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Bill Cullen Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (3) | Trivia (68) | 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 (New) $25,000 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 (68)

First game show was Winner Take All (1948).
Last game show was The Joker's Wild (1972).
Brother in law of Jack Narz
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 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).
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.
Was influenced by: Bob Eubanks, Chuck Woolery and Wink Martindale.
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.
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 (I)'. 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.

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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