Three television icons received special tributes at the 2021 Daytime Emmy Awards.
Ahead of the in memoriam, Alex Trebek, Larry King and Regis Philbin were honoured by famous friends during the ceremony on Friday. For the “Jeopardy!” host, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau kicked things off, expressing how proud he and Canadians everywhere were to have Trebek.
“Alex Trebek entertained millions of people with his quick wit and bright sense of humour, and he never missed an opportunity to stump contestants with questions about Canada. And like so many Canadians, he cared deeply about conservation and protecting our lands,” he said in part. “We will all miss gathering around the TV to watch Alex, but his legacy of giving and caring will surely live on. When I got to talk with him a few years ago and he expressed to me how proud he was to be a Canadian, I had to tell him that all Canadians are incredibly proud that he’s one of us as well.”
He was followed by Robin Roberts, who recalled the last time she interviewed him in the midst of his cancer treatment.
“Alex walked in with such grace, putting everyone around him at ease. And he was so open, talking about all he was going through at the time. And he did it in hopes of helping others. That was Alex,” Roberts said. “He actually told me, despite his dire diagnosis, that he was an extremely fortunate individual — those were his words– for being able to experience so much love and support from so many people. Once again, that was Alex. Finding and sharing the good in every situation.”
Ken Jeong and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden also shared some touching words about the TV host.
During the ceremony, Trebek, who died November 8 after a battle with cancer at the age of 80, also won a posthumous Emmy for Outstanding Game Show Host. “Jeopardy!” also took home the Emmy for Outstanding Game Show.
King died on Jan. 23 of sepsis. He was 87. He was honoured by Martha Stewart, who praised his impeccable interviewing skills, personality and how much he cared about each interviewee.
“It’s with great sadness, but also with great admiration, that I celebrate the passing of Larry King. I met Larry King early on when he was still a radio show host in Washington, D.C.” Stewart began. “I would venture down to Washington on my book tours and always end a very, very busy day of interviews and demonstrations with a one-hour interview by Larry King.”
“He was a great interviewer way back then. And as he built his career, finally, on CNN, making a very important impression on the audiences watching CNN for live news, Larry King continued to be the penultimate interviewer,” she added. “He was always fair, always interesting. The questions were always invigorating to the interviewee. And I really enjoyed being interviewed by him. Larry was always there for me. And I think he was there for pretty much anybody he interviewed. Thank you, Larry, for a life of interest, of depth, of personality, of real caring. Thank you.”
King also won the Outstanding Informative Talk Show Host award during the telecast.
As for Philbin, who died on July 24 of natural causes at the age of 88, his longtime “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” co-host and close friend Kathy Lee Gifford shared some emotional words.
“For 15 years, it was my absolute joy and delight and honour and privilege to sit next to somebody that you might remember. Sure you do. His name was Regis Philbin, and there was nobody like him,” Gifford marvelled. “He was one-of-a-kind, he was unique, he was an original. He was, oh, the most fun you could ever have with a human being. And I got to sit next to him and play verbal ping-pong with him for all those years. I got to learn from the master.”
She added that “he was a great personal friend to me till the day he died. Oh, we all miss Regis, don’t we? ‘Cause all he wanted to do was make people laugh, make ’em happy, make ’em believe in themselves, make them dream big dreams like he did. ‘Cause they can come true. I know we all miss him. I do. I’ll never be the same. I know he’s slaying ’em in heaven right now. He’s up there with all the greats. He and Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. They’re all just, they’re having a screamfest up there. Henny Youngman is just I’d say ‘dying’ but he’s already…Anyway, anyway, that’s where Regis is, and I couldn’t be happier for him and I couldn’t miss him more.”