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 years, and People Are Funny, on
NBC radio and TV for 19 years.
He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1942.
One of Linkletter's lasting legacies are the many light hearted
interview segments with children which appeared regularly on his
daytime House Party program entitled Kids Say the Darndest Things. A
best selling series of books soon followed which contained the
humorous comments made on-air by these children.
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
3.3 Awards and honors
4 Personal life
5 Illness and death
6 Cultural references
9 External links
Early life and career
Linkletter was born Arthur Gordon Kelly in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. 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
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
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
spokesman for 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
Valley Music Theater in
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
Reagan for 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
President's Council on Service and Civic Participation
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
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, located on 1560 Vine Street.
Linkletter on The
Jack Benny Show
Linkletter had one of the longest marriages of any well-known person
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 three of their five
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
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,
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.
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.
Linkletter, Art (1968). Linkletter Down Under. Kaye Ward.
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.
Linkletter, Art (1974). Women are My Favorite People. Doubleday.
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.
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.
Linkletter, Art (2006). How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of
Your Life. with Mark Victor Hansen. Thomas Nelson.
^ 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.
Art Linkletter Biography (1912-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved
^ a b c d Grimes, William (May 26, 2010). "Art Linkletter, TV Host,
Dies at 97". 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
Darndest Things'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
The "E" Ticket
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, 1980
^ 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.
Appearance On What's My Line 9/17/61 on YouTube
Wikinews has related news: Art Linkletter, creator of Kids Say the
Darndest Things, dies peacefully at 97
"Art Linkletter, dies age 97"
Art Linkletter on IMDb
Disney Legends profile
Retro Galaxy: Kids Say the Darndest Things!
Interview with Art Linkletter
Collection of quotes
2000 interview with Larry King
Linkletter's view on federal drug policy
Art Linkletter biography
Art Linkletter: America's Fun Uncle, Life.com slideshow
Art Did the Darndest Things . . . to Your Jokes (
Dick Cavett on
writing for Linkletter)
Art Linkletter at Find a Grave
Art Linkletter interview video at the Archive of American Television
King Features Syndicate
King Features Syndicate comics
The Amazing Spider-Man
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith
The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee
Dennis the Menace
The Family Circus
Hägar the Horrible
Hi and Lois
The Katzenjammer Kids
Kevin and Kell
Mandrake the Magician
Moose & Molly
Mother Goose and Grimm
On the Fastrack
The Pajama Diaries
Pardon My Planet
Pros & Cons
Rex Morgan, M.D.
Rhymes with Orange
Sam and Silo
Slylock Fox & Comics for Kids
Take It from the Tinkersons
Todd the Dinosaur
Abie the Agent
Alphonse and Gaston
And Her Name Was Maud
Art Linkletter's Kids
The Better Half
Betty Boop and Felix
Big Ben Bolt
Bleeker: The Rechargeable Dog
Bringing Up Father
Count Screwloose from Tooloose
Felix the Cat
Grin and Bear It
The Heart of Juliet Jones
Heaven's Love Thrift Shop
Inside Woody Allen
King of the Royal Mounted
Little Annie Rooney
The Little King
The Lone Ranger
Ollie and Quentin
Pete the Tramp
Polly and Her Pals
Room and Board
Secret Agent X-9
Steve Roper and Mike Nomad
They'll Do It Every Time
Tillie the Toiler
Tim Tyler's Luck
Toots and Casper
Walt Disney's Treasury of Classic Tales
What a Guy!
Winnie the Pooh
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
Central Press Association
King Features Syndicate
National Cartoonists Society
The Sunday Funnies
Theodore Roosevelt Award winners
1971: Kraft Jr.
