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Bill Cullen Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (95) | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 18 February 1920Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of Death 7 July 1990Bel Air, California, USA  (lung cancer)
Birth NameWilliam Lawrence Cullen

Mini Bio (1)

Bill Cullen was born on February 18, 1920 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA as William Lawrence Cullen. He was an actor, known for I've Got a Secret (1952), Hot Potato (1984) and The $10,000 Pyramid (1973). He was married to Ann Macomber and Carol Ames. He died on July 7, 1990 in Bel Air, California, USA.

Spouse (2)

Ann Macomber (24 December 1955 - 7 July 1990) (his death)
Carol Ames (30 July 1949 - 1955) (divorced)

Trade Mark (3)

Thick, horn-rimmed glasses
His puckish sense of humor and for playing pranks on his fellow announcers.
Occasionally, at the beginning of his shows, he was either seated or stood to his podium.

Trivia (95)

First game show was Winner Take All (1948).
Last game show was The Joker's Wild (1972).
Brother-in-law of Jack Narz and Tom Kennedy.
He was partially crippled by childhood polio.
Son-in-law of film composer Heinz Roemheld.
Third and last host of ABC (originally on Mutual) Radio's "Quick as a Flash" (1949-1951).
Has the record for hosting more game shows than any host in history at 24.
Known for staying busy in the broadcasting field, he worked as a game show host, a radio personality, and doing the play by play for sporting events. He sometimes also would be hosting more than one game show at a time.
He was an only child.
In an episode of I've Got a Secret (1952) hosted by Steve Allen, broadcast 4/15/2008 on Game Show Network, Bill Cullen said that his father-in-law wrote the song "Ruby". The original air date isn't indicated in GSN listings, but as Steve Allen only hosted during the 1960s, this would appear to have been Ann Macomber's father, Heinz Roemheld.
Was considered the host of the revamp version of the long-running game show, The Price Is Right (1972). Since the physical demands of the new set were too difficult for him, Bob Barker, was the producers second choice.
Like fellow game show host, Peter Tomarken, he also had a pilot's license, when he was a teenager.
Had served in the Civil Air Defense as an instructor and patrol pilot in his native Pennsylvania, despite the rejection of the Armed Services due to his childhood bout of polio.
He had many hobbies: photography, interior decorating, model plane building, painting (water color and oils), magic, music (he tried to learn saxophone and guitar), raising fish, writing plays and poetry. Of all his hobbies, though, his passion was flying.
Was involved in a serious car accident at age 17, which put him in the hospital for 9 months.
Was employed at Bob Stewart Productions from 1966 to 1980.
Met future wife Ann Macomber on a blind date arranged by her sister Mary Lou, who was the wife of Jack Narz at that time.
Met Carol Ames when she made a guest appearance on a radio show he announced. They were married in 1949, but were divorced in 1955.
Was enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh as a pre-med student, he dropped out of college because of the shortage of funds. He then took on a job as a mechanic at his father's garage an a tow truck driver, before coming back and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts.
Before he was a successful game show host, he worked as an unpaid (later staff) announcer.
At one point, he had dropped out of South High School, during his senior year, and raced professionally, but decided to comeback and graduate from high school in 1938.
Was employed by Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (later Mark Goodson Productions) from 1952 to 1983.
In high school, he hosted student assemblies, clowned at school spelling bees, organized fund-raising shows and published his own school paper when he disagreed with the policy of the official one.
Attended South High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Lived right next door to Wilt Chamberlain.
Before he was a successful game show host, he used to be a budding announcer of the Tommy Dorsey Band, fronted by Frank Sinatra.
Co-hosted with ex-I've Got a Secret (1952) panelmate, Betsy Palmer, on 'Ideas for Better Living.'.
Ranked #7 as GSN's Top 10 Game Show Hosts of All Time.
Best remembered by the public as host of the original The Price Is Right (1956), Eye Guess (1966), Three on a Match (1971) and the original Blockbusters (1980).
Before he was a successful game show host, he served as teacher in the pilot-training division of the Air Force.
Cullen spent a number of years attempting various forms of rehabilitation and exercise regimens to reduce the effects of childhood polio, but gave up after doctors determined his leg muscles were too damaged.
Guest-hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) while Johnny Carson took a vacation during his first year on the show.
At one point, he was going to replace Allen Funt as host of Candid Camera (1960), until a sponsor conflict ended those plans.
Had worked with Charlie O'Donnell on 2 game shows (ironically for Barry & Enright): Hot Potato (1984) and The Joker's Wild (1972).
Upon his death, he was cremated, his ashes were given to his family.
