ARTHUR GORDON "ART" LINKLETTER (born ARTHUR GORDON KELLY, or GORDON
ARTHUR KELLEY (sources differ), July 17, 1912 – May 26, 2010) was a
Canadian-born American radio and television personality . He was the
host of House Party , which ran on
CBS radio and television for 25
People Are Funny , on
NBC radio and TV for 19 years.
Linkletter was famous for interviewing children on House Party and
Kids Say the Darndest Things , which led to a series of books quoting
children. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1942.
* 1 Early life and career
* 1.1 From radio into television
* 1.2 Early television and film appearances
* 1.3 Toy and game promotions
* 2 Art Linkletter\'s Kids
* 3 Later years
* 3.1 Activism
* 3.2 Philanthropy
* 3.3 Awards and honors
* 4 Personal life
* 5 Illness and death
* 6 Cultural references
* 7 Works
* 8 References
* 9 External links
EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Linkletter was born ARTHUR GORDON KELLY in
Moose Jaw ,
In his autobiography, Confessions of a Happy Man (1960), he revealed
that he had no contact with his natural parents or his sister or two
brothers since he was abandoned when only a few weeks old. He was
adopted by Mary (née Metzler) and Fulton John Linkletter, an
When he was five, his family moved to
San Diego ,
California , where
he graduated from
San Diego High School at age 16. During the early
years of the Great Depression, he rode trains around the country doing
odd jobs and meeting a wide variety of people. In 1934, he earned a
bachelor's degree in teaching from
San Diego State Teachers College
San Diego State University ), where he was a member of the Alpha
Tau Omega fraternity. While attending
San Diego State, he played for
the basketball team and was a member of the swimming team. He had
previously planned to attend
Springfield College , but did not, for
In 1935 he met Lois Foerster. They were married at Grace Lutheran
Church in San Diego, November 28, 1935. Their marriage lasted until
Linkletter's death, 74 1⁄2 years later.
FROM RADIO INTO TELEVISION
After receiving his teaching degree, Linkletter decided to go to work
as a radio announcer at KGB in San Diego, because radio paid better
than teaching. He directed radio programs for fairs and expositions in
the mid-1930s. Afterwards, he moved to San Francisco and continued his
radio career. In 1943, Linkletter pleaded guilty to falsely claiming
US citizenship; he was fined $500 and permitted to apply for
citizenship. In the 1940s, Linkletter worked in Hollywood with John
Guedel on their pioneering radio show,
People Are Funny , which
employed audience participation, contests and gags. The series served
as a prototype for future radio and television game shows. People Are
Funny became a television show in 1954 and ran until 1961. Sam
Berman 's caricature of Linkletter for NBC's 1947 promotional book
EARLY TELEVISION AND FILM APPEARANCES
Other early television shows Linkletter worked on included Life With
Linkletter with his son Jack (1969–1970) and Hollywood Talent Scouts
(1965–1966). He also acted in two movies,
People Are Funny (1946)
Champagne for Caesar (1950).
Linkletter declined the opportunity offered by his friend Walt Disney
to invest in the
Disneyland theme park project along with building and
Disneyland Hotel due to Linkletter's doubts about the
park's prospects. But, out of friendship for Disney, Linkletter
volunteered his experience as a live program broadcaster to help
organize ABC's coverage of the
Disneyland opening in 1955 on what was
his 43rd birthday. Besides being an on-air host, he recruited his two
Ronald Reagan and
Bob Cummings . The park opening experience
convinced Linkletter that
Disneyland was going to be a huge success.
When Disney asked what he could do to show his gratitude for the
broadcast's role in the successful launching of the park, Linkletter
asked for Disneyland's camera and film concession for its first ten
years, a request that was quickly granted. This turned out to be
extremely lucrative. He appeared for two stints of two weeks each, as
a guest host of
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show in 1962 between
Jack Paar 's
departure and Johnny Carson's arrival as its new host.
In the 1950s, Linkletter hosted a 15 minute series for syndication
Art Linkletter And The Kids, seen locally on Saturday mornings
in some areas.
TOY AND GAME PROMOTIONS
In the 1950s, Linkletter became a major investor in and promoter of
the hula hoop . In 1963, Linkletter became the endorser and
Milton Bradley 's
The Game of Life . His picture
appeared on the game's $100,000 bills and also on the box, framed by
the statement "I heartily endorse this game."
