who have tried to imitate Philbin's mannerisms, led by comic Dana Carvey.

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