Game Show Host Bill Cullen

By | Feb 18, 2010

William Lawrence Cullen was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 18th, 1920. His eyesight was poor causing him to wear thick glasses, which would become his trademark.

Cullen’s broadcasting career began in his hometown of Pittsburgh. He worked at WWSW radio beginning as a frequent, though unpaid guest on an overnight program called 1500 Club and eventually becoming asalaried announcer. He was well known for his puckish sense of humor and for playing pranks on his fellow announcers while they were on the air.

In 1944 Cullen moved New York and one of his first jobs was writing for the Easy Ace radio show. In 1946 he got his first big break filling in as the host of the radio quiz Winner Take All.

He was the host of Cullen 23 different game shows between the years 1952, with Winner Takes All to 1986, with his last – Joker’s Wild. This makes him the host of more game shows than anyone in television history. He had hosted the original The Price is Right in the 1960’s and when it was slated for a revival in the early 70’s he was considered for the job. However, the producers felt it would be too strenuous for him and the show was given to Bob Barker who hosted it for 35 years until his retirement in 2007.

Cullen, who was a lifelong smoker, developed lung cancer in early 1990 and died from it on July 7th.

The Game Show Congress, a nonprofit association that seeks to promote the game show industry, annual award to performers with distinguished game show careers is called the Bill Cullen Career Achievement Award. Cullen was awarded the first award posthumously in 2004.


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