ART LINKLETTER\'S KIDS
Art Linkletter's Kids was a 1963–64 gag cartoon panel drawn by the
Stan Fine and distributed by King Features
In the 1960s, Linkletter started a dance school, the Art Linkletter
School of Jazz, Tap, and Ballet, in Pomona and Claremont , California.
After three public meetings in 1967, an eight-member Los Angeles City
Council committee "cleared" Linkletter and City Council Member Tom
Shepard of charges that they were linked in a scheme to influence city
purchase of the "financially troubled"
Valley Music Theater in
Woodland Hills .
In 1988, he appeared as himself on the syndicated sitcom Small Wonder
in the episode "Come Fly With Me." At one point he was a spokesman for
National Home Life, an insurance company.
A registered Republican who campaigned for his old friend Ronald
President of the United States
President of the United States , Linkletter became a
political organizer and a spokesman for the United Seniors
Association, now known as
USA Next , an alternative to the
AARP . As
part of this role, Linkletter was active in campaigning for more
stringent restrictions on elderly motorists. He was also a member of
the President\'s Council on Service and Civic Participation (which
ended in November 2008).
In 1978, he wrote the foreword to the bestselling self-help book
Release Your Brakes! by James W. Newman, in which he wrote, "I believe
none of us should ever stop growing, learning, changing, and being
curious about what's going to happen next. None of us is perfect, so
we should be eager to learn more and try to be more effective persons
in every part of our lives."
In 2005, at the age of 93, he opened the Happiest Homecoming on Earth
celebrations for the 50th anniversary of
Disneyland . Half a century
earlier, he had been the commentator on the opening day celebrations
in 1955. For this, he was named a
Disney Legend .
Linkletter invested wisely, enabling his considerable philanthropy.
A member of
Pepperdine University 's
Board of Regents , Linkletter was
also a long-term trustee at
Springfield College , where he donated
funds to build the swimming center named in his honor, the Art
AWARDS AND HONORS
Linkletter received a lifetime achievement
Daytime Emmy award in
2003. He was inducted into the
National Speakers Association Speaker
Hall of Fame. He also received honorary degrees from several
universities, including his alma mater,
San Diego State University;
Pepperdine University ; and the
University of Prince Edward Island .
For his contribution to television, he was honored with a star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame , located on 1560 Vine Street.
Linkletter on The
Jack Benny Show
Linkletter had one of the longest marriages of any celebrity in
America, at nearly 75 years. He married Lois Foerster on November 25,
1935, and they had five children: Arthur Jack , Dawn, Robert, Sharon
and Diane . Lois Foerster Linkletter died at the age of 95 on October
11, 2011. Art and Lois Linkletter outlived two of their five children.
On October 4, 1969, 20-year-old Diane died after jumping out of her
sixth-floor kitchen window. Linkletter claimed that her death was
drug related because she was on, or having a flashback from, an LSD
trip (toxicology tests later determined there were no drugs in Diane's
system at the time of her death). After Diane's death, Linkletter
spoke out against drugs to prevent children from straying into a drug
habit. His record, "We Love You, Call Collect", recorded before her
death, featured a discussion about permissiveness in modern society,
along with a rebuttal by Diane, titled "Dear Mom and Dad". The record
won a 1970 Grammy Award for the "Best Spoken Word Recording".
Art and Lois' son Robert Linkletter died in an automobile accident on
September 12, 1980. Another son, Arthur , died from lymphoma in 2007.
ILLNESS AND DEATH
In early 2008, Linkletter suffered a mild stroke . He died on May 26,
2010 at age 97 at his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles , California.
After his death,
Phyllis Diller stated, "In a couple of months Art
Linkletter would have been 98 years old, a full life of fun and
goodness, an orphan who made it to the top. What a guy." He was
survived by his wife, Lois and daughters Dawn Griffin and Sharon
Linkletter, as well as seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
He was satirized as "Art Lamplighter," the host of "People Are
Phoney," in the 1959
Merrie Melodies animated short
People Are Bunny .
* Linkletter, Art (1957). Kids Say the Darndest Things!. Englewood
Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
OCLC 336428 .
* Linkletter, Art (1960). The Secret World of Kids. New York: Pocket
Books. ASIN B0007FZ0X0 .
* Linkletter, Art (1962) . Confessions of a Happy Man. with Dean
Jennings. New York: Pocket Books.
OCLC 21491400 .
