The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Regis shares life lessons

“How do you start?”

Regis Philbin wove an answer to his posed question with a collection of stories Tuesday night that chronicled his rise to becoming a “household name.”

The acclaimed television personality, actor, singer and author spoke to a full house in McFarlin Auditorium as part of the Tate Lecture Series at SMU.

Preston Hutcherson, a sophomore, described the event as “dashes of humor and ghost stories mixed in with Regis’ rise to fame.” A stark contrast to the most recent Tate Lecture-a heated debate between political commentators William Bennett and Chris Matthews-Philbin’s lifetime spent in entertainment proved “a little different from the usual Tate lecture.”

“I thought it was very funny. It was refreshing.” Hutcherson said.

Philbin told students to take advantage of every opportunity during their four years at SMU.

“This is your chance to learn what you want your profession to be,” Philbin said. “It’s never going to be laid out for you like it is here in school.”

Philbin said he knew when he was 8 years old that all he “wanted to do was be Bing Crosby.” He didn’t get his start in entertainment until after four years at Notre Dame and several years in the Navy.

But as soon as he started, Philbin always went above what he could comfortably do to build the best career he possibly could. He started with small jobs ­- watching and listening to gain any and every skill he could. Once he had that, his drive and determination took over.

“I wanted to do it on my own.”

One of his highlights was meeting his lifelong idol Bing Crosby and serenading Crosby with “Pennies from Heaven” ­­- the song that had become his anthem after hearing Crosby sing it nightly over the radio. The next day, Philbin had a record offer.

He marked that experience as one of his biggest learning lessons and greatest regrets.

“When someone gives you ambition, inspiration, opportunity…you should always say ‘thank you.’ I never thanked Bing Crosby, and I’ve always regretted that.”

Philbin said it was that “loss” that brought him back to one of the greatest pieces of advice he had ever received-courtesy of the Notre Dame football coach following a loss in one of the team’s greatest winning streaks.

“He reminded us that we’re going to lose…and [we have] to use this loss to build ourselves up and win.”

And with all of Philbin’s success came a number of losses.
“I had a really up and down career.” Philbin said.

As something that comes with the industry’s territory, Philbin consistently faced shifts from times of incredible triumph to periods of fighting for the jobs he really wanted.

His nearly three decades of hosting his morning talk show Live! With Regis, despite being his biggest launch to fame, Philbin said was some of the most taxing.

“It was very confining. Every morning, you had to be there…every day for 28 years.”

However, freshman Noelle Hunter took away the most from those stories of the ups and downs.

“It was really cool hearing that he went through hard times and [that] he finally made it,” Hunter said.

Philbin’s narrative made it clear that his success started with humility. He left students with his secret to starting on the path to the career they really want.

“Say, ‘I will be your assistant. I will be anyone’s assistant.'”
Philbin’s lesson in earning what you work for was the one that had the biggest influence on freshman Victoria Gilbert.

“He went from nothing to everything,” Gilbert said. “He is a success story from that advice because that’s how he started.” 

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