The untold truth of Regis Philbin’s first wife, Catherine ‘Kay’ Faylen

Regis Philbin — who died on July 24, 2020 of natural causes, per People — was best known for his long and storied television career. But Philbin was also a family man, survived by his three daughters; wife, Joy Philbin; and his first wife, Catherine “Kay” Faylen. Most fans know all about Joy, given that she had been Philbin’s wife since 1970 and was the mother of two of his most well known children, J.J. and Joanna Philbin. But what about his first wife Kay Faylen? Not a lot of people know very much about her. 

But Faylen is also his family, even if after their divorce she’s largely stayed out of the spotlight. Faylen and Philbin were married for 13 years after tying the knot in 1955, per Entertainment Tonight. Judging by Philbin’s career timeline, the couple split just as he was making it big. After leaving the Navy, Philbin entered the entertainment industry in 1955 as a page at The Tonight Show, according to NY1. His first solo hosting job was for a San Diego radio station where he had a show called The Regis Philbin Show, and in 1967, he entered into the national zeitgeist on the Joey Bishop Show as a sidekick. Philbin’s current wife, Joy, was Joey’s Bishop’s assistant, per People. He and Faylen divorced in 1968. 

So, what else is known about their time together?

Regis Philbin and Kay Faylen had two children together

Although Regis Philbin told People in 1991 that his marriage to Kay Faylen “didn’t work or last,” they did have two children together. Very little is known about his eldest daughter Amy, who was born in 1961, as she doesn’t have much of a social presence. Closer Weekly reported that she did pursue a career in singing, but that’s about it. Philbin’s son Daniel was born in 1967, just before the couple divorced. 

Daniel was born with a spinal cord defect that caused him to need a wheelchair. He had both legs amputated and spent most of his childhood at the Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation in California. His disability didn’t hinder his career, though. He ended up working for the Department of Defense and was honored at age 37 for contributions during the Sept. 11 attacks. Sadly, Radar Online reported that he and his father had a strained relationship that was mended before Daniel died in 2014 at the age of 49 years old. It’s unclear whether Philbin’s relationships with his daughter Amy or his ex were just as strained. 

Catherine 'Kay' Faylen worked in the entertainment biz, just like her ex-husband

Regis Philbin and his first wife, Kay Faylen, were both embedded in the entertainment industry when they were together, even though they were just starting out. Per her IMDb page, Faylen is credited for small roles in shows like Perry Mason, Science Fiction Theatre, and Highway Patrol, among a handful of others. It appears she hasn’t acted since 1957, a few years before her first kid was born in 1961. 

Although the couple didn’t last and Faylen has chosen to live a life away from the spotlight of Hollywood, the two obviously have a shared history. Philbin married his current wife, Joy Philbin, two years after his 1968 divorce and they went on to have two more daughters, J.J. and Joanna, together. They were married for 50 years at the time of his death at 88 years old and often worked together, with Joy filling in for Kathie Lee Gifford sometimes on his morning talk show, Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee. Philbin will surely be missed by all of his family members, even if some of them are more well known than the others. 

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