* Linkletter, Art (1962). Kids Sure Rite Funny!. Bernard Geis
Associate. ASIN B001KZ1FU8 .
* Linkletter, Art (1962). Kids STILL say the Darndest Things!.
Pocket Books, Inc. ASIN B0007FZWBA .
* Linkletter, Art (1965). A Child's Garden of Misinformation. Random
House. ASIN B0007DSKPW .
* Linkletter, Art (1968). I Wish I'd Said That! My Favorite Ad-Libs
of All Time. Doubleday. ASIN B000MTRRQO .
* Linkletter, Art (1968). Oops! Or, Life's Awful Moments. Pocket
Books. ASIN B0007FBEFS .
* Linkletter, Art (1968). Linkletter Down Under. Kaye Ward. ASIN
* Linkletter, Art (February 1970). "We Must Fight the Epidemic of
Drug Abuse!". Reader's Digest: 56–60.
* Linkletter, Art (1973). Drugs at my Door Step. W Publishing Group.
ISBN 0-87680-335-4 .
* Linkletter, Art (1974). Women are My Favorite People. Doubleday.
ISBN 0-385-05226-X .
* Linkletter, Art (1974). How to be a Super Salesman: Linkletter's
Art of Persuasion. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0-13-396606-2 .
* Linkletter, Art (1990). Yes, You Can!. Spire. ASIN B000O8ZB8O .
* Linkletter, Art (1980). I Didn't Do It Alone: The Autobiography of
Art Linkletter as Told to George Bishop. Ottawa, Illinois: Caroline
House Publishers. ISBN 0-89803-040-4 .
OCLC 6899386 .
* Linkletter, Art (1990). Old Age is Not for Sissies. Bookthrift Co.
ISBN 0-7917-1479-9 .
* Linkletter, Art (2006). How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best
of Your Life. with Mark Victor Hansen. Thomas Nelson. ISBN
* ^ Ray Poindexter (1978). Golden throats and silver tongues: the
radio announcers. River Road Press. p. 108.
* ^ Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 102.
* ^ Broadcasting. Broadcasting Publications. October 1967.
* ^ A B Mann, Arnold (November 11, 2002). "Preacher\'s Kid". Time .
Time. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
* ^ "
Art Linkletter Biography (1912-)". Filmreference.com.
* ^ A B C D Grimes, William (May 26, 2010). "Art Linkletter, TV
Host, Dies at 97".
The New York Times
The New York Times . Retrieved 2010-05-26.
* ^ "Linkletter Pleads". Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising .
Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc. 24 (4): 26. January
* ^ "Linkletter Fined". Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising. 24
(5): 26. February 1, 1943.
* ^ A B Oliver, Myrna, Nelson, Valerie J. (May 27, 2010). "Art
Linkletter dies at 97; broadcasting pioneer created \'Kids Say the
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2010-05-27.
The "E" Ticket #40 (2003)
* ^ Here’s…(not yet)…Johnny!
Art Linkletter and the Kids 1 (1 of 2), YouTube
Art Linkletter and the Kids 2 (2 of 2), YouTube
* ^ "1950s Hula Hoop vintage photo ART LINKLETTER and kids Flickr
- Photo Sharing!". Flickr. 2012-09-25. Retrieved 2014-03-22.
* ^ "
Art Linkletter Discusses His Career in Television". Larry King
Live . CNN. June 30, 2000.
* ^ "
Art Linkletter RIP (1912-2010)". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved
* ^ Zenobia, Jason (2010-05-26). "The Flaming Chef: "I Heartily
Endorse This Obituary"". Jasonzenobia.blogspot.com. Retrieved
* ^ Erwin Baker, "Probe Clears Councilman and Linkletter". Los
Angeles Times , August 5, 1967, page 3. Library card required
* ^ Aquatics: Swim Lessons,
Springfield College website
* ^ A B "TV Show Host
Art Linkletter Dies at 97". foxnews.com.
2010-05-26. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
* ^ Obituary: "Robert Linkletter" The New York Times. September 13,
* ^ Obituary: "Jack Linkletter, Second-Generation TV Host, Dies at
70", The New York Times, December 21, 2007.
* ^ Duke, Alan (May 27, 2010). "Legendary broadcaster Art
Linkletter is dead at 97". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
* ^ "TV Show Host
Art Linkletter Dies at 97".
Fox News . Associated
Press . May 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-26.