John Carpenter (game show contestant)

John Carpenter (game show contestant)

John Carpenter (born 24 December 1967) was the first millionaire on the United States version of the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". The historic event occurred on November 19, 1999. He held the record for the largest single win in United States game show history, until it was broken by Rahim Oberholtzer on another U.S. quiz show, "Twenty One". John was also the first millionaire (or top prize winner) across all international versions of the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" series (and the only one to win the grand prize on any version of "Millionaire" during the 1990s).

Carpenter is from Hamden, Connecticut. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1990 with a degree in economics. Prior to his appearance on "Millionaire" he was a collections agent (Revenue Officer) for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

When he revealed his profession as an IRS officer on "Millionaire", Carpenter was booed playfully by the audience.

While only one other contestant had reached the final question even with the use of three lifelines, Carpenter proceeded to reach the final question without using one. This was only on the twelfth episode of the first series. The $1,000,000 question was "Which of these former U.S. presidents appeared on the television series "Laugh-In?" The choices, in order, were: Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon (correct answer), Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. Carpenter used his Phone-A-Friend lifeline to call his father with the following conversation:

cquote|Regis Philbin: ...John you've got thirty seconds, starts right now.

John: Hi, Dad.

Tom: Hi!

John: Um...I don't really need your help, I just wanted to let you know that I'm gonna win the million dollars..."

(crowd laughs, then starts cheering)

John: (with 7 seconds remaining) ...because the U.S. President that appeared on 'Laugh-In' is Richard Nixon and that's my final answer.

Regis: Well, my gosh. What can I say except: Debbie (Carpenter's wife), you're going to Paris, and this is the final answer heard all around the world, he's won a million dollars!

(crowd cheers wildly)


Carpenter took part in "Millionaire""s "Champions Week," where he won $250,000 for himself and his charity.

He appears as himself in an episode of "Oz" (season 4, episode 9, "Medium Rare"), original air date January 7, 2001. He plays a contestant in a fictional TV game show called "Up Your Ante" that the prisoners in Em City are watching. The show within the show is hosted by Gordon Elliott, with Eartha Kitt appearing as a celebrity participant. He loses on the million-dollar question, though, mistaking the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, as "Ouagagougou."

In 2004, he participated in "Who Wants to Be a Super Millionaire", as one of the "three wise men."

He also made an appearance in a "SNL" skit where he spoofed himself. Donald Trump, played by Darrell Hammond, called Carpenter to tell him that he came off as rather arrogant, referring to the time Carpenter called his father during the real quiz show.

He appeared as part of the Mob (seat #16) on NBC's "1 vs. 100" on October 27, 2006. He was singled out by the first contestant for help with $51,800 at stake on the question "Which of the following is not a real person to have a salad named after him: Bob Cobb, Caesar Cardini, or François Niçoise ?" Carpenter answered "Bob Cobb", which Carpenter correctly recognized as The Maestro of "Seinfeld" fame; the contestant agreed but the Cobb salad was indeed named after a Robert Cobb. (The correct answer was François Niçoise.)

John was a contestant on the GSN Game Show, "Grand Slam" where he lost in the quarterfinals to Michelle Kitt.


External links

* [ News report] of Carpenter's win on the BBC

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