Had substituted for an ailing Allen Ludden for 4 weeks on Password Plus (1979).
His favorite game show to date was Child's Play (1982).
Worked with game show announcer Johnny Gilbert on 3 game shows: The Price Is Right (1956), Chain Reaction (1980) and Child's Play (1982).
The Bill Cullen Career Achievement Award which was given to him posthumously at the Congress' Annual Meeting in Burbank, California. [2004].
Ranked #5 on Life's 15 Best Game Show Hosts.
He replaced Jack Barry for the final 2 seasons of The Joker's Wild (1972), because of Barry's death in 1984, after Cullen hosted a game show produced by him, which was Hot Potato (1984).
Attended a local broadcasting school called Microphone Playhouse.
After his last game show The Joker's Wild (1972), he retired from hosting game shows at age 66.
Long before Anne-Marie Johnson was an actress, she used to be a contestant on Cullen's Child's Play (1982).
Was about to replace Allen Ludden as host of Password Plus (1979), but was hosting the original Blockbusters (1980), hence, the job was ultimately given to Tom Kennedy, who was his brother-in-law.
Filled in for Garry Moore on To Tell the Truth (1969), especially when Moore was suffering from throat cancer, late in 1976.
His game show Hot Potato (1984) was based on 'Decisions, Decisions,' a game show that failed to make it on the air.
Beat out Dick Van Dyke for the role as host of The Price Is Right (1956).
Had hosted two syndicated radio segments, 'The Parent's Notebook' sponsored by Johnson & Johnson where Cullen dispensed sometimes, obvious advice seemingly geared toward parents raising their first child.
Before he was a successful game show host, he was a stand-up comedian.
On I've Got a Secret (1952), producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman and host Garry Moore quickly learned to never start the questioning with Cullen if the guest's secret was anything sports-related or mechanical, because chances were good that he would guess it immediately.
Before he was a successful game show host, in his youth, Cullen assisted sportscaster Joe Tucker, who called Pittsburgh Steelers games.
Bill and his wife Ann Macomber, had both relocated from New York to Los Angeles, California, in 1978, at the time, Cullen was 58, and was hosting both shows, The Love Experts (1978) and The $25,000 Pyramid (1974).
Had commuted from New York to Los Angeles everyday, for 1 year, to host Place the Face (1953).
Was a very close friend of a fellow game show host Jim Perry, who was also a Pennsylvanian, like Cullen.
Was a spokesman for the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness.
Was the first game show host ever to have a disability.
In the early 1970s, Cullen had hosted the weekend radio program, 'Monitor.' Other emcees hosted the radio show were: Gene Rayburn, Ed McMahon, Monty Hall, Garry Moore and Art Fleming.
Frequently contributed recipes for celebrity cookbooks. His stuffed cabbage recipe appears in a 1966 charity cookbook called 'Happiness is More Recipes' for Barney Children's Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. A recipe for cheese souffle appears in Johna Blinn's 1981 collection called, simply, 'Celebrity Cookbook.'.
His second wife, Ann Macomber, was an artist.
His physical disabilities were (and largely remain) unknown to the general public due to the creative set design of his shows. The games' structures, props, and any physical movements by contestants were deliberately arranged so that Cullen could, for the most part, remain stationary. Rather than the grand entrance common for game show hosts, Cullen would begin each show either already seated or concealed on set behind a sign or podium so he would have to take only a few steps. Cullen always sat in a chair while hosting, even on shows where the other participants stood. Similar accommodations were made when he served as a celebrity guest on other game shows.
Was considered as host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (1999), but since his passing 9 years earlier, the job was ultimately given by Regis Philbin.
On a taping of the revival of Blockbusters (1987), which was hosted by Bill Rafferty. One of Rafferty's winning contestants, a former UCLA vascular surgeon, played the Gold Run, who picked the initials BC. When asked this question by Rafferty, 'Star of Super Password,' she ridiculously gave a wrong answer, who in turn, was the original host of Blockbusters (1980).
On a taping of the revival of The Price Is Right (1972), which was hosted by retired game show host, Bob Barker. One of his former contestants played the pricing game, 'Card Game,' she wanted to 'Freeze,' at $7,700 for the price of the Subaru Brat (though the price really was $8,751). Ironically, the catch-phrase, 'Freeze,' was what Cullen said, when he hosted the show.
Had no children.
In his youth, he was a close, personal friend of the 30th President, Calvin Coolidge.
He was known to be a very private man.
Before he met another popular game show host Bob Barker, Barker used to listen to Cullen's radio show, when he was an announcer on duty.
Met fellow game show host Geoff Edwards, when he was under contract with Bob Stewart Productions, in 1971.
