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The Author Speaks

Interview With Regis Philbin, Author of 'How I Got This Way'

Veteran talk show host reflects on his television career

He's about as likable a man as you'll ever chat with. Regis Philbin is personable, attentive and charming. He's also a great listener – something his long-ago boss, Joey Bishop, famously complimented him for when Regis was first interviewing for the job of television sidekick on the late-night The Joey Bishop Show.

See also: Excerpt from How I Got This Way.

Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa appear on set during the taping of Live! with Regis and Kelly

Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa. — Photo by AP Photo/Charles Sykes

"A great listener — that was my talent!" Regis recalls thinking. "That was it?"

That "it" helped the Bronx-born boy who loved listening to Bing Crosby during the Depression become a household name during the course of his nearly 17,000 hours on television, whether he was working in Los Angeles (where he was based for 28 years) or in his own New York City (where he worked for another 28). And now, at 80, he's chosen to step away from his longtime regular television gig — to the chagrin of millions of Americans of all ages who have enjoyed his storytelling, his interviews with both A-listers and unknowns, and his on-air cavorting with multiple cohosts over the years, including Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelly Ripa.

During the last week on Live! with Regis and Kelly, Regis spoke with AARP Bulletin about his life and his work — and shared a few secrets:

Q. How have you aged so well?

A. I gotta tell you, right at the top of my list would be taking vitamins. I know that over the years doctors have said they're ridiculous and all that. But I started taking my vitamins at an early age. And I take them every day. Every bloody day! So I think that's number one. For whatever reason, I feel active and pretty good at my age.

Q. Clearly these are not just regular multivitamins?

A. No, these are vitamins for every capacity you think you need. I get my vitamins from a company that has been doing this for 100 years — the Lindberg Nutrition Center in Torrance, Calif. They really know their stuff, and it's just one of these things I've gotten attached to. I'm in the habit now. When I first started taking my vitamins, I saw a change. I saw a difference in both my body and my mind. So I became a vitamin follower.

Q. How else do you take care of yourself?

A. Well, I work out three to four times a week, in a gym, which — thank God — is right in my building here in New York City. It's in the Reebok building, and it's got every kind of weightlifting equipment you can imagine, spread out over six floors, plus basketball courts and everything else. And because it's right in the building, there's no excuse.

Next: What are the secrets of successful people? >>

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