Regis Philbin Regis Philbin

In the end, it wasn't just Regis and Kelly, or Regis and Kathie Lee ... it felt more like Regis and everybody. After some 16,000 hours in front of a television camera, Regis Philbin signed off Live! with Regis and Kelly Friday morning.

Ending a 28-year run, the "Farewell Special" began oddly with a black-and-white camera following him on his final walk to the studio. It had a little of a Dead Man Walking feel to it. But once he got to the stage, he walked out to a star-studded audience of family and friends. Among them: Diane Sawyer, Donald Trump, Tony Danza and Kathie Lee Gifford (with whom he co-hosted Live! for 15 years), as well as Philbin's wife, Joy, and his daughters.

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David Letterman, who dropped by his morning show earlier in the week, told Philbin — who first came to national prominence as Joey Bishop's sidekick in late 1960s on Bishop's late-night ABC talk show — that he ranked in a pantheon of broadcasters that may only include Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and Oprah Winfrey.

In his enduring career, the 80-year-old, Bronx-born broadcaster achieved prime-time success in 1999 when he began hosting the hit game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. And just earlier this year, he and Ripa won the Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Talk Show Host.

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