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Fame & Fortune: Regis Philbin

Of course, when I did it, I was all alone out there. Somebody had an idea at Channel 7 in Hollywood -- "Hey, let's do the red carpet. That's where all the stars are walking up. We'll put a camera out there and make a show out of it." And that was as simple as that. Now, of course, it's a full three-ring circus out there.

Bankrate: Wait -- are you saying you're the first person who ever did red carpet coverage?

Regis Philbin: Yes, I am. That was for a local ABC station in Hollywood in the late '70s.

Bankrate: So when you do it now, now that it's changed so much, what's the most challenging aspect of it?

Regis Philbin: For me, it's the rehearsal that goes into it. In the '70s, being the first and only one out there, the pacing wasn't so strenuous. It was more lackadaisical. "Hey, here comes Gene Kelly. There's Fred Astaire. Hey Fred, how you feeling?"

Now, of course, you're competing with a couple of hundred cable stations and a lot of syndicated shows, so it's important that things be done right, and in a speedy way. You've got 30 minutes out there and you have to make every second count. For me, that pace was the most difficult part of doing that show.

Bankrate: Part of the key to your success is a certain "everyman" persona. Considering your successful career, do you have tastes that could be considered extravagant?

Regis Philbin: I don't think so, Larry, I can't tell you one thing I feel is extravagant. I was born and raised in New York City while the Depression was going on and coming to an end, and through WWII, and I take that kind of stuff to my bones.

So now, even though life is sweet and I have a beautiful apartment with a view that I never thought I would ever have when I was a kid here in New York, my extravagances are quite limited.

Bankrate: So despite your success, you're a bit frugal, a bit careful with money, because of how you grew up?

Regis Philbin: I think you could say that about me, yeah. It's not like I haven't spent money on homes and things like that. It's just that my lifestyle as I'm living it now would have to be considered not extravagant.

Bankrate: What is the most decadent thing you ever treated yourself to?

Regis Philbin: I bought (CBS sportscaster) Warner Wolf's house in Greenwich, Conn. about 18 years ago. It's probably the most extravagant thing I ever did. A second home in Greenwich, Conn.? C'mon.

Photo: copyright Disney-ABC Domestic Television

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