Allen Ludden

Allen Ludden

Infobox Person
name = Allen Ludden

caption = Allen Ludden
birth_date = birth date|1917|10|5|mf=y
birth_place = Mineral Point, Wisconsin
death_date = death date and age|1981|6|9|1917|10|5|mf=y
death_place = Los Angeles, California

Allen Ludden (October 5, 1917 - June 9, 1981) was an American television presenter and game show host. He was born Allen Packard Ellsworth in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. The surname Ludden was his stepfather's.

Education and career

An English and dramatics major at the University of Texas, he graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors in 1940 and received his Master of Arts in English from the same university in 1941. He served in the U.S. Army, received a Bronze Star, and was discharged with the rank of Captain in 1946. During the late 1940s and early '50s he carved out a career as an advisor for youth in teen-magazine columns and on radio, and his radio show for teenagers, "Mind Your Manners", received a Peabody Award in 1950.

Ludden hosted many game shows, including the "GE College Bowl," but he was most famous for hosting both the daytime and primetime versions of "Password" on CBS and ABC between 1961 and 1975. He started hosting an updated version of the game, "Password Plus", on NBC, in 1979, but illness forced him off the show in 1980. Other shows hosted by Ludden include "Liar's Club", "Win With the Stars", and "Stumpers!" He also hosted the original pilot for "The Joker's Wild" and had a talk-variety show, "Allen Ludden's Gallery".


Ludden, a Roman Catholic, was a widower with three children. His first wife, Margaret McGloin, had died from cancer in 1961. He proposed to twice-divorced Betty White, whom he had met on "Password", at least twice before she accepted. They were married from June 14, 1963 until Ludden's death. They appeared together in an episode of "The Odd Couple" featuring Felix's and Oscar's appearance on "Password". Ludden also appeared as a guest panelist on "Match Game", with White sitting in the audience (she was prompted to rip apart one of Ludden's wrong answers on camera during an episode of "Match Game '74"; the two appeared together on the panel in 1975).

At the request of the publishers Dodd, Mead & Co., Ludden wrote and published four books of "Plain Talk" advice, plus a youth novel, "Roger Thomas, Actor!" (1959), all for young readers. He received the 1961 Horatio Alger Award.


Ludden died from stomach cancer in Los Angeles in 1981. Several months earlier, he had suffered a stroke, which forced him to retire. Tom Kennedy took over hosting "Password Plus" until it went off the air in 1982.

He was posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next to his widow's star. A walkway at the Los Angeles Zoo is named in his memory (his widow Betty White is a board member at the Zoo) and a manmade lake in Mineral Point is named Lake Ludden in his honor.

In January 2001, "TV Guide" named Ludden the greatest game-show host of all time.


The Allen Ludden Papers collection is located at the Free Public Library in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. The items include letters written or received by Ludden, typed radio scripts, newspaper and magazine clippings by or about Ludden, publicity photographs and personal photographs, and a pair of horn-rimmed spectacles (which are broken). Betty White donated the collection. [ The Mineral Point Public Library archives - the Allen Ludden Papers collection]

list = "College Bowl" host
prev = First host
next = Robert Earle


External links

* [ Allen Ludden's biography]
* [ Allen Ludden's Photo & Gravesite]
*imdb name|id=0524843|name=Allen Ludden

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