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14 Facts About Classic Game Show Hosts That Made It To The Bonus Round

May 12, 2021 1.8k votes 381 voters 25.4k views14 items

List RulesVote up the most prize-winning facts about your favorite game show hosts.

Many game shows have been around for decades. The Price Is Right, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy! have, more or less, had the same hosts for their runs, although many famous hosts have bounced around from show to show.

You may remember classic game show hosts like Bob Eubanks in The Newlywed Game, or Family Feud staple Richard Dawson from those childhood sick days you spent on the couch watching TV. You can also see classic game shows online and on TV networks tasked specifically with sending contestant after contestant on down for some prize-winning fun. 

With game shows - and their hosts - providing hours of entertainment, we may feel like we know them. However, there's actually a lot we learned about these hosts that surprised us - everything from their on-screen antics to behind-the-scenes revelations. Vote up the winningest facts about classic game show hosts that leave you buzzing in for more. 

  • Photo: Sony Pictures Television / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    California hikers can explore the Trebek Open Space located near Runyon Canyon Park in Los Angeles. Named for the late Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, the area spans 62 acres, includes fire roads that double as hiking trails, and serves as a wildlife sanctuary.

    Trebek Open Space has been called one of Los Angeles's "best-kept secrets" and is valued at roughly $25 million. When Trebek donated it, however, he'd purchased it for only $2 million. After his passing in 2020, the city issued a statement praising him for the gift:

    This was not only a gift to urban Angelinos who thirst for open space and outdoor activity, but a gift to native animals such as our local mountain lions that require large amounts of open space in order to survive, and a gift to future generations who will have to reckon with climate change in the years to come.

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  • Photo: Family Feud / Viacom et al
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    'Family Feud' Pleaded With Richard Dawson To Stop Kissing Contestants, But He Didn't

    Richard Dawson was the host of Family Feud twice - first from 1976 to 1985, and again from 1994 to 1995. During his tenure as emcee, he was known for kissing female contestants as he greeted them. According to Dawson, the tradition began as an off-the-cuff move. As one woman tried to think of a green vegetable, 

    I said, "I’m gonna do something that my mom would do to me whenever I had a problem of any kind." And I kissed her on the cheek, and I said, "That’s for luck." And she said, "asparagus." They went on to win.

    Despite the innocent origins of Dawson's kisses, some discomfort grew among network executives and the general public alike. He refused to refrain, and took it to his audience. He asked people to send in cards indicating whether or not they wanted him to stop.  

    There was overwhelming support for Dawson to keep kissing. Contenstants on the show, too, started to ask for kisses - for luck. When he left the show in 1985, he addressed the controversy:

    There were people I know that got upset that I kissed people. I kissed them for luck and love, that’s all. That’s what my mother did to me. There were people upset that I would embrace or hug someone of a different color.

    The issue also revolved around marital status, and Dawson did in fact date women he met on the show. His relationship with Gretchen Johnson led to marriage and one child. When he returned to the show in 1994, Dawson gave up kissing contestants. He did it because

    I met someone on the show about 13 years ago and we're married, and now we have a little daughter. Her name is Shannon Nicole... And I can't kiss any of the ladies because I promised my daughter I would only kiss Mom.

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  • Bob Barker's affinity for animals and their well-being was obvious from his sign-off phrase on The Price Is Right. He reminded viewers to "Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered" for decades. His efforts on behalf of animals extended to his own vegetarianism, donations to numerous causes, and advocacy for animals in need. 

    By some accounts, this may have brought Barker into a tete-a-tete with fellow animal lover Betty White. When the Los Angeles Zoo built its Pachyderm Forest in 2009, Barker was among the individuals who called for it to stop. Barker and others wanted Billy, the only elephant at the zoo, to be moved to an animal sanctuary instead. 

    Other animal advocates, like White, praised the Pachyderm Forest, which was later completed. Billy, for his part, has been joined by three other elephants at the zoo. 

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  • Video: YouTube

    To get around censors and social taboos, the host of The Newlywed Game, Bob Eubanks, referred to sex as "making whoopee." By using the euphemism, he could ask contestants about their more private moments, even pushing the envelope a bit with inquires like, "What was the weirdest place you've ever made whoopee?"

    These questions got some laughs from contestants and audiences alike, but they also elicited some jaw-dropping responses. On one episode, Eubanks asked female contestants about the "weirdest place you personally... have ever gotten the urge to make whoopee." In response, one woman answered, "In the a*s."

    At the time, however, the show and Eubanks insisted such a statement was never made. The whole story became a bit of an urban legend, with Eubanks denying over and over that the blooper happened. Decades later, YouTube confirmed it did happen.

    To be fair, Eubanks and others denied the response was "In the butt," which, technically, never happened. 

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