Art Linkletter

Art Linkletter
Art Linkletter

Sam Berman's caricature of Linkletter for NBC's 1947 promotional book.
Born Gordon Arthur Kelly
July 17, 1912(1912-07-17)
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died May 26, 2010(2010-05-26) (aged 97)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Radio/television personality
Years active 1933–2010
Spouse Lois Foerster (m. 1935–2010) «start: (1935)–end+1: (2011)»"Marriage: Lois Foerster to Art Linkletter" Location: (linkback://

Arthur Gordon "Art" Linkletter (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-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. A native of Canada, he became a naturalized United States citizen in 1942.


Early life and career

Linkletter was born Gordon Arthur 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 evangelical preacher.[1][2] 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.[3] In 1934, he earned a bachelor's degree from San Diego State Teachers College (now San Diego State University) (SDSU), 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 financial reasons.

He earned a degree in teaching but took a job as a radio announcer at KGB-FM in San Diego. Radio paid better than teaching, and Linkletter directed radio programs for fairs and expositions in the mid-1930s. 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.[3] People Are Funny became a television show in 1954 and ran until 1961.[4]

Other early television shows Linkletter worked on included Life With Linkletter with his son Jack (1969–1970) and Hollywood Talent Scouts (1965–1966). He acted in two movies, People Are Funny (1946) and Champagne for Caesar (1950). He was, along with Ronald Reagan and Bob Cummings one of the hosts of ABC's coverage of the opening of Disneyland in 1955. He appeared three times as a guest host of The Tonight Show (1962).

In the 1950s, Linkletter became a major investor in and promoter of the hula hoop.[5][6]

Art Linkletter's Kids

Art Linkletter's Kids was a 1963-64 gag cartoon panel drawn by the prolific cartoonist Stan Fine and distributed by King Features Syndicate. 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 alongside the statement "I heartily endorse this game".

Later years

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.[7]

Linkletter invested wisely[3], enabling his considerable philanthropy. 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 was the commentator on the opening day celebrations in 1955. For this, he was named a Disney Legend.

Linkletter was once a spokesman for National Home Life, an insurance company. A Republican, he became a political organizer and a spokesman for the United Seniors Association, now known as USA Next, an alternative to the AARP. He was also a member of Pepperdine University's Board of Regents. He received a lifetime achievement Daytime Emmy award in 2003. He was inducted into the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame. He was a member of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation (which ended in November 2008).

He received honorary degrees from a number of universities, including Pepperdine University and the University of Prince Edward Island. He served for many years as a trustee at Springfield College and donated money to build the swim center named in his honor.


In early 2008, Linkletter suffered a mild stroke. He died on May 26, 2010 at his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California. He was survived by his wife and their two surviving children, Dawn and Sharon.[3][4][8][9]

Personal life

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 (known as Jack Linkletter, a TV host), Dawn, Robert, Sharon and Diane. He was also a good friend of Walt Disney.

Linkletter's obituary read: "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, whom he married in 1935, and daughters Dawn Griffin and Sharon Linkletter, as well as seven grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

Art and Lois Linkletter outlived three of their five children. 20-year-old Diane Linkletter died on October 4, 1969, by jumping out of her sixth-floor kitchen window (while a student at UCLA).[1][10] Linkletter claimed that she committed suicide because she was on, or having a flashback from, an LSD trip. 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".

Robert Linkletter died in an automobile accident on September 12, 1980.[11] Son Arthur Jack Linkletter (1937–2007) died from lymphoma.[12]


  • 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) [1960]. 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 (1970). Linkletter Down Under. Kaye Ward. ASIN B000KP2O3Q. 
  • 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 0876803354. 
  • Linkletter, Art (1974). Women are My Favorite People. Doubleday. ISBN 038505226X. 
  • Linkletter, Art (1974). How to be a Super Salesman: Linkletter's Art of Persuasion. Prentice-Hall. ISBN 0133966062. 
  • 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 0898030404. OCLC 6899386. 
  • Linkletter, Art (1990). Old Age is Not for Sissies. Bookthrift Co. ISBN 0791714799. 
  • Linkletter, Art (2006). How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life. with Mark Victor Hansen. Thomas Nelson. ISBN 0785218904. 


  1. ^ a b Mann, Arnold (November 11, 2002). "Preacher's Kid". Time Magazine (Time).,9171,1003636-1,00.html. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d Grimes, William (May 26, 2010). "Art Linkletter, TV Host, Dies at 97". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  4. ^ a b Oliver, Myrna, Nelson, Valerie J. (2010). "Art Linkletter dies at 97; broadcasting pioneer created 'Kids Say the Darndest Things'". Los Angeles Times.,0,4664663.story. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Larry King Live". CNN. 
  7. ^ Erwin Baker, "Probe Clears Councilman and Linkletter," Los Angeles Times, August 5, 1967, page 3 Library card required
  8. ^ Duke, Alan (May 27, 2010). "Legendary broadcaster Art Linkletter is dead at 97". CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  9. ^ "TV Show Host Art Linkletter Dies at 97". Associated Press (Fox News). May 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  10. ^ Diane Linkletter profile at Find A Grave
  11. ^ Obituary: "Robert Linkletter" New York Times. September 13, 1980
  12. ^ Obituary: "Jack Linkletter, Second-Generation TV Host, Dies at 70", The New York Times, December 21, 2007.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Art Linkletter — (gebürtig: Gordon Arthur Kelly; * 17. Juli 1912 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Kanada; † 26. Mai 2010 in Los Angeles, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer Hörfunk und Fernsehmoderator kanadischer Herkunft. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 1.1 Kindheit… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Linkletter, Art(hur Gordon) — born July 17, 1912, Moose Jaw, Sask., Can. Canadian born U.S. broadcasting host. He served as emcee for the variety show House Party (1943–67), which involved the audience in spontaneous contests and activities; he created the show s popular… …   Universalium

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