Hosted the successful radio show, 'Pulse' (A.K.A. The Bill Cullen Show), while in New York. Cullen had spun records, read commercials, chatted with guests, stopped for news and weather reports, even ran contests, including a regular "Finders Keepers" game in which he would offer clues to the location of a hidden thousand-dollar bill.
Before he was a successful game show host, Cullen's first exposure was performing for a radio audience on the 1500 Club, an overnight program on tiny WWSW in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Survived by his wife of nearly 35 years, Ann Macomber, and 2 brothers-in-laws.
Moved to Los Angeles, California, from 1978 to 1990.
His parents were Hazel (Bost) Cullen, and Lawrence T. Cullen.
At age 24, Cullen moved to New York City, New York, in 1944, to pursue a career in Broadcasting.
His father, Lawrence T. Cullen, passed away, in 1969.
His mother, Hazel Bost Cullen, passed away on March 21, 1959.
Was the first game show host ever to appear on the front cover of TV Guide, but only 7 times.
Was among the last of the popular game show hosts to make the move from New York City to Los Angeles, California, in part because of his long-time association with producer Bob Stewart, who also resisted relocating to the west coast. By the beginning of the next decade, both Cullen and Stewart faced reality and joined their colleagues in California.
His father-in-law, Heinz Roemheld, passed away on February 11, 1985. He lived to be 84.
Bill Cullen passed away on July 7, 1990. Just before his death, he was a semi-regular of The $25,000 Pyramid (1974), that was hosted by his longtime friend Dick Clark.
The only game show Cullen did not become a celebrity panelist, was on Body Language (1984), which was hosted by his former brother-in-law Tom Kennedy, because of the physical demands that were too strenuous on him.
Shortly after Eye Guess (1966) ended, Cullen fell seriously ill. Diagnosed with pancreatitis and requiring major surgery, he took time off from work to recuperate. When he returned to television, particularly his position on the panel for To Tell the Truth (1969), his physical appearance had drastically changed; along with letting his hair grow out, his pancreatitis had caused him to lose over thirty pounds leaving his face gaunt and wrinkled.
Had six biggest winners in the 2 years of hosting the original Blockbusters (1980): one was a psychologist who had won $120,000 (after $60,000), then a future game show contestant had won $65,000 (after $47,000), then an UCLA student had won $106,000, in two separate wins, then another contestant had won $62,800 (after $50,800), then, an author and a single aunt, won $66,500 (after $60,000), and a former professional baseball player won was $51,700 ($46,700 in her ten matches). She only played one game in her return, due to the fact it was the final episode. She got $5,000 for winning it.
Shared the same birthday with Jack Palance.
Was a Republican.
Was a spokesperson for Mobil Oil in the 1970s. At that time, Cullen hosted the fictional game show in the corporate video, "The Bottom Line.".
Met fellow game show host, Gene Rayburn, while the two were under contract with Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (later Mark Goodson Productions) in 1953. The two became friends until Cullen's own death in 1990.
Was the last minute replacement as host of Hot Potato (1984), after it became apparent that the originally signed host wasn't going to work.
Like fellow game show panelists Betty White and Vicki Lawrence, Cullen was a beloved frequent guest celebrity/panelist on nearly every game show: Password All Stars (1964), The Hollywood Squares (1965), Match Game 73 (1973), The $10,000 Pyramid (1973), among many others.
Was a heavy smoker for most of his life. He died of lung cancer.
Was one of the youngest emcees ever to began hosting game shows at age 26, Ryan Seacrest and J.D. Roth both started hosting game shows at age 20 and Bob Eubanks, his understudy first hosted game shows at 28.
Met Mark Goodson and Bill Todman, while writing for the comedy series "Easy Aces." The 3 had a wonderful friendship, until Todman's death in 1979, 11 years before Cullen's own death in 1990.

Personal Quotes (4)

I often ask myself, 'How am I working?' I'm certainly not the guy who appeals to women between the ages of 18 and 35.
[when he wasn't allowed to wear a brace in school sports]: I did fine on the back lot. Maybe I ran a lot slower, but I hit the ball a lot harder.
[he wrote in 1957 about his limp]: Like thousands of other youngsters, I was stricken with polio as a child. Even with the wonderful care I received from my parents and doctors, I still carry the scars of this experience. Somehow, it never got me down. That's why I would rather not have people who see me limp along show any pity, distress or compassion - since I don't feel this way about my physical condition.
[in 1988 about game shows]: I don't enjoy television as much as I used to. It's not as much fun. There's a lot of greed today, it seems. A lot of business administration aspirants coming along. They used to play it for fun, to get on the air and have their friends see them. You'd give them a thousand dollars and you made their year. Now, unless it's twenty or thirty thousand dollars, they look at you like you suckered them into a deal that really didn't turn out as well as they perhaps had hoped.

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