Regis Philbin sadly passed away earlier this year — but apparently, he almost died nearly a decade ago because of David Letterman!
On Wednesday’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, the former late night star recalled having the daytime TV legend as a guest on Late Show With David Letterman the night before he retired from Live! With Regis and Kelly in 2011.
The comedian explained that while deciding what kind of present to get Regis to celebrate his retirement, one of his staffers suggested a Rascal Scooter as “a joke about how old and feeble” he is. However, Letterman had a better idea — or so he thought.
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“I said, ‘No, no. Let’s not give Regis a Rascal Scooter. Let’s give him an actual scooter, like a Vespa. Everybody knows how to ride a motor scooter.’ … So that’s what we decided to do. ‘Regis, we’re so excited. We’re sorry you’re retiring, but to commemorate the evening and your last show tomorrow, we’re giving you this beautiful, brand-new Vespa scooter.’”
Y’all know where this is going…
The CBS program had the TV icon ride the scooter on-camera, right outside of the studio. After he waved goodbye, however, Regis took a harsh tumble to the ground. Ouch!
Although Regis was fortunately uninjured, Letterman confessed that the stunt could have gone even worse, recalling with a laugh:
“He could have been killed. He actually could have been killed. The last night before he retires he comes over, and I kill him … Nobody checked him out on it, because the assumption was, A, anybody can ride a scooter. And B, certainly Regis will ride a scooter.”
Ultimately, Lettermen decided to drive and whisk Philbin away on the scooter himself. Probably a good call there!
Letterman went on to gush over the late legend’s enthusiasm for entertaining the masses, telling Kimmel:
“He never said no. He often would do things that we didn’t want him to do. He showed up once dressed as Shrek. I’m not sure he knew why, but there he was in his Shrek outfit. But I was unimpressed. I mean, there are guys in show business who need the costume to stay in business. Regis was not one of them. He would do anything. He would come and be on the show and you could call him later and say, ‘Regis, your makeup was lousy. Can you come back? We’re going to do the whole show over.’ And he’d put on his suit and he would come back… Tremendous individual… a great heart.”
We’ll sure never forget him! Ch-ch-check out the clip (below) to hear the comedian tell the full story.
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