1988: Not presented
2003: de Varona
Daytime Emmy Award Lifetime Achievement
Charita Bauer, Larry Haines, Mary Stuart (1985)
Pamela Ilott (1986)
Mark Goodson (1990)
William J. Bell
William J. Bell (1992)
Douglas Marland (1993)
Dick Clark (1994)
Ted Corday (1995)
Phil Donahue (1996)
Fred Rogers (1997)
Oprah Winfrey (1998)
Bob Barker (1999)
Barbara Walters (2000)
Ralph Edwards (2001)
John Cannon (2002)
Art Linkletter (2003)
Rachel Ames, John Clark, Jeanne Cooper, Eileen Fulton, Don Hastings,
Anna Lee, Ray MacDonnell, Frances Reid, Helen Wagner, Ruth Warrick
Merv Griffin (2005)
Caroll Spinney (2006)
Lee Phillip Bell,
James Lipton (2007)
Regis Philbin (2008)
Sesame Street (2009)
Agnes Nixon (2010)
Alex Trebek (2011)
Bill Geddie (2012)
Monty Hall, Bob Stewart (2013)
Russell Morash (2014)
Betty White (2015)
Sonia Manzano (2016)
Mary Hart (2017)
Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album
Stan Freberg – The Best of the
Stan Freberg Shows (1959)
Carl Sandburg –
Lincoln Portrait (1960)
Robert Bialek (producer) – FDR Speaks (1961)
Leonard Bernstein – Humor in Music (1962)
Charles Laughton – The Story-Teller: A Session With Charles Laughton
Edward Albee (playwright) –
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1964)
That Was the Week That Was
That Was the Week That Was – BBC Tribute to John F. Kennedy (1965)
Goddard Lieberson (producer) – John F. Kennedy - As We Remember Him
Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow –
Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow - A Reporter Remembers, Vol. I
The War Years (1967)
Everett Dirksen – Gallant Men (1968)
Rod McKuen – Lonesome Cities (1969)
Art Linkletter &
Diane Linkletter – We Love You Call Collect
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. – Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam (1971)
Les Crane – Desiderata (1972)
Bruce Botnick (producer) – Lenny performed by the original Broadway
Richard Harris –
Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1974)
Peter Cook and
Dudley Moore – Good Evening (1975)
James Whitmore –
Give 'em Hell, Harry!
Give 'em Hell, Harry! (1976)
Henry Fonda, Helen Hayes,
James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones and
Orson Welles - Great
American Documents (1977)
Julie Harris –
The Belle of Amherst
The Belle of Amherst (1978)
Orson Welles –
Citizen Kane Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
John Gielgud – Ages of Man - Readings From
Pat Carroll – Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein,
Gertrude Stein (1981)
Orson Welles –
Donovan's Brain (1982)
Tom Voegeli (producer) –
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raiders of the Lost Ark - The Movie on
Record performed by Various Artists (1983)
William Warfield –
Lincoln Portrait (1984)
Ben Kingsley – The Words of Gandhi (1985)
Mike Berniker (producer) & the original Broadway cast – Ma
Rainey's Black Bottom (1986)
Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chips Moman, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison,
Carl Perkins and
Sam Phillips – Interviews From the Class of '55
Recording Sessions (1987)
Garrison Keillor –
Lake Wobegon Days (1988)
Jesse Jackson – Speech by Rev.
Jesse Jackson (1989)
Gilda Radner – It's Always Something (1990)
George Burns – Gracie: A Love Story (1991)
Ken Burns – The Civil War (1992)
Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Robert O'Keefe – What You Can Do to Avoid
Maya Angelou –
On the Pulse of Morning
On the Pulse of Morning (1994)
Henry Rollins – Get in the Van (1995)
Maya Angelou – Phenomenal Woman (1996)
Hillary Clinton –
It Takes a Village (1997)
Charles Kuralt – Charles Kuralt's Spring (1998)
Christopher Reeve –
Still Me (1999)
LeVar Burton – The Autobiography of
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. (2000)
Sidney Poitier, Rick Harris & John Runnette (producers) – The
Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (2001)
Quincy Jones, Jeffrey S. Thomas, Steven Strassman (engineers) and
Elisa Shokoff (producer) – Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones
Maya Angelou and Charles B. Potter (producer) – A Song Flung Up to
Heaven / Robin Williams, Nathaniel Kunkel (engineer/mixer) and Peter
Asher (producer) – Live 2002 (2003)
Al Franken and Paul Ruben (producer) – Lies and the Lying Liars Who
Tell Them (2004)
Bill Clinton – My Life (2005)
Barack Obama –
Dreams from My Father
Dreams from My Father (2006)
Jimmy Carter – Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis / Ossie
Ruby Dee - With Ossie and Ruby (2007)
Barack Obama and Jacob Bronstein (producer) – The Audacity of Hope
Cynthia Nixon and
Blair Underwood – An Inconvenient
Al Gore (2009)
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox – Always Looking Up (2010)
Jon Stewart – The Daily Show with
Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The
Betty White – If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't) (2012)
Janis Ian – Society's Child (2013)
Stephen Colbert – America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never
Joan Rivers – Diary of a Mad Diva (2015)
Jimmy Carter – A Full Life: Reflections at 90 (2016)
Carol Burnett – In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter,
Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox (2017)
Carrie Fisher –
The Princess Diarist
The Princess Diarist (2018)
ISNI: 0000 0001 1471 7246