TV Icon Regis Philbin Offers Advice for New Graduates

May 15, 2015

Regis Philbin met with reporters at Trine University last week.
Credit Trine University

It’s graduation season, and last weekend Trine University in Angola welcomed  television legend Regis Philbin to Indiana. WBOI’s Virginia Alvino got to meet the cultural icon, and has this appreciation. 

Last Friday, Regis Philbin told journalists he wasn’t sure yet what he was going to say to Trine University graduates. But come on, after more than 50 years in  television, this man’s never lost for words. 

“But they’re all smarter than me," says Philbin, "they’re all engineers, they’re going out, they’re gonna change everything, I think it’s great.”

Philbin knows a thing or two about making your way in the world. But it wasn’t  always that way. After graduating from Notre Dame in 1953 and joining the  Marines, Philbin knew he wanted to make a career in television, but he didn’t think  he had anything to offer the world. 

His commanding officer thought differently.

“He put his face right up against mine," says Philbin. "He said do you want it? I clicked my heels,  gave him a salute, said yes sir, I want it. First time I told myself that. He said get in  the car and go up to Hollywood and make it, and that’s what I did. I drove up there  that day.”

That one push led him to his first job carrying furniture at a prop house. Since then,  he’s been Joey Bishop’s sidekick, hosted one of the most popular talk shows in  history, and became the face of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? 

Despite his success, Philbin says he wasn’t always without doubt and fear.

But to  every graduate this year, he has some simple advice: don’t stop telling people what  you want, don’t be afraid, and don’t be hesitant.