Phil Regan (actor)

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Phil Regan
Swing Parade of 1946 poster.jpg
Regan (top) on film poster, 1946
Born(1906-05-28)28 May 1906
Died11 February 1996(1996-02-11) (aged 89)
OccupationActor, Singer
Spouse(s)Josephine Dwyer Regan 4 child

Philip Joseph Christopher Aloysius "Phil" Regan (28 May 1906 – 11 February 1996) was an American actor and singer who later served time for bribery in a real estate scandal.

Early years[edit]

Regan was the oldest of five children of an Irish immigrant couple who lived in Brooklyn, New York.[1] When he was 13 years old, Regan "had to quit school and drive a team of horses in Brooklyn."[2] Before venturing into a career in entertainment, he went on to work as a boatman, a court clerk, a clerk for an oil company, and a policeman.[3]


Regan worked as a detective on the NYPD, before his singing was overheard by a radio producer at a party. He was signed by CBS radio "as a result of his singing -- gratis -- at a charity benefit."[3] He became known as "The Romantic Singer of Romantic Songs" when he performed with Guy Lombardo and his orchestra on the Burns and Allen radio program.[2] This earned him the nickname "The Singing Cop". Regan went on to headline musical comedies at both Republic and Monogram studios.

His film debut was in The Key.[3]

William Gilmore, in a review of the film Laughing Irish Eyes in the Brooklyn Eagle, described Regan as having "astonishing good looks and an extraordinarily pleasing tenor voice."[4] He performed the National Anthem at the 1949 inauguration of President Harry S Truman.

Later years[edit]

Regan retired in the mid-1950s. After retiring, Regan spent his time in his Palm Springs and Santa Barbara houses. Regan dabbled in politics, endorsing Ronald Reagan for governor of California in 1966 against incumbent Pat Brown.[citation needed]

Bribery conviction[edit]

In 1972, he became involved with a developer named Halimi, who had created successful developments at Lake Tahoe and elsewhere. Halimi had purchased the option to develop a large coastal property on More Mesa in Santa Barbara, California, which required a permit from Santa Barbara County. He was aware that three of the five supervisors were in favor, but he wanted to find a fourth vote for Halimi to avoid an appeal. He approached Frank Frost in December 1972. Frost had just been elected to the Board of Supervisors and would take office in January. Frost perceived that an attempt at bribery was being arranged and reported his suspicions to the county district attorney and sheriff. A "sting" was planned and Regan passed $1000 to a friend of Frost's who posed as a go-between.

Testimony at Regan's trial established that he had promised an additional $5000 for Frost's vote. Regan was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to two years in prison. He was released after one year. Upon his release, Regan returned to Santa Barbara.

Personal life[edit]

Regan and his wife, Josephine Dwyer Regan, had four children[3] and 19 grandchildren.

A Democrat, he supported Adlai Stevenson's campaign during the 1952 presidential election.[5]

After 70 years of marriage, Josephine Regan died in 1994. Regan died on 11 February 1996, aged 89. They are interred in Santa Barbara's Calvary Cemetery.[6]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Heimer, Mel (10 August 1951). "My New York". The Logan Daily News. Ohio, Logan. p. 7. Retrieved 2 July 2016 – via open access
  2. ^ a b Harrison, Paul (15 November 1937). "Sleuth Who Found Film Fame Is Handcuffing His Fortune". Reading Times. Pennsylvania, Reading. Newspaper Enterprise Association. p. 9. Retrieved 2 July 2016 – via open access
  3. ^ a b c d "Phil Regan Dodges Hollywood's Pomp". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. 23 January 1938. p. 34. Retrieved 2 July 2016 – via open access
  4. ^ "At the Roxy". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. 6 April 1936. p. 12. Retrieved 2 July 2016 – via open access
  5. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, p. 33, Ideal Publishers
  6. ^ Philip Joseph Regan at Find a Grave

External links[edit]