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Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 9 November 1933Camden, New Jersey, USA
Birth NameJames Edward Dooley
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jim Perry is a former television game show host, singer and performer in the 1970s and 1980s. He has had success on both Canadian and American television.

He started out as a singer in special services, working on Armed Forces Radio during the Korean war, and then replaced Eddie Fisher as the staff vocalist at Grossingers in the Catskill Mountains in New York and later did comedy working with Sid Caesar as his straight man for several years (which included a three-year stint with Caesar in Las Vegas and appearing on the short lived TV series "As Caesar Sees It"). These were under his birth name of Jim Dooley. Due to a name conflict with AFTRA, he took his mothers maiden name of Perry when he began his TV work.

Jim Perry became a popular game show host in Canada in the early 1970s after a stint as an overnight announcer and DJ fill in on radio station WABC in New York. His first effort in Canada was the popular game show Fractured Phrases, and afterwords presided over several other game shows, including Eye Bet and Money Makers -- the latter also airing on syndicated television in some markets across the United States.

Jim also served as an announcer for The Joan Rivers Show, a short-lived two month series that aired in 1969 on syndicated television.

In 1973, Perry became host of the CTV game show Definition (replacing original host Bob McLean), a pun based game which was the longest running game show in Canadian Television history, lasting until 1990. (the show was never cancelled - instead, Perry and the Producers agreed it was time to retire the show). Perry also hosted another long-running game show, Headline Hunters, which lasted from 1972 until 1981, with a year of repeats the following year.

In addition, Jim presided as emcee of the annual "Miss Canada" Pageant, a job he held from 1967 until 1990, about the same length of time his U.S. counterpart Bob Barker presided over the Miss USA Pageant on CBS. Like Bert Parks in the United States, Perry would sing the pageant's closing song, The fairest girl in Canada soon after the new Miss Canada was crowned.

In the 1970's, during the filming of the live broadcast of the Miss Canada pageant, a female protester broke into the studio. She threw something at Perry and contestants, while shouting that the pageant was sexist. Perry' instincts were to protect the female contestants and subsequently, he was hit with the flour. Amazingly, he continued on with the broadcast as if nothing happened.

Perry's first major American network hosting tenure came in 1967, with a short-lived charades-type game called "It's Your Move". The series, however, was produced in Canada for ABC television in the United States. Another game show also produced in Canada for syndicated TV in the U.S., "Money Makers" (a game based on Bingo), aired in 1969, originally titled Bingo at Home, in which contestants and home viewers had a chance to win money (albeit less than $100).

His biggest break in his native United States came in 1978 when NBC and Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions casted him for their new show Card Sharks. Perry hosted the entire NBC version and the two pilots that preceded the series, airing from April 24, 1978 until October 23, 1981.

Jim also hosted two game show pilots that never made it to television: Casino in 1981 (from Heatter-Quigley Productions), a game show combining elements of High Rollers, Gambit and The Joker's Wild; and Twisters in 1982, which was similar in format to Jackpot and was produced by Bob Stewart Productions.

In 1982, NBC named Perry host of $ale of the Century, a revived version of the 1969 - 1973 series, airing from January 3, 1983 until March 24, 1989 (the same day Super Password ended its run), including the syndicated version which aired from January 1985 until September 1986. For more than six seasons, he presided over the fast-paced Q&A game.

His style and sensational salesmanship helped to make the show a big hit for the network in the last golden era of game shows, and made Perry one of the top game show personalities of the 1980s in the United States. Not forgetting the time he spent with Sid Caesar, Perry would often tell jokes related to some of the questions asked on $ale.

As the result of his successful work in both the United States and Canada, Jim spent over a decade commuting between Southern California and Toronto, Ontario (except between late-1981 and late-1982). By hosting Card Sharks in the United States and Definition and Headline Hunters in Canada, Perry in 1978 became the first game show host in the industry to emcee game shows concurrently on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border.

Perry and Trebek also hold the distinction of hosting three different game shows simultaneously. As noted before, Perry pulled the Card Sharks/Definition/Headline Hunters triple hosting duty, while Trebek hosting Jeopardy!, Classic Concentration, and the 1990 revival of To Tell the Truth at one point in 1991. Jim also appeared as a celebrity player on Wheel of Fortune, Password Plus and Family Feud and was the guest host of various morning talk shows in Canada (ie The Alan Thicke show)

In total, Jim Perry hosted approximately ten different game shows (including unsold pilots) in a career that spanned about 25 years. He was also involved in charitable causes and was a regular host of the annual Telemiracle telethon in Saskatchewan for many years in support of the Kinsmen Clubs in that province. His daughter Erin also appeared on several of these telethons, and on each occasion, performed a song together.

Jim is retired from the game show industry and lives with his wife, June, in Florida and North Carolina. In recent years he authored two self-awareness books, and hosted one infomercial (produced by his daughter Erin for In-Finn-Ity Productions). His last television appearance was on CNBC in the late-1990s to discuss one of his books.

Perry is attended the University of Pennsylvania and was at one time an outstanding basketball player in high school thanks in part to his height (at 6' 4"). He was often nicknamed Big Jim because of his height.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Christina Crowe; corrected by Erin Perry

Spouse (1)

June (29 June 1959 - present) (2 children)

Trivia (7)

Hosted the Miss Canada Pageant on CTV for 24 years, between 1967-1990.
Was a straight man to comedian Sid Caesar and he was discovered at the Catskill Mountains in New York.
Two children: Sean and Erin.
Was considered as host of the revamp version of Card Sharks (1978), for both daytime (CBS) and nighttime (syndication), but was under contract hosting Sale of the Century (1983), hence giving the jobs separately to Bob Eubanks, in the daytime, and Bill Rafferty, during the nighttime.
Was a talented singer and sang during many of the pageants he hosted.
After NBC canceled 'Sale of the Century', Jim decided to retire from hosting and moved to Oregon with his wife. A few years later, they relocated to the East Coast, splitting their time between North Carolina and Florida.
Played basketball in college and was nicknamed "Big Jim" for his height. About the same height as fellow game show host Bob Barker, who also played basketball in college.

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