Passion 4 Life remembers Regis Philbin

Linda and Charles Van Kessler
Linda and Charles Van Kessler with Joy and Regis Philbin in New York

When Regis Philbin had heart surgery in 2007, Encinitas-based Passion 4 Life sent him a bottle of their liquid vitamins with a note.

“We figured we would send it just to be nice to him and wish him well,” said Linda Van Kessler, co-founder of Passion 4 Life. “So we did that and we really never expected to hear from him.”

Linda and her husband Charles didn’t know Philbin personally, but she said that the company “just wanted to do something nice for him for all the humor and joy he always brought in the morning to everybody.”

To their surprise, Philbin, who became a household name after years on daytime television and as host of the show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” responded to say how much he appreciated the gift.

“If anything can put a little passion in my life, it’s your wonderful product,” he wrote to them in August 2007, after his triple bypass surgery. “I don’t think you missed any vitamin or mineral in the mix and I’m sure they will help speed along my recovery.”

Philbin exchanged emails, texts and letters with the Van Kesslers over the following years, and twice met with them in New York.

When Philbin died last month at age 88, Linda said “it was like a family member passed away.”

“He had been on our lips and part of our vocabulary for so many years, since 2007,” she said. “We were just so sad because we felt like he was one of a dying breed. He was so kind and such a gentleman and so humble and so generous. It really hit us hard.”

Philbin continued using their vitamins over the years, and a testimonial he provided can still be found on the Passion 4 Life website.

“Regis loved that we were a family run business from San Diego, where he started,” Charles said in a statement. “He was touched by my story of creating the product for myself to heal my malnourished and abused body after being raised in a Dutch orphanage during World War II suffering years of abuse of every kind after the Nazis dragged my family away in front of me at age 2. He also loved that we are a ‘Vitamin with a Mission’ since a portion of our profits helps to fund our children’s nonprofit, Passion 4 K.I.D.S.”

For more information on Passion 4 Life and Passion 4 K.I.D.S., visit and