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RIP Art.

 

 

 

 

SASKATCHEWAN (CBC) - Art Linkletter, the legendary host of popular TV shows House Party and People Are Funny during the 1950s and 1960s, has died at age 97.

 

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His son-in-law, Art Hershey, said the Moose Jaw, Sask.-born performer died at his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday. No cause of death has been disclosed, but Linkletter did suffer a stroke in 2008.

 

 

House Party is one of the longest-running variety shows on television. It began on radio in 1944 and was then a staple on CBS TV from 1952 to 1969.

 

 

One of its regular segments included a section in which Linkletter would interview children, asking them simple questions, often referred to as Kids Say the Darndest Things.

 

 

The segment would become a Linkletter trademark, which he parlayed into several books, two of which were illustrated by Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. Linkletter would interview more than 23,000 kids throughout his career.

 

 

His other popular show, People Are funny, also debuted on radio, in 1942 and then ran on TV from 1954 to 1961. A blend of slapstick humour and audience participation, the game show required people to perform stunts for cash prizes.

 

 

"Over the years I have tried to create an image of a happy man dedicated to fun and laughter," Linkletter said in 1960. "I have been willing to joke about my own faults and foibles and to talk about the troublesome things in my life, and I have kidded people about theirs. The world needs laughter more than ever, and I intend to spread it around."

 

 

While his shows were light-hearted, Linkletter's life and background were hardly fodder for humour.

 

 

Born Arthur Gordon Kelly on July 17, 1912, to an unwed mother, Linkletter was quickly put up for adoption. When he was about seven, his adoptive parents moved to the U.S. and settled in San Diego.

 

 

His father was a preacher who forced Linkletter to take odd jobs in his teens to help the family. Linkletter became a hobo, hopping trains across the American West and taking jobs where he could.

 

 

Eventually, he went on to study at San Diego State University and while there, got a part-time job in radio. He graduated in 1934.

 

 

"I was studying to be an English professor but as they say, life is what happens to you while you're making other plans."

 

 

He ended up getting a series of radio positions in California and Texas, forming his own production company in the 1940s.

 

 

He was so popular during the 1950s that he presided over the opening of Disneyland on his birthday, July 17, in 1955. For this he was named a Disney Legend in 2005.

 

 

Linkletter left daily broadcasting in 1969 but continued to write, appear in commercials and lecture.

 

 

His other books include Old Age is Not for Sissies, Confessions of a Happy Man, Hobo on the Way to Heaven and his autobiography I Didn't Do It Alone.

 

 

Linkletter's personal life was marked by tragedy. He and his wife Lois, who were married in 1935, had five children. In 1969, his daughter Diane committed suicide and in 1980 his son Robert died in a car accident. Then in 2007, his other son, Jack, died from lymphoma.

 

 

"Life is not fair," Linkletter once noted in an Associated Press interview in 1990. "But I'm an optimist. Even though I've had tragedies in my life, and I've seen a lot of difficult things, I still am an optimist."

 

Linkletter had been active in recent years with the United Seniors Association, an alternative group to the AARP.

 

He received a lifetime achievement Daytime Emmy award in 2003 and had many honorary degrees from universities, including the University of Prince Edward Island.

Edited by BrianB

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Yes Brian, me and the wife talked about Art last night. Very funny clean comedy just as Red Skelton. Only if you could turn time back.

Thanks for posting